Diversity In Skills And Education
The sum of your skills as an employee is what creates value for your employer. And if you are being fairly compensated, that value should closely match your overall compensation. We have previously gone over how you can ensure that you are being fairly compensated as well as increasing your value by enhancing your skillset through training and education. However, there is an additional factor to consider when increasing your value as an employee.
Certain skills can combine to create value that is more than the sum of the individual parts. It is this added value that distinguishes the true star performers and future leaders from the rest of the pack.
More than the sum of the parts
The way most corporate jobs work is that the employee sticks to their field and acquires more and more knowledge in that field over time. This makes sense from the point of view of the employer who needs specialists for each particular function. For the most part, it works for the employee as well. For example, someone in compliance would eventually become an expert in this field and therefore, more valuable. However, by diversifying their skill set a bit further, they can add more value to themselves than what they could by just being restricted to one particular field.
Taking our example of the compliance function further, if that employee can become a good salesperson as well, they would be a perfect (and rare) fit for selling to clients in regulation-heavy industries who would welcome their more cautious approach. More general examples would include skills such as learning a new language or spending some time abroad at a regional branch/subsidiary. This might increase the chances of a promotion as the employee can now fill a leadership role in either of those countries. The exact circumstance would vary greatly for each case, but such opportunities always exist. It’s just a matter of figuring out what works best in your particular industry.
Generalists vs Specialists
This diversification of skills does not mean that you should become a generalist. Some roles require specialists and it makes sense for employees to really specialise in such roles. But the point here is to allow for some diversification such that it increases your overall value as an employee without affecting your specialisation in your chosen field.
This is sort of like Specialisation 2.0 – adding a bit of versatility and expanding your potential avenues for growth, without losing your core skills. There are also other benefits to this Specialisation Plus approach. It gives you a fresh perspective on things, giving you a deeper appreciation of the constraints faced by your colleagues and vice versa. It can help you build a wider network. Finally, it can be wholly refreshing to learn new and different things without losing focus of your primary area of specialisation. It’s a way to add additional value without losing any of what you already have.
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