"And that’s a key differentiator amongst entrepreneurs – they rarely allow themselves to be victims."
Whether entrepreneur or CEO, success depends on having at least a few well-developed skills. The question is how much of any given skill must you develop?
I put entrepreneurs into a couple of categories: cheerleaders, engineers, salesmen, marketers, innovators and generals (or sometimes tyrants). It’s not that all entrepreneurs can be clearly categorized, as certainly we all have some of these traits, but there are predominant skills that each type has developed very well and rely upon to run their company.
What I’m seeing with great business leaders are great teams; people who use their master skills for the company’s benefit. That leaves the leader in a position of not having to be the master at that given skill. Arguably nobody can master all skills, but shouldn’t an entrepreneur and CEO build several core skills in order to be successful (e.g. sales, marketing, operations, finance and human resources)?
Some entrepreneurs think of themselves as having to know everything: to accomplish each skill at a sufficient level in order to run the company. Then they hire people with (hopefully) better skills to take over those tasks and accelerate growth. Does that mean they are “Jack of all trades”? Sometimes,but I’ll argue that they’re more likely to become “Master Tradesman” of every role they take on. Leaders,pioneers and innovators are willing to take on the personal challenge of achieving by learning and performing. The lesson here is in the process of accomplishment: building expertise is about doing and not waiting for it to happen.
I cringe upon hearing the underlying disempowerment people give themselves when they claim to be a “Jack of all trades and master of none”. It subtly implies that they either haven’t taken the time to invest in themselves or been ‘given’ the opportunity to build an expertise. I put the word ‘given’ in quotes because if you’re waiting to be given something, then you are actually claiming to be a victim of your circumstances (see page 111 in It’s My Life! I Can Change If I Want To). And that’s a key differentiator amongst entrepreneurs – they rarely allow themselves to be victims.
How do you view yourself? Are you average at a bunch of skills, master of one or are you actually mastering lots of skills? You don’t have to be an entrepreneur, CEO or organization leader to take on the mindset of becoming a master of everything you do. You simply have to decide to achieve a new level of growth within yourself. As for the successful entrepreneurs I have yet to meet one that has mastered every skill they attempt, nor have I met one who has stopped trying.