Wider or deeper knowledge
Today I woke up thinking about what would be better for a consultant: wider or deeper knowledge?
Yesterday I had an interview for an APO position to roll-out a global template in one subsidiary. My performance in the interview was terrible, I felt so bad that I was not able to pronounce a single word. The company was looking for a 10 years expert person in APO PPDS and as you can imagine this is not what I am. I have 2 years in APO DP, 2 years in APO SNP, 1 year in APO PPDS, 6 or more in SAP PP, 3 in MM, etc..
Anyway, even when the interview was quite bad for me, I really believe that is more powerful for a company to have consultants with a wide knowledge, instead of deeper knowledge. I read that
people with wider knowledge is also called “T-shaped people.” In our business we can say that T-shaped consultants have a principal skill that describes the vertical leg of the T, e.i.: they’re SAP PP consulta
nts, but they are so empathetic that they can branch out into o
I also read something interesting, that could explain what happened in my interview:
There’s a seduction to being an expert, an assumption in society that credibility relies on deep (and narrow) expertise. However, for people operating at the edges, intersections, and overlaps where innovation thrives, being a generalist is far more powerful.
Of course I am not going to be a generalist person here: some situations require deeper knowledge. In my case, I was being interviewed to roll out a global template in a subsidiary, when it is more powerful to be good at understanding the impact of what we are implementing in the local business, understanding localization, change management, etc., than be an expert in something that was already defined.
So what do you think it is better?