Beyond an average threshold it makes little sense to encourage everyone to master the same set of skills.
That’s not how teams become more effective, nor communities more valuable.
Far better to encourage and support individuals to specialise.
That specialisation will usually begin with you noticing (or even inventing) a character trait or skill you’ve seen an individual exhibit.
Highlight how they can progress along that path and give them support (time, manpower, and money) to pursue that path. That might mean books, courses, attending events, or developing a personal project.
For sure, when someone joins a group (especially a work team) you want them to reach a level of skill and knowledge rapidly to communicate effectively with the rest of the group. That doesn’t take long. Beyond that you need them to take responsibility for specialising in a skill.
The mistake we make is always trying to get everyone to learn the same material. Instead we should be helping them internalise the belief they should commit to being as good at their chosen skill as they can be – and we’re going to support them to do it.
That’s how teams, groups, tribes, companies, and communities progress over the long-term.
p.s. This CMX talk from Moz’s Jenn Lopez is worth watching.
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