Knowledge or Expertise
How much is your knowledge worth? Hundreds of dollars, perhaps thousands, or is it millions?
Surprisingly, it could be zilch.
Someone asked me this question a few months ago and it got me thinking about the composition of my knowledge – what I know personally that you don’t know, and what we know together.
I also recalled that throughout my 25 odd years working in corporate Canada as a Business Advisor, I’d been rewarded for my ‘expertise’ – a combination of knowledge (personal and shared), skills, many years of experience and past accomplishments.
It took me about 10 years to realize that I had brought something different to the table and that what differentiated me was my in-depth knowledge and experience gained as a business consultant in Canada, USA and Western Europe.
Knowledge is Know-how
Everyone has knowledge; in fact everyone has a wealth of knowledge that changes daily.
“Knowledge is a changing system with interactions among experience, skills, facts, relationships, values, thinking processes and meanings” (Veber 2000).
Knowledge is our ‘know-how’ which is based on a collection of facts, ideas, concepts, stories and special vocabulary – acquired through questioning, listening and retaining explanations, descriptions and observations.
Skills and experience are derived from ‘know-how’.
Expertise is derived after at least 10 years’ experience.
Knowledge is two-dimensional
The definition of ‘Knowledge’ has been a topic of discussion as far back as 1597 when Sir Francis Bacon (British Statesman and Philosopher) observed that ‘Knowledge is Power’.
And throughout the years, everyone – tradesmen and professionals alike – kept their knowledge close to their chests because they considered it personal and it gave them power to influence and control!
During the 1990s technological advances in global communication and trade introduced the concept of sharing knowledge across the globe.
Today knowledge still has power, provided it is ‘shared’.
Look at job advertisements from governments and business organizations, and you will see they have specific requirements for Knowledge, Skills, Experience and Accomplishments.
They are asking for a ‘personal package’.
Now it’s your time to start identifying the ‘package’ that truly represents you and connects you with prospects.
It’s easy to get started. Simply follow my tips:
Step 1: Identify what you can offer
To clarify what you can offer, start with your most recent job resume (CV) to list your knowledge, skills (academic/digital and on-the-job), work experience and accomplishments.
- Assess your knowledge – contextualize into ‘I-know’ or ‘We-know’
- Assess your skills – Are your skills in-depth and specialized or broad and generalized?
- Assess your work experience – List the past roles, responsibilities, tasks and accomplishments. What did you accomplish by using your skills? Was the accomplishment a tangible product that you could touch and see, or an intangible service like customer care?
- Assess your expertise – In combining knowledge and skill with experience and accomplishment did you solve problems, make money, save money or save time? Is there a particular skill you did exceptionally well and enjoyed? What problem does it solve?
- This is your ‘expertise’. Is it out of date or is it current and relevant?
Step 2: Identify who will pay you for it
Having identified ‘expertise’ does not mean that the whole world is your market.
Your challenge is to find a market that is large enough and is looking for a solution to an urgent problem or a need, and has the ability to pay for your expertise.
You may discover either a niche market or a competitive market.
Personally, because I work in a fiercely competitive market, I stick to the Banking industry sector that I am familiar with to analyze:
- Industry trends
- Customer Segments (consumer or business served by the industry)
- Market size (primary, secondary markets, niche market)
- Customer commonality (needs or problems and ability to pay)
- Competitors (their strength, weakness, opportunity, threats)
- Target customer (target those with need/problem and money to pay)
Step 3: Identify the Competition
If you have not discovered a ‘niche’ market then you should know that there will always be competition standing between you and the consumer.
Your challenge is to identify the location of the competitors and compare their strengths and weaknesses to yours so you can assess ‘why’ and ‘how’ your offer differs from theirs in order to position yourself competitively.
Once you have explored these three steps you will be able to answer the question “How much is your knowledge worth?”
I have documented the steps in more detail in ‘How much is your knowledge worth – 101?’
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