Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Gurus and Experts–Are You Sure?

Have you noticed how the explosion of social media has produced an inordinately high percentage of gurus and experts in practically every subject?

When it comes to such experts, I’m amazed how many times I have been approached by “marketing experts” who claim to know exactly what my needs are (and therefore what the proposed solution should look like) before they have made an effort to understand my needs.

What gets even more entertaining is when they claim to understand ALL facets of the industry that they are in.

The next time someone offers me an amazing “one-size-fits-all” solution to my marketing needs and claims to be an all-knowing marketing technology guru, I think I will pull out the following diagram as produced by Luma Partners and ask the “guru” how well versed they are in the elements illustrated (click on the image to see a larger version).


The diagram nicely describes what a bewildering world the marketing technology space has grown to, how difficult it really is to be an expert in the space and how we need to apply appropriate levels of discernment when selecting a marketing technology “expert” … or any expert or guru for that matter.

Otherwise the result that the “experts” produce might be as overwhelming and / or confusing as the world that they live in.

I think that real gurus and experts have three attributes that are critical for success:

1. They don’t self-proclaim themselves as gurus and experts.

2. They have sufficient humility (not an excessive amount) to know they don’t know everything and that collaboration is essential to success.

3. They recognize that their greatest asset is the ability to listen first and then to speak instead of leaping in to solve a problem in absence of information.  They honor Gerald Weinberg’s 5 Minute Rule: “Clients always know how to solve their problems, and always tell you the solution in the first five minutes” and Stephen Covey’s 5th (of 7) Habit of Highly Effective People: “Seek first to understand, then to be understood”.

I also think that if as many gurus and experts have been turned loose on the world as self-described, then most of our problems in the world should already be solved.

What do you think?

In service and servanthood,


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