It is always important to know a bit of everything in addition to the vast body of knowledge we have in our area of speciality. When we know a bit about everything, we build the confidence to converse with diverse types of people.
By contrast, if we only know about our field, we fail to engage in discussions or debates with people from other professions or backgrounds. In fact, when you know little outside your space, you have little chance to rise to senior management or leadership positions.
The higher you rise, the more you are expected to use general knowledge that covers multiple professions, fields of knowledge and skills sets.
This means that as you climb the career ladders, you need to constantly learn across multiple functions. If you are an accountant, develop the interest to learn about the core business in the company or organisation that you work for.
As you talk to marketers who want you to pay their marketing agents or for a promotional product, spend time to understand what you are paying for. As you do this, you will be learning a good bit of practical insights into the marketing profession. You can do the same for sales, production, operations, engineering, technology and so on.
You do not need to be an accountant to learn across the functions. I work in the profession of IT. We supply technology systems, products and services to many business teams. We develop products and systems that are used by company-wide staff.
I have seen big learning opportunities as we interact with people from the other functions throughout the many years I have practiced in the IT function. The same can be said for many different professions. You get many chances to interact with people from other fields or professions. Take advantage of those interactions or engagements to learn one or two things from the other professions.
You can expand your learning opportunity through active participation in cross functional meetings. In companies and organisations, we have many meetings every day. In most meetings, we have participants from different backgrounds. They report on their plans and they share progress reports. By actively listening and asking questions, you gain good exposure to the other professions. Slowly, over time, you will be learning a good bit of those professions that you engage with regularly.
In addition, you can learn about other profession and fields by engaging in discussions with individuals from the other professions, other departments. We always have friends and relatives who are members of professions different from us.
Take good advantage of that opportunity to learn about other professions. In casual conversations with them, develop a keen interest to discuss their professions and ask questions to learn more.
The good thing is that people like to talk about themselves and about things they know well. They will be happy if not motivated to share with you what they know about their field, their profession.
Another way you can learn about the other professions is by attending class based on online short courses. Courses like ‘Finance for Non-Finance Managers’, ‘Marketing for the Dummies’ and so on are very good when you want to know just enough about other professions.
Even if you may not have the money to pay for the course, or your employer does not have the money as well, you can still learn through many free online resources. These days, access to internet is easy and cheap. Use this easy opportunity to equip yourself with the vital knowledge outside your space.
The world we live in is so competitive. Only those with an edge stand out. Today, we have discussed one easy way in which you can gain an edge against your peers and those with whom you will compete for the next job or next opportunity.
Do not waste the time while you have it now. Use all the available time to learn a few things from other profession and that way, you will triumph in your career as time goes by. All the best as you rise and shine!