Been giving a bit of thought and discussion lately to gurus

From Webster:

  1. a teacher and especially intellectual guide in matters of fundamental concern
  2. one who is an acknowledged leader or chief proponent 
  3. a person with knowledge or expertise 

I think we tend to believe that people who meet condition (3) are gurus, but forget the all-important elements of (1) and (2).  Gurudom doesn’t come from within.  One cannot proclaim themself a guru.  One CAN develop knowledge and expertise on their own.

Let’s take them in reverse order.  In this down economy, NOW is the time to develop skills that arevaluable.  For some folks, getting laid off is the only way they’llhave the time (or inclination) to devote to learning something new.  Orbecome a true master at something they know OK.  Take the opportunity– even if you AREN’T fortunate enough to get laid off — to become anexpert in something.

Then there’s the little matter of becoming recognized for yourexpertise.  That comes from being seen.  Take the opportunity to talk. Write up your notes and thoughts.  Start a blog (it’s so easy even acommunications coach can do it).  Soon, you’ll get talked about andasked for by name.  The circle doesn’t have to be big — you don’t needan infomercial or TV interview.  A simple drive-by question from aco-worker qualifies.  When you are being asked questions, you are wellon your way to becoming a guruologist (unless the question is something like, “Where the heck have you been all day?  You don’t answer your email or phone and your car wasn’t in the parking lot!“).

Lastly, one of the phenomenons I’ve noticed in corporate America is the tendency to keep information.  Apparently, with ‘rightsizing’ rampant and pending job doom and gloom everywhere you read, the average employee believes that anything he can keep to himself makes him more valuable to the organization.  Nothing is further from the truth.  By sharing information, others are aware of what you know.  This also frees the employee from the mundane information to go seek out something else to become a guru about.  Sharing information makes an employee MORE valuable, not less.  A guru is a TEACHER. 

Learn.  Be seen.  Share.  Be a guru.

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