Competitive Advantage Is Fleeting (And It’s Okay to Admit It). An interesting HBS article by Rita McGrath.
One implication of hypercompetition that has not yet gotten the attention it deserves is that the skill of getting out of things and re-focusing your organization is likely to be just as important as spotting opportunities and moving to capture them. I suggest that the vast majority of companies struggle with letting go, while the more adroit strategists make the necessary judgment calls and move on.… more
One other interesting development during this job search was my realization that I have become more comfortable with my personal brand as a generalist. I can admit to myself that I am better at thinking across disciplines and considering the big picture than I am at specializing and making sure all the details are right, instead of trying to be good at everything. …
The really brilliant people, the deep thinkers, are the ones who are able to identify useful separations between the general and the specific.… more
Check this out… New research [appearing in the Journal of Theoretical Biology] by scientists at Ohio State University suggests that societal duties do not need to be assigned by a division of labour (DoL) where every individual has a specific role. Researchers Anthony D’Orazio and Tom Waite argue that generalists have a definite role to play and that this holds true for environments as varied as a single cell, an ocean colony of sea anemones or even a small cookie business.
“What this modelling showed me is that there are conditions under which it actually helps to have some generalists, especially for fairly small groups, some individuals that you might think of as Jacks- or Jills-of-all-trades or multitaskers,” said Waite.… more
Creative Generalists are changing our world of ideas in a very big way.
Almost six years ago I humbly planted a stake in the ground and began this weblog, Creative Generalist. The blog was and continues to be about generalism and generalists, those so-called dabbling dilettantes of knowledge; those curious of everything, but experts at nothing. I myself am a proud Creative Generalist and through my blog I’ve discovered that there are many, many others like me who share the same wide-ranging tendencies and healthy skepticism of unchecked or misguided specialization.
Nothing can substitute for depth of analysis, and there’s proven value in specialization – it’s what education, career paths, scientific research, and technological innovation are built on – but generalism is a secret talent.… more
Leaders as Generalists
We need generalist leaders. This is especially true in the context of company management.
Leaders are, ideally, generalists that can understand and handle many different parts of a company. Innovation is dependent on an organization’s ability to regularly access and sift through large volumes of available information, determine which is most important and pertinent and then to apply it to unique situations in new ways. This role – essentially one of direction and delegation – is the province of leaders.
The irony of this of course is that companies naturally specialize and the people working at modern day companies are trained to be specialists, managers.… more