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    10 Characteristics of Expert Power (And How You Can Obtain Them)

    by | Expert | 0 comments


    Expert Power has changed tremendously since the beginning of the 21st century. It is still true that no matter what kind of work needs to be done, an expert can do it faster, better, and more cost-effectively than an average person. But there’s more. A large number of experts today prefer to be guides, and to share their knowledge in a way that makes ordinary people able to use it and allows the experts to profit from their Expert Power.

    Expert Power:  The Sherpas

    For the most part, today’s top digital content creators are like Sherpas, helping climbers reach incredible heights.

    Sherpas regard their mountaineering role with considerable pride and they are famous for helping climbers ascend Mt. Everest.  In 1953, Tenzing Norgay (a Sherpa) became one of the first two people, along with Edmund Hillary, to conquer the summit of Mount Everest.  Apa Sherpa set a world record by climbing Everest 21 times http://buff.ly/1e7VrP3.  And, like today’s Expert Power digital creators, they are well paid.

    According to the Washington Post, a lead Sherpa can earn as much as 6,000, which is a staggering sum to many Nepalis, whose average monthly salary is just $48.00. They are paid for their Expert Power, knowledge, and mastery of the mountain.

    Knowledge and expertise make things safer, quicker, and easier. Whether climbing Mt. Everest, getting unstuck on a personal level, solving a business problem, or creating a course, an expert is someone who “comes along beside” and shares their expertise to others’ benefit.

    In real time and in real life, someone with Expert Power acts as a problem solver who clears the path for others.

    Giving Your Expertise to Others

    But it is not easy to take years of experience and then hand on the unique insight to another person. The new expert with Expert Power is a digital creator, crossing the “bridge from academia to the working world,” as Adam Grant, a professor at the Wharton School, says. Once you’ve crossed that bridge, the most fruitful way to use your know-how is to develop a course.

    It is one thing to know what to do in a particular situation, and it is a whole other thing to convey this knowledge and make it useful to a broad audience. Sharing the steps is not enough. An expert course creator knows how to share “the story behind the insight,” says Angela Duckworth, best-selling author, in a way that makes people grasp it and take appropriate steps.

    Expert Power has two critical characteristics (used by successful digital creators) 1) the expertise in their field and 2) the ability to find the most appropriate way to communicate that knowledge.

    Both are incredibly important; while the expertise adds the “meat” to a course, the form makes it intelligible.

    Here are the 10 characteristics of Expert Power that compel people to rely on digital creator Sherpas.

    1. Expert Power is Trustworthy

    The person hiring an expert wants to know their trust is well-placed. Can you imagine being on Mt. Everest with a person you don’t trust?  Scary!  As a trusted advisor, an expert is someone who can keep company and personal confidences.


    Inherent in the role of an expert, is someone who is privileged to the “guts” of a problem or the vulnerabilities of a specific situation. The same applies to course creators. The person taking a course has to be sure what they learn is true, relevant, and can solve their problem.


    Trust is multi-faceted and involves not just specific expertise but also trust of someone’s intent, judgment, and of course, integrity.  If you plan on improving your Expert Power, build your practice solidly on a foundation of trust.



    2. Expert Power is Strategic

    Have you ever heard the story of the highly-paid consultant to NASA when it was in its infancy? Critical electronic lines were not working, and in spite of everyone’s best efforts, no one could get them working again. They finally called in “the guru.” He went in, looked around, tapped once, and up came the lines.

    He sent them a bill for $50,000. They immediately complained. What? A simple tap of the lines, and you charged us $50,000? His reply was, “I charged you $1,000 for the tap and $49,000 for knowing where to tap.” An expert can go to the “heart” of the matter quickly, resolving issues with speed and accuracy.

    An expert digital creator goes even further and gives you the key to finding your own strategic solutions. That’s what separates excellent courses from ordinary ones.


    3. Expert Power is Accurate

    One theory of expertise is that it comes from pattern recognition.  When an expert has seen many different scenarios across a wide spectrum or within a specific industry, patterns emerge, allowing the expert to see what may seem unrelated to the untrained eye.


    If you are an auto mechanic, a surgeon or a course creator, faced with similar symptoms, it is your ability to discern patterns and link cause and effect that gives you Expert Power and leads to accuracy.


    I’m embarrassed to share this example with you, but it does illustrate the point.  I had some “nature” music on in the background as I worked, which after several hours, I ceased to register consciously.  Suddenly, there was a lightening crack.


    I jumped up, ran to window, and stood bewildered in front of the window, looking out on a very clear day.  Long, long pause.  I was certain I was losing it.  When the cause and effect finally registered, I burst out laughing.  My Expert Power was not in fine form that day.  I trust your accuracy will be higher than mine.


    4. Expert Power Identifies Blind Spots

    The Sherpa also affords the non-expert prevention of wrong steps.  Unfruitful trails waste time and energy.  Unknown blind spots create problems a climber never even knew existed.


    Climbers are not the only people who can wander off and waste time and effort by following wrong trails. We all suffer from endless blind spots, no matter which field we’re in—unless we’re experts in the area.


    Psychological blind spots are commonly summed up with the phrase, “You don’t know what you don’t know.”  And it’s the thousand little “blind spots” that is the advantage of hiring expertise—or taking a course developed by experts.


    Maybe it came from too many early experiences of trying one too many Do-It-Yourself projects.  Or maybe it came from having faced too many of these blind spots myself that caused me to develop a motto.  “I can hire an expert or I can do the job myself and end up with half the quality and twice the cost (in time and money).”  But if I need to gain some expert insight and knowledge myself, I can find a relevant course, made by someone who knows what they’re talking about. That’s why it’s essential for a digital creator to be a Sherpa in their field.


    Like the Sherpas on Mount Everest, the trail may require a lot from the climber, but the trip is certainly made safer, quicker and easier by avoiding blind spots.


    5. Expert Power Distinguishes Majors and Minors

    Not all problems are created equal.  Experts have the ability to weigh which problems are minor and which are major. Experts know how to correctly weigh the variables presented in a problem.


    Good analysis doesn’t treat all issues as equal.  Expert discernment means the capability to distinguish between true and false, good and bad, what matters most, and what does not matter at all.


    A non-expert often places equal value on everything, while a real expert knows exactly how to order relevance.  Competing demands, noise, and attention can be quickly cut through to solutions.


    Kip Cullers, an American farmer, is often called “the Babe Ruth of soybean production.”  He breaks yield records almost every year with his soybeans. Though he doesn’t give up all his soybean-growing secrets, he has developed quite a reputation for helping others, even with other crops.


    Kip helped farmers in Brazil who were hurting because of their low orange yields.  They blamed these stunted yields on disease.  Disease turned out to be a minor problem.  Because of his extensive experience and analysis skills, Kip determined the major problem–a drainage and water use problem.  The benefit of his applied expertise to Brazil?  Orange yields jumped from 800 cases to 2,000 per area (Dodge).


    Like Kip or the fabled NASA consultant, the expert shuts out what is not relevant and keys in on what is, finding the right solution through excellent analysis.


    6. Expert Power Accesses Insider Knowledge

    At my neighbor’s garage sale, I was going to buy a fancy pan (and since she was a trained chef, I figured there was good stuff to be had).  But before I could buy it from her, Marjie quietly put her hand on top of mine, pushing the pan back down on the table.  Leaning in out of earshot of the other shoppers, she said quietly “You don’t want that pan.  It’s no good.”

    This is insider knowledge.  Every field of expertise has it. An expert, in the course of practicing, studying, and mastering something, collects a thousand little tidbits that is just “known.”  A skilled baker, swishing his hands through batches of dough, can notice as little as a 2% variance in the “stickiness” or consistency. Cloth feelers in textile industries compare the qualities of cloth by trained touch (Yancy).

    Expert Power has a wealth of insider knowledge that is gained through years of experience.  These “tidbits” are cumulative and add up to major tipping points in Expert Power.

    7. Expert Power Knows the Shortcuts (And Shares Them)

    The mark of a pro is the ability to make something difficult look effortless. One of my favorite parts of any Olympics is the ice-skating. The skaters glide so beautifully and effortlessly. A few minutes of simple flips and spins could catapult them to fame and a place in their sport’s history. All that for fewer than ten minutes!


    And yet, we all know that those ten minutes represent hours and hours and hours and years and years and years of grueling hard work. Michelangelo said, “If people knew how hard I worked to get my mastery, it wouldn’t seem so wonderful after all.”


    But the beauty is this:  The difficulty endured by the experts creates ease for the persons hiring them.  There is even a term for this level of competence: “unconscious competent.”  Experts have access to unconscious “shortcuts” in methods, tools, strategies, and instincts that allows them to get someone else to their goal with relative ease. All those years have been rolled up into “easy.”


    As a course creator, it’s your job to pass on all those shortcuts to your students, making their lives easier.



    8. Expert Power is Accessible to All

    The great thing about today’s global economy is that Expert Power can be attained and recognized much more easily than in times past.  In the past, there were a few experts at the top and it was very hard to break in or breath through.


    Today, the field is “flat” and you can stand out on talent alone.

    Peter Diamandis is a Greek-American engineer, physician, entrepreneur, and founder and chairman of the X Prize Foundation.  XPRIZE is a non-profit organization that designs and manages public competitions intended to encourage technological development that could benefit mankind.


    In a Ted Talk, Diamandis tells about a game called Foldit, where individuals take an amino acid sequence and figure out how the protein is going to fold.  The fold determines the protein’s structure and function.  Interestingly, humans were better than computers at getting it right.  So, hundreds of thousands of people come online and play it.


    And the best protein folder in the world?  According to Diamandis, “it wasn’t an MIT professor, it wasn’t a CalTech student, it was a person from England, from Manchester, a woman who, during the day, was an executive assistant at a rehab clinic and, at night, was the world’s best protein folder.”



    If she had chosen to create a course on her expertise, she could have profited substantially.


    9. Expert Power is Lucrative

    As we saw in the example above, the New Expert is not always someone with lots of degrees or pedigree, but rather simply someone who is gifted and talented in a specific area.


    In today’s economy, Expert Power may take on the role of coach, mentor, consultant, course creator, or author. Expert power is a specialist who can come in to point others in the right direction.  The expert has a specialized knowledge that can guide, instruct, and mentor.  Each form of Expert Power has it’s own financial opportunity.


    As mentioned, the business of consulting is a common place for experts.  The consulting industry is large and growing.  It’s over a 150 billion dollar industry, with some consulting fields obviously being more in demand in others (“Industry Statistics Consulting Business Statistics Analysis,” 2014). In one year, over 200,000 consultants sold over $100 billion of advice (“Consulting: Facts and Trends,”).


    Accessing your Expert Power, you can choose to distribute your knowledge in the form of a book, course, or service. So, in addition to being real-life Sherpas, present-day experts are digital creators of uniquely useful content, which can be very lucrative.

    10. Expert Power is Scalable

    New experts reject traditional models of teaching and learning. They prefer innovative ways of spreading knowledge and are competent enough to produce materials that can be used for scaled learning.

    Scaled learning is a convenient way for students or employees to learn parts of the course on their own pace, and then to enhance what they’ve learned. Compared to the traditional classroom, scaled learning it is more effective, inexpensive, and highly interdisciplinary (Roll et al. 2018). It is not limited to educational tools and it uses a variety of platforms, including even social networks.

    In Inc. Magazine, Vala Afshar spoke about scaled learning.  “The way to gain the highest level of efficiency is with scalable learning. In a rapidly changing world, the faster everyone can learn at scale, the better. (Afshar, 2014).  Expert Power provides your students with an ability to scale their learning, their abilities, and their income.


    I always think of an expert as someone who has “perfected their craft.” Experts get their clients from Pt A to Pt B safer, faster, and easier than can be done without the Sherpa.  Ultimately, Expert Power is wisdom that changes things for others.



    Afshar, V. (2014, 3/18). Coping with the Dark Side of Technology. Inc.

    Consulting: Facts and Trends. Careers-in-Consulting. Retrieved from http://buff.ly/1AELTFV

    Diamandis, P. (Producer). (2012, 6/3/2015). Abundance is our future. TED2012. Retrieved from http://buff.ly/1KNnj9c

    Dodge, T. Busting Barriers. DTN/The Progressive Farme. Retrieved from http://buff.ly/1HLrQpQ

    Industry Statistics Consulting Business Statistics Analysis. (2014). Plunkett Research. Retrieved from http://buff.ly/1BxKqMy

    Kaphle, A. (2014). A closer look at the dangerous work that Everest’s Sherpas undertake for Western climbers. Washington Post. Retrieved from http://buff.ly/1TrCoj

    Lallanilla, M. (2014). What Is a Sherpa? Live Science. Retrieved from http://buff.ly/1e7VrP3

    Yancy, P. Where is God When it Hurts.




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