Tuesday, April 10, 2012

A guru can't be manufactured

You can’t polish sandshoes! The only way to achieve a high gloss sheen on a pair of shoes is to start with quality shoes. The same applies for expertise. You can’t manufacture a GURU!

Experts are created through quality thought. They are not just manufactured through marketing.

Here is a useful five step thinking process for developing expertise.

  • Get ten books on your chosen area of expertise.
  • Read them all from cover to cover.
  • As you read them ask yourself the questions; YES BUT and YES AND.
  • Take note of your YES BUTs and YES ANDs in a journal as you go. This forces you into original thinking and stops you from becoming a ‘me too’ expert.
  • See if the disparate bits and pieces you noted in your journal form an overarching context. Take some time to think about this context and see if you can expand your thinking in that area.
This process is similar to the PhD literature review process where you read everything you can on your topic and then choose an unexplored dimension.

There are many ways to approach the development of expertise. Few of these avoid good quality thinking.

Sit down, read, discuss and experiment with what you know. Create original perspectives on topics that people need to know.


  1. This is so true, Matt. I find the same thing when trying to help presenters leverage their value on-line. Those who really do have expertise can strip away the showmanship and marketing and identify the essence of their message, which we can then spin into other forms. But there are some who have nothing but showmanship and marketing, and they find it almost impossible to do anything more with that material.

  2. Matt Thank you for this post.
    I love the journal idea to note our own thinking. Too often original thoughts get swamped in a sea of information and compliant behaviour.
    That approach to write and more especially develop thoughts, will be great.
    The challenge is articluating thoughts in words, my journal pages typically get filled with drawings - A by-product of my thought process.
    Your suggestions might just be the key to push through that.