Systems that promote generalists struggle in the long-run
Why it matters:
- We live in a disruptive and ever-changing world. To stay ahead and innovate, you need specialists to identify and execute on which bets and trends are likely to succeed.
- It is easier to train specialists to become generalist managers but not vice versa.
- Long term, it promotes a culture of excellence because specialists can mentor and nurture other specialists by investing in high-potential people.
- When in leadership positions, generalists talk strategy and big picture. They give high-level directives and then withdraw. They are neither interested nor trained in the nuances of the trade.
- Specialists realize that to grow they need to become generalists and they give up on building labor and judgment.
- Eventually, the whole system fills up with generalists and the system loses its ability to make bets. There is a lack of middle management that can truly roll up its sleeves, obsesses over details, and convert strategy into tangible action.
Links to this Evergreen Note