When we are reliant on the work that another person has to do we will inevitably have expectations about the skill and diligence with which they carry it out. A cake shop with no cake won’t cut it! Our expectation varies depending on the work, our need for it, the consequences of success, and failure, the experience and more.
Let’s take a look at some examples. When we’re sitting in our seats with our seatbelts fastened at the end of the runway, hearing the engine noise rise as the plane accelerates, we have an expectation that the pilot is skilled at flying. Not just that, but we have an expectation that he is trained on that particular plane and licensed to fly that model. We don’t necessarily get proof, because we know that those are the strong rules about those things and we know that they are enforced.
If we are unfortunate enough to need an operation, we similarly choose a specialist rather than a general practitioner. It is the ear, nose and throat surgeon who will skilfully remove our tonsils, should that be needed.
When we are greeted at the checkout in the supermarkets, do we have the same expectations? Perhaps not, but should we? Again, perhaps not. For some work, we expect competence, not deep expertise. Most often that’s in roles where the consequences of failure are likely to be more about frustration or loss of value than something life-changing, or even life-ending. For those things we expect a level of expertise, and beyond that an ability to manage risk and recover early from the signs of failure to avoid the worst outcomes.
Yet, for all roles, we have had to learn the knowledge needed and hone the skills required until we had that level of confidence and competence that is needed to just do the job. Expertise develops around those areas of managing risk and recovering from the early signs of failure when performing those roles.
Beyond that, even, is mastery, the ability not just to have an expert competence, but to be able to apply it in any situation and teach it in all circumstances.
As every business owner knows, when providing the products and services that have been developed and honed over years, it is important to ask “what are the expectations of our customers?”
Do they just expect our competence, or are they seeking expertise? If they are seeking expertise, have we developed enough of it to be able to meet those expectations reliably every time? Are they seeking the insights we can bring as a result of having mastered that role, and if they are, do we understand it in their context?
When we understand the context of the work we are being asked to do, and when we understand the stage of the journey to mastery that our clients expect, then we can deliver extraordinary value and exceed the expectations that they have with ease.
It is obvious that if our customer’s expectation is for a competent practitioner, they will be willing to pay a fee for the product or service. It’s also obvious that if their expectations are higher, for an expert or a master, then their willingness to pay a premium will also be present.
As small business owners, if we master our art then we will also maximise our potential revenues.
What are you doing today to master what you will do tomorrow?