Sharing knowledge tells what to do, but serving transforms

When you decide to lead from expertise, you turn your vision and values into a service that transforms others. You see the culture shift; you observe the transformation progressively happening. Your contribution becomes visible and respected.
What is the level of impact of your expertise now?

I hear many experts, such as compliance, security, or Agile specialists, experience this:

Despite all their good advice and procedures, colleagues don’t listen or take action. Sooner or later, they run into costly problems. This disrupts the specialist’s workflow, for they have to pause vital work to prioritise solving their colleagues’ issues. Moreover, those problems escalate and show a lack of influence of these experts, especially among decision-makers.

People tell you that your value as an expert is giving good advice and responding quickly to the business’s needs. But your real power is your ability to engage people in behaviours that prevent foreseeable problems, not find remedies.

This is why committing to serving others and transforming them is crucial. Deciding to lead transformation shifts your attention and mindset towards more ambitious, meaningful work. It decreases your ad hoc activities and interruptions, which limit your impact.

Consider this:

People hardly do what they are told, especially when asked to do the extra work to report on work, like completing forms. Serving others with your expertise means engaging them in a transformation by turning your expertise into a service they want to use. Reveal your expertise and knowledge in a way they naturally pay attention to.

Here is a practical example.

One key element is approaching them from their perspectives: their questions, needs, beliefs and doubts. You know this, but did you start your latest conversation with your perspective or your audience’s perspective?

Let’s say you are a legal expert and want to lead a conversation with HR partners about legal changes around work contracts. Starting from your perspective could be this:

“For years, the Unions have gone to court against the legislation that discriminates workers from white collars. The Government finally decided to change the law last year, and the new changes will come into force on August 1st. The Unions went first to court about 30 years ago.”

Here, you share your knowledge as a legal expert. You frame the upcoming information into your perspective: all the concepts, people, and events involved in creating a new law. It is not wrong. It is irrelevant to your audience at this stage of the conversation.

You could have opened with your audience’s perspective like this:

“Imagine that, on the 30th of July, you will meet with Laura, a new IT person who will work here for six months starting on 1st August. You will also terminate Peter’s contract, who worked with the facility maintenance team. Misunderstanding the new legislation can lead to unnecessary expenses with Laura and being sued by Peter.”

Here, you open on the questions and feelings of the audience, engaging them with examples close to them: you open with their ‘context’ and meet their perspective.

While there is nothing new about opening a conversation by picking up the audience where they are, leading transformations is precisely about meeting and serving people, not expecting them to care about your expertise.

Great experts master several skills and tactics that make the difference between solving problems, sharing knowledge, and leading transformations.

You can learn these.

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