10,000 hours to develop expertise… for what?

10000hours-expertiseI don't know if you've seen the video below, and I don't normally write posts that just share a video, but because I spend a lot of time in meetings, and because I've spent twenty years developing specific expertise around product development, this video cracked me up.

If you watch to the end, you'll notice the end result of all that effort to develop expertise – a final, exhausted willingness to say yes to just about anything that will get you out of a meeting.

I know that feeling well – no matter how much I like saying no.

Three things we can take away from this fun video

Pick your battles wisely. While it may stroke your ego to be considered the expert at the table, or in the meeting, the point of expertise is to help, and stepping into one conflict after another erodes your ability to provide your expertise when it counts. So choose which fights it's worth having. Discernment is critical!

Patience is the name of the game.  Even if you don't know what they're talking about in the video, it's clear that some of the requests are just crazy. And of course the video goes to an extreme. But you'll often find yourself in meetings where you hear requests that don't make sense.

I was once asked in a meeting much like this, if we could make a binary field in the database capture three different options. Now, the word binary means 2. So the field holds true or false, yes or no, 0 or 1. As you can imagine, the answer was no. But that didn't stop my boss from asking for it.

And the correct answer, in case you wanted to know, is “yes” – as long as it's no longer a binary field. 🙂

The client isn't always right. But they're still the client. It's easy to watch the video and laugh or pull your hair out (if it reminds you of your own meetings). But it's a mistake to simply call the client stupid. While they may not know what they're talking about, while they may be incorrect in their request, there's still something you have to admit.

Without clients, you don't make a living.

So treat every customer, regardless of how crazy their requests are, with respect. Because they're still the client.

Is it worth it – to develop that expertise?

When all is said and done, and when you think about how much work it takes to develop your expertise, it does beg a question, doesn't it. I mean, if the result of all that work is that you're invited to more meetings like this, you have to ask yourself this question, right?

Is it worth it? What say you?