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Expertise describes the level of skills, knowledge, and judgment of an "expert." Researchers have proven that "experts" are individuals who have taken many years (one researcher says ten at a minimum) to master their particular domain. Expertise is developed through:


  • A foundation and fundamental understanding of the basics or principles
  • Experience applying the subject or domain many times
  • Feedback from an honest coach who regularly challenges the expert
  • A willingness to self-examine one's limitations and failures
  • Deliberate practice over many years (even Jerry Rice and Tiger Woods practiced every day after reaching world-class skills)
  • Ability to teach and coach others (people learn by teaching, not only by doing).
In the context of corporate learning, businesses now thrive on experts. High-performing organizations like Accenture, Intel, and even British American Tobacco have created multi-level competency models which define how people move up the ladder of expertise.

Our research shows that only by clearly defining the information and skills needed by level can an organization facilitate the development of experts. Experts often know what they are good at, but they are not always sure how to improve their expertise.

An excellent summary of these principles is included in the Harvard Business Review article "The Making of an Expert," available here: