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10 replies to “We should all be generalists (even the specialists)

  1. Very relevant to today’s rapidly evolving world. I think you should stress more on the last point. The whole point about learning more generally is that when faced with big problems, you approach it with a broad perspective, you see from different angles and think outside the box. In the end, solving big problems still rely on specialist, so be the conductor and direct all the specialist to solve each aspect of the problem.

    Also, being a generalist is also a specialist skill in the world we live in today where everyone is taught to think within rigid subjects. Everything is compartmentalized for the sake of efficiency, a by-product of the industrial revolution. Being able to think broadly, cross-discipline is not easy. Being able to spot new ideas, combining them into innovative solutions is not easy. Not everyone can be an innovation broker. 🙂

    I love the self-promotion on gems online. Indeed, a gem. Keep up the good work!

  2. To a certain extent yes I agree but would it make sense for someone starting out in their career to be more of a specialist to prove themselves before learning to become a generalist in their more mature stages of their career?

    1. Based on my own personal experience, I went generalist first to figure out my interests.. then specialist to become better at one area. then branched back out to generalist so I could influence other areas….

  3. I disagree, starting out in your career, it’s always easier for a specialist to switch to generalist and not the other way round. Generalist is forever stuck with those roles that focus on communications, relationship management, sales, eg but not finance, data or product.

    1. We don’t disagree with that either. The point of this article was more to persuade specialists to explore their generalist sides.

      Both of us started out as specialists and it took a while for us to realize that certain generalist skills, like sales as you mentioned, are universally beneficial to pick up.

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