What is Expertship? An introduction
Summary: Expertship is a transformative new training approach to the development of technical subject matters experts or SMEs, from technology experts, financial experts, engineers, scientists, lawyers, manufacturing specialists and other experts – the unsung heroes who keep the lights on in your business. It’s a new way to approach employee potential.
Written by Dominic Johnson 28 May 2022

Expertship is for subject matter experts (or SMEs)

Expertship is for technical experts whose ideas have the potential to transform your organisation.

Expertship is a relatively new word aligned with but quite different to leadership. Leadership is defined as the action of leading a group of people or an organisation. Expertship is defined as the insightful application of expertise leading to optimal outcomes (Gordon & Johnson, Master Expert, Expertunity Press 2021).

Expertship is what technical experts, or subject matter experts do. It describes what tech, financial, engineering, scientific, legal, actuarial, manufacturing and other experts – the unsung heroes - do to keep the lights on in your organisation, and very often innovative ways to do so more effectively. Top experts master the nine capabilities of expertship (see graphic above).

Effective training for your organisation’s subject matter experts

It is also a new way to approach employee potential. Many organisations have talent pools, mostly dominated by those employees who are considered to have the potential to leads teams. But a much smaller group of organisations have made the transition to including their technical experts in high potential pools – understanding that while many experts don’t want to be people leaders, they are very ambitious to add more value to their organisation.

Deploying Expertship as a concept in your organisation enables you to:

  • Shape a coherent career plan for high-potential technical staff and other experts with no interest in management

  • Maintain motivation and engagement for very bright experts trapped in a cycle of high workloads, repetitive problem solving, and little thanks

  • Reduce ‘single point of failure’ risk, where an overloaded expert becomes the only person who can solve a problem

  • Plan for succession of experts

  • Reduce the danger of flight risk of overworked, unappreciated, or unchallenged experts

  • Ensure expert innovation achieves its full business potential

For more detail, read The benefits of skills building for subject matter experts?

If you are a subject matter expert, read What are the benefits for experts?

Highly effective Professonal Development for Experts

Expertship programs are a transformative new approach to the development of tech, financial, engineering, scientific, legal, actuarial, manufacturing and other experts. With unique content for SMEs designed by experts for experts, Expertship programs enable organisations to give their technical stars the opportunity to fulfil their potential, and add enormous additional value to their organisations.

These programs are not about increasing technical skills - most experts manage that on their own. This is about building the enterprise skills that experts need, enabling them to create the value and impact they have the potential and aspiration to, using advanced influencing and collaboration skills.

Expertunity are leaders in providing Expertship programs for technical and subject matter experts and managers of subject matter experts globally.

Expertship initiatives provide critical support and development to high-value technical experts that your organisation needs to retain and grow. And get more value from.

An increasing number of visionary organisations are already sensibly investing in their experts. Some have been good enough to share their stories:

  • Cenitex (the Victorian Government IT arm): Investing in IT experts to provide greater community services through expertship.

  • GenesisCare: how Expertship helped this global healthcare provider to drive an innovative new strategic approach to health care.

  • Aon Asia-Pacific: how Aon supercharged its consultants and technical experts by transforming how it evaluated employee potential.

See what subject matter experts say about how Expertship transformed their professional lives.

Getting started with Expertship

Many organisations are thinking about launching expertship initiatives, such as building self-awareness through expert assessments, developing the leaders of expert teams to be equipped to manage experts brilliantly, or elevating and polishing the enterprise skills of top talent through expertship programs.

Organisations are aided in this undertaking by key publications such as Master Expert and The Expertship Growth Guide, that contains frameworks, curriculum, and tools to help build the capability of their experts. These are available for sale on all good digital book platforms.

Experts respond with passion to the investment. See what experts love about expertship.

Experts developing their own expertship

Some experts are not waiting to see initiatives from their employers - they are taking ownership of their own professional growth. They are subscribing to expertship blogs, buying relevant books, or understanding programs that are available and then persuading their employer to fund their registration.

Our programs are available as a six-month intensive program of workshops and one-on-one coaching, or as a series of virtual masterclasses.

These Expertship programs challenge experts to apply their intelligence to their organisation’s challenges. They push each expert to create real impact and genuinely work collaboratively. And once the program is done, our alumni network helps keeps experts accountable to their goals, ensuring the Expertship toolkit is not forgotten.

Expertship’s time has come

It’s an HR and OD strategy that sits alongside traditional development of people managers – but aims at a quite different outcome. Leadership development is for employees who have the potential to be great people managers. Expertship is for technical experts whose ideas have the potential to transform your organisation.

We explore this concept in more detail in these articles:

What is the Expert gap?

What are enterprise skills, and why are they important for technical experts?

Why don’t we offer executive coaching to subject matter experts?

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