How to Build Expertise in a New Field

by Dorothy Leonard

Better pay, more joy on the job, or prerequisite to promotion? Whatever your reasons for deciding to build expertise in a new field, the question is how to get there.

Your goal, of course, is to become a swift and wise decision maker in this new arena, able to diagnose problems and assess opportunities in multiple contexts. You want what I call “deep smarts”—business critical, experience-based knowledge. Typically, deep smarts take years to develop; they’re hard earned. But that doesn’t mean it’s too late for you to move into a different field. The following steps can accelerate your acquisition of the expertise you need.

  • Identify the best exemplars. Who is really good at what ...

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