One of the fallacies about careers is that to get ahead you have to be the expert. While being an expert in some fields is the ticket to success, the truth is I have seen other people who are not experts in their areas rise quickly too. What sets them apart?

First, they know when they don’t have the answer and realize it is a gap. Second, they are not bashful about getting an expert or some other outside help. Third, they can do more with more resources.

Not Knowing it All

Some experts have a difficult time admitting they don’t know something – after all they are the experts or at the very least they should be able to figure it out! In fact, some will take lots of time to figure something out when the most expedient or effective way was to leave it in the hands of someone else.

Letting go of knowing it all opens up the possibilities for someone to work in tangent or separately on your behalf. Knowing you need the help is the first step. Deciding to something about it is the next step.

Get the Right Help

Having a broad network of people with different expertise will serve your career well. Tap into your network before you need them. Establish a relationship where you can call upon them when situations arise and you’ll feel comfortable picking up the phone. Don’t be afraid to spend your or your company’s money to get the right help in to solve a problem.

Here’s an example of where spending money was smart.

In this company there were several VP HRs, each of them approached their position differently. One VP was cost conscious and always looked for ways to cut the budget and how her department could carry out their goals internally.

Another VP HR spent money bringing in consultants to help with the initiatives he was supporting. The first VP’s approach was limited by her staff’s ability. The second VP sought out other opinions and skills to enhance the expertise he had internally. Who do you think lasted longer in this company?


Bottom line, we all are looking for results. When you understand what you don’t know (the gaps), do an inventory on what skills and abilities you have inside yourself or others. What is missing? What do you need to make that decision or project be a success? What would happen if you don’t deal with the gaps? Are you willing to accept those results?