I like specialists. They have spent enough time and tears in their area of expertise to know what is worth knowing, to understand what works and what doesn’t, and how to properly diagnose an issue.

Specialists are exciting, especially if you put a group of them from a variety of different industries in a room together with a problem to solve.

Specialists see the world through specific lenses and offer only that which they see.

Specialists are disciples of their crafts.

Gurus are a different kettle of fish. 

During a recent conversation with someone I respect – mostly because they say things like they see them – the name of a self-proclaimed “guru” came up as we were discussing the development of personal brands vs business brands in an African business context.

“That **** ****-**** is a charlatan.” I remember once being told by a prominent local business analyst about this same “guru”. 

It’s clearly the Dunning-Kruger Effect at play, or perhaps, as now retired (she quit; she hated it) career guru, Michelle Goodman, puts it, it’s “smoke and mirrors” and “a stepping stone to ad revenue, keynote invitations, corporate sponsorships, consulting gigs, even startup capital.” …whatever it comes down to, it’s hubris…or in the words of strategist, corporate cartographer, and ‘destroyer of undeserved value’, Simon Wardley: “I’ve got a graph for that:”

Gareth Armstrong Article - Beware The Guru - Map Graph Competence Knowledge Expert - strategist corporate cartographer Simon Wardley