Episode: 362 |
Will Bachman:
Get Bad at Something:


Will Bachman

Get Bad at Something

Show Notes


While it’s great to pursue excellence, there’s a strong argument for getting bad at something.

Key points include:

  • Taking the first step
  • Expanding your universe
  • The opportunity to get bad at a lot of things

Unleashed is produced by Umbrex. To learn about our global community of independent management consultants, visit www.umbrex.com


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Will Bachman 00:02
So you often get the advice, develop expertise become the best in your niche. We often hear that advice, I’ve probably said it a few times. But there’s also value in becoming bad at something, or bad at several things, particularly considering the incremental value per unit of effort. So let me describe what I’m talking about. Here’s an example from chess. If you’ve never played chess before, and you don’t know the rules, then you are not even bad at chess, you’re just at level zero. When people talk about the game, you have no intuition at all at what chess feels like. Now, let’s say you spend a full weekend with a patient tutor, who teaches you the rules of chess, and you play a couple of dozen games, you are now bad at chess, you’re at level one, any competent player will easily defeat you. And yet, you can enjoy playing a game with someone at your level. And you can imagine what it might be like to spend years studying openings and getting better at the game. So your universe has significantly expanded. So there’s this value in getting bad at something of just getting into it enough that you have some feel for what it’s about a professional example might be tableau. So let’s say if you’ve never programmed Tableau at all, you’ve never opened, Tableau are used it, you’d be at level zero. And at that level, it’s difficult to manage a tableau expert. Or if a client mentions, you know, Power BI and Tableau, you don’t really know what they’re talking about at all, but with three or four days of self study. And by the way, the tableau website itself has an excellent free self study course, with exercises where you can download the software and test it out. With three or four days of self study, you can get to level one, now you could manage an expert because you have some sense of what the tool is available for. So the value of going from level zero of just never having encountered it at all, to level one of having some familiarity, is the incremental value is greater than going from, say, a level four to level five of get it getting just a little bit better. And that and the incremental effort of going from level zero to level one is much less than going from level four to level five. So one strategy for life then is, yes, you should become world class in a one or two areas. But it’s also very viable, particularly as a consultant where you’re moving around from one thing to another, to get bad at lots of things. So if you go to umbrex.com slash Unleashed, you can sign up for the weekly email for this podcast, where I’ll send you each week, a list of all the recent episodes with a description of each one. And you can decide which ones might pique your fancy and you want to listen to. I also include occasionally some bonus material, some tool or template you can download. And if you’d like to give this show a five star review on iTunes, that would be greatly appreciated. It does help other people discover this show. And if you want to email me, I’m Will Bachman. I’d love to hear from you. You can email me at unleashed@umbrex.com Thanks for listening

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