Specialties: one way to add value over time
Let's talk again about specialties. It's always an interesting one.
So often you'll hear me especially say, to stay in your lane. An area that you know well and that is the area that you are qualified in and you have experience in, that is your lane. Think about it, if someone came to me and I was to be advising them on wines, I would make it very clear that that's my opinion. And that it is not my area of expertise. Even in universities they have trouble as well because you're allowed to have your opinions on things (I have an opinion on what is the best restaurant, but I'm not a restaurateur), but having Dr it in front of my name provides more weight to the unsuspecting listener because there is an assumption that I have a DRs level of reasoning and the amount of thought that's gone into potentially choosing that restaurant. I just like certain foods and like big portions, so it doesn't take much to satisfy my restaurants needs. When I’m eating I eat the foods that I like and typically aren't too processed. So when I tell a client I had porridge for breakfast they want to know what the magic is in porridge and why Im eating it. Instead Im confused like, it just tastes like warmth before I stand in the gym! They obviously get really disappointed… You can see there's a bit of danger there.
Our responsibility is to make sure that people know what our area of expertise is, and that we're not overstating the level of knowledge that we have. So for me when someone's injured, for instance, I do a lot of work with people that are rehabilitating injury and that sort of thing. Maybe it's an acute injury. If I think that it's beneficial for them to take some non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, I preface it by saying that I'm not a pharmacist. I also don't know the intricacies of your drug history or allergies or any of that stuff. But my suggestion, in general, would be to take anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen, but I do always preface it with that, because the danger is if you are known as a respected expert in something, then by being associated as an expert in something, it can be very easy for people to slip into adding more weight to your own opinions on things such as wine, for instance. I use that just because I think that it's kind of a funny one. I never got to do the wine tasting course in university that was always part of summer school. I probably kicked myself for that a little bit now but that is so fun.
When it comes to specialties though, an interesting parable that came from Greek mythology that's been translated talks about the hedgehog and the fox. Now when listening to the story, it divides people as to which one they are: neither is more correct than the other.
In business, think about this, are you a hedgehog that has only really got one survival mechanism for dealing with things and thinking about things (to roll into a ball and pop out the spikes?)? Or the fox is very clever and is always coming up with alternative ideas. So if the fox is coming and it's walking around the lair of the hedgehog. Hedgehog comes out and sees the fox coming. A hedgehog responds, in the same way, every single time. He rolls himself into an insurmountable ball. That will stop the fox in its tracks on a roll to penetrate this wall of spikes. Then the fox is foiled and has to come up with another idea which may equally not work. But there's not anything that you can come up with that is going to overcome an impenetrable wall. Like, try picking up a hedgehog, it's not going to be a thing.
If you are specializing in something and it is something you're passionate about, let's get that one out of the way: just because you're good at something such as exercise, that doesn't mean to say that you're going to be passionate about teaching people exercise. Those are two different things and maybe some overlap just because you love to exercise so much. The thing is occasionally you'll get people that they just love exercise a lot and the clients just get in the way of them exercising and so they don't want the clients to be around and you know, that's, that's worth knowing when it comes to what you're passionate about. Can you pull it apart a little bit further? What is it about that aspect that you're most passionate about? And then from there, can you be the best in the world about it? So let's pick it apart a little bit more. Like what is it that you can get the best at? So for some people, it might be that they want to be the best at the product and for some people the process? And so for instance, Walgreens wants to be a drugstore so it wants to have the highest cost per customer and the highest profit per customer.
Whereas General Electric, for instance, it's more about refining its process with executives so it's focused on just creating the best executives that are out there to propel companies into the limelight. So these are two distinct kinds of approaches when it comes to being the hedgehog or being the fox. Neither is correct. But if you find your fox values or find your hedgehog values, the hedgehog version will mean that you can be very strong and then in the direction in which you're going. And on top of that, it can be very reassuring to your customers because they just know you, like they know how you're going to react. They know exactly how you're going to be there. They're happy with that and that's great. With all of the things that we want to specialize in, remember, you've got to be able to crawl before you can walk before you can run. So you want to be able to take steps under the guidance of a mentor that can bring you in the right direction.
So which one do you think you are? I always thought I was the fox, and the hedgehog was very appealing and now I have decided (based on the COVID-19 lockdowns) that fitness and the outcomes is my hedgehog but the marketing and delivery is the fox. What do you think? Let us know.