Archive

Career

Generalist vs Specialist Skills. What skills are needed in the workplace? Which will help me advance in my career?

Specialisation is better

https://www.michaelpage.com.au/advice/career-advice/career-progression/specialists-vs-generalists

A saying goes: Jack of all trades, master of none.

Mastery of skills gives humans satisfaction. Specialists, with a deeper understanding of subject matter, can better spot and seize on emerging opportunities. Specialists may also have an easier time collaborating because it’s clearer how the work can be shared.

According to the Hays Asia Salary Guide 2019, 65 per cent of Singapore employers favour technical skills, like project management, over soft skills, like problem-solving, when hiring new employees. 

Division of labor and specialisation is a chief source of productivity gains using the example of factory assembly line. Output per worker increases in multiples; the factory becomes extremely efficient in producing items.

Should I specialize my career as a specialist or as a generalist such as consulting where I’m exposed to a variety of experiences and skills?

According to “structure” proponents, organizing by function allows for task specialization leading to process efficiencies and production consistency (no variations in the end product). https://hbr.org/2019/03/why-data-science-teams-need-generalists-not-specialists?referral=03759&cm_vc=rr_item_page.bottom

When is specialisation not so hot?

Specialisation increases coordination costs whereas Generalists are better at moving between functions. 

Specialisation may have its detractors, with some suggesting that it leads to the “dulling of talent where workers become ignorant and insular as their roles are confined to a few repetitive task”.

Specialization may provide process efficiencies, some say, but it is less likely to inspire workers.

Are some sectors more prone to specialisation skills, e.g. engineering, medical research or cyber security, u need specialist skills surely. But it’s good generalist skills that will get u to the top.

https://hbr.org/2018/07/when-generalists-are-better-than-specialists-and-vice-versa

Interestingly researchers Theodoridis found that generalists were “strongest in fields with a slower pace of change. Example, oil and gas, mining, it might be harder for specialists to come up with new ideas and identify new opportunities, while generalists may be able to find inspiration” connecting the dots from other areas.

If you’re a Manager, would you prefer to employ specialists or generalist?

In fields with a faster pace of change, eg quantum computers and gene editing, the researchers found that “generalists may struggle to stay up to date, while specialists can more easily make sense of new technical developments and opportunities as they arise.”

Research also discovered that generalist roles drive job satisfaction providing: autonomy, mastery, and purpose. Autonomy in that they are not dependent on someone else for success. Mastery in that they know the business capability from end-to-end. And, purpose in direct connection to the impact on the business they’re making.

Generalists are more passionate about their work and making a big impact on the company.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/johnbaldoni/2020/07/23/alexandria-ocasio-cortez-its-not-personal-its-cultural/

Generalists =Mastery + Versatile + More tools in your toolbox.

Google’s Project Oxygen used internal company data to identify what makes a great manager. The list of traits of Google’s best managers revealed coaching, empowerment and inclusivity among the key skills for effective leadership. Tellingly, technical and specialist skills do not appear on this list. 

Read More

Recently some of my international MBA Students asked me about recommendations for recruiting in India. This set me about researching for dome resources to start them off.

How do you choose a consultant?
1. Start with a reputable firm in your market segment.

2. Like all services, it depends on your chemistry with the person, and a match between the firm’s skills, your skills and interest. The only way to find out, is to call and try.

Here are some recommendations, albeit not comprehensive.

ABC Consultants: Top Recruitment Services Company in India
https://www.abcconsultants.in/

Career Net

Randstad

Accord Group

Talent Mappers

Software:
3leads

Job Portals
https://www.naukri.com/

Other international firms like Adecco, Kelly Services, Manpower, Michael Page will also have offices in India.

Companies in India

Comments
How were your interactions with consultants in these firms?

Are there any, you can recommend to help me update this list?

Thank you for your feedback.

There are more PR/ Mefia internships available suddenly even as mergers in the industry take place eg the recent merger between Wunderman and JWT.

Dentsu Aegis Network Asia Pacific
Media Planning Intern
https://g.co/kgs/ZuugcE

Project/Product Management Intern – Customer Identity & Access, SPH (Cultjobs)
https://g.co/kgs/zYefyz

Content Writer
Impossible Marketing
https://g.co/kgs/xWK91L

Ogilvy
PR Internship – Singapore – Indeed.com.sg
https://www.indeed.com.sg/m/viewjob?jk=01e96c0708f1abdb&from=serp

Omnicom Public Relations Group (Linkedin)
https://g.co/kgs/QKX1E2

Advertising Accounts intern
AMBROSIA COMMUNICATIONS PTE  (Cultjobs)
https://g.co/kgs/nrXpbo

Accounts Servicing Intern
Publicis Communications (Cultjobs)
https://g.co/kgs/RaDHXc

Beauty Journalist
Beauty Insider
https://g.co/kgs/icj5KU

Intern
PHD (Linkedin)

June 2019

On Monday night, I posed a question to my adult learners working towards their Specialist Diploma in Career Counselling.

The case was a 3rd yr law undergraduate who wanted to.pursue a career in marine conversation, and I asked them how I should help my student.

Fast forward 3 nights later, I read on Google search which throws up random news on my mobile of this internship opportunity in turtle conservation in Maldives.

Isnt this weird amazing?

Although it was a real counselling case, that was a question posed last year. I am not sure if that law student still harbours secret dreams of being a marine conservationist.

But I learnt a lesson. Stay true to your dreams. They may take a while to materialise. Tell Google. And Career Counsellors, hey Ive included the internship news below. Its possible. She just might learn how to marry legal wotk with marine conservation.

https://amp.insider.com/luxury-maldives-hotel-turtle-rescue-internship-flights-accommodation-food-covered-2019-6

Luxury Maldives hotel hiring intern to rescue turtles, expenses covered

After a week in Kagoshima and Yakushima, known for its agriculture, I want to pay tribute to Japanese mastery and continuoius improvement.

Kagoshima is famous for its black Kurobuta pork perfected from the black Berkshire pig gifted by the UK.

Despite what you hear about over-worked Japanese office workers, a culture that coined the term Karoshi or death by over-work, it does not apply to farm animals. Pigs do get depression. Farmers know that unhappy pigs do not produce good meat. So they keep pigs happy with exercise and clean food.

image

This month while some are on holiday, Alibaba founder, Jack Ma made headlines advising young people the need to work 996, 9am to 9pm, 6 days a week.

Shortly after, he made an about turn when he drew a lot of negativity.

In a sense Jack Ma is not wrong. Malcolm Gladwell popularised the concept of “deliberate practice” or 10,000 hours rule that to achieve excellence, deliberate practice is needed. There is no true genius without hard work.

What is the difference between an overworked employee or a workaholic and a high performer?

Mastery
Autonomy and
Sense of Purpose or Meaning.

Research abounds that working long hours with high stress is unproductive and harmful to the body. Source: https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/332234

Hours do not translate to high stress.

Stress is caused by interpretation of the work, whether it is aligned to the individual’s motivation, sense of control and purpose.

Giving an individual more autonomy can ironically create more stress, if the individual has a low sense of self efficacy and external locus of control, ie they do not believe they have power to change their circumstances and are helpless victims of fate.

Some organisations have moved to using personality profiling to detect similarities in their top performers and recruit employees with a better fit.

Employees who link work to skills mastery, and career purpose are more engaged. (Daniel Pink).

To my 3rd year student who is wondering why he should bring home over the weekend for his internship:

Questions to reflect:

Mastery and Personal Excellence
1. Do the long hours contribute to personal mastery or deep skills?

Or

2. Are the long hours the result of inefficiency, wasting time waiting for inputs or misguided attention?

3. How much of work can be automated?

4. Does personality differences make a difference in an ideal employee?

5. Is your boss abusing her authorities or is hard work the norm?

6. Do you believe you can make changes to your work and a personal difference? Self efficacy. Do you have an internal locus of control.

How will you know?
Keep a personal scoreboard. Track your activities. Do they match personal, department, organisation or community goals?

As they say, if you enjoy your work, you never need to work a single day.

Jack Ma to his employees:
“Don’t make me happy, don’t love me. Make your customer happy, make your customer love you, and I will love you any minute.‘”

Jack Ma U-turns on 996 work culture, says companies ‘foolish’ to force overtime

From IQ to EQ to AQ

Adaptability Quotient

Anticipate needs and create opportunities
Drive positive energy
Accelerate constant innovation
Partner: exchange ideas and
Trust: mutual growth

image

Photo credit: himself taken at the Singapore Bird Park.

According to a study by Kornferry only 15% of leaders have what it takes to self- disrupt and be ready for the future.

How are you equipping yourself for this change?

Introducing: A new breed of future-ready leaders – Korn Ferry Focus
https://focus.kornferry.com/leadership-and-talent/introducing-a-new-breed-of-future-ready-leaders/

image

This morning, I visited Gardens by the Bay Flower Dome. I bought a one year pass which will expire in June 2019 and have yet to use it.

image

Here I am, having a mini holiday in Japan, right here in Singapore. Sakuras are fresh and in full bloom. I came at 9am, no queue and was out by 930am.

The drive was just 10 mins from my home and enroute to work. When I texted my envious friends, they could not believe it.

Weakness can be a strength

Yes, Singapore is that small. Its tiny size is a weakness as well as a strength. All attractions are accessible. Just a mindset change away.

What resources are you underutilising?

🍍Just like my one year membership at Gardens by the Bay which I bought at $45 during a promotion.

🍍My “close distance” to the displays which are refreshed every month.

🍍Treating my Asian tiger mom as my best feedback coach. Undeniably she often has my interest at heart. (Her coaching fees are free.)

To develop our personal brand, many of us struggle to find our niche. What is an area that can define my expertise?

The best way to find out is to Ask!
1. Who is the person in the mirror? Ask yourself, do a personal reflection.
2. What is my preferred style?
3. Am Iikeable? Do I like myself? (Many people would rather do business with people they like, rather than with a jerk.)
4. Do I have access to people who need my services or products?

For anyone who is feeling a little lethargic after the New Year Break, here is a networking challenge for the brave hearted.

Let’s start your networking challenge

Day 1: come up with positive adjectives, strengths and weakness that describe me
Day 2: draft my personal brand statement
Day 3: come up with 5 ice breakers
Day 4: Bring my closest friends to lunch and ask positive adjectives describe me.
Day 5: start my daily list of 10 thanksgiving items. Creative positive energy.
Day 6: list my rewards or motivators on challenge. (Positive energy)
Day 7: Rest Day, Reflection
Day 8: write home call home (parents, siblings), plan next family gathering. If not convenient, send positive thoughts and thank them in mind. Send postcard.
Day 9: start my project of saying hello to a different colleague or classmate everyday for 30 days. Ask: what are you working on? What’s a trend that may bother you? What’s a skill you wish you had time to pick up?
Day 10: create a Linkedin account
Day 11: join a public speaking group such as toastmasters in your area
Day 12: identify an area of professional interest
Day 13: join a group in professional interest
Day 14: Rest Day, Reflection
Day 15: identify a person to start a personal friendship group
Day 16: List 5 latest books affecting your area.
Day 17: Arrange to have coffee with former internship supervisor or colleagues
Day 18: Keep in touch with (one) classmate from past. Repeat with different person next cycle.
Day 19: Sign up for a talk in area of interest
Day 20: join a group of personal interest, faith or hobby, eg. Mahjong or tennis
Day 21: Rest Day, Reflection – list 10 topics you have collected from conversations.
Day 22: Start a blog, write your first article
Day 23: List of social causes, pick one Volunteer for a social cause
Day 24: Congratulate a friend
Day 25: Rest Day, Reflection
Day 26: Update my Linkedin. Write my first post
Day 27: Celebrate friend’s birthday or anything worth celebrating!
Day 28: Compliment a service staff (stranger).
Day 29: Send postcard to relative
Day 30: Celebrate with loved one!

Repeat cycle!!

image

Photo: Visit to Adecco Singapore office with RMIT (HRM) students.