Career Hack: Be the guy that Knows Everything

I just started a new job. Yay.

The first couple of weeks spent understanding the lay of the land, outing the movers, the shakers.

You know how there’s always that one guy in the office that everybody thinks is a GENIUS? The guy that just snagged the big account instead of you? Let’s call him Dillon. Freakin’ Dillon.

There are some legit brilliant folks, but this guy — I see through the hand-waving and blown smoke. I listen to him talk and he doesn’t really know as much as the guru at my last job. Does nobody else hear this? Does nobody else see what I see? Am I on crazy pills?!

How has this guy been holding this reputation for so long? How can I position myself as more experienced than Dillon — and add more value to the company in the process?

Well, here it is. I happen to know what Dillon knows. It’s what I like to call “the 10x10 Method™” And I’m going to share it so you can position yourself ahead of your peer group.

A) Find out the top 10 things your office values

B) Rank these from most to least important

C) Break each into a scale of 1 to 10

D) Rank your peers, individually on the scale

You should be able to discover where your peers sit on the scale, or relative to a true expert you know of, who is a 10. This should take time. It will take work to honestly assess yourself and your peers.

E) Improve your expertise in the subject matter

How do you do this? Use your network, talk to the truest gurus you know or anyone that’s more of an expert than you, find a mentor, use the enormous online resource pool for information, read books (learn from the most knowledgeable experts in the world).

In at least 2 areas, you should aim to be over a 7. That’s a given. Those should be your strongest areas already that you can intersect and come up with amazing ideas (see book recommendations below). For the rest, being 1 to 3 points above your peers will make you shine. No one needs to be a walking encyclopedia to be incredibly successful.

Now, the goal is exceed your peers in each area, so your overall rating becomes the highest. Then watch your peers, your boss, your boss’ boss take notice of how you’re the new all-star.

Why does this method work? The overwhelming majority of your coworkers won’t take the time to deeply assess themselves, let alone the field. Unconscious incompetence — which can be spun as “you don’t know what you don’t know” — is a serious limiting factor to success. If you have the will, well, you know the rest.

Disclaimer: there’s no substitute for actually becoming an expert and learning — but the idea is to focus on your strengths, and build your opportunity pipeline. There’s always time to learn fast. Sir Richard Branson famously said, “If somebody offers you an amazing opportunity but you are not sure you can do it, say yes, then learn how to do it later.”

Being the guy that “knows everything” puts you on the top of the pile.

Your move Dillon.


Book recommendations:
StrengthsFinder 2.0
The Medici Effect