You are probably familiar with the saying “there is no substitute for experience” and perhaps can even attest to its accuracy. Over the past several weeks we have redefined power and explored the new and popular Systems Power lever. As the title alludes, this week I am delving into Mastery Power. That is, the power stemming from experience, training and education. In a recent study on power practices, the power of expertise ranked high – it was the third most cited. Not surprising, as it is a key contributor to organization success, it warrants attention and support.
Those who exercise Mastery Power are recognized and highly valued. Mastery Power even operates independently of formal titles. There are some without a prestigious rank that are sought out for advice.
Mastery provides insights that not only enable better decision-making, but also reduce risk but this cannot be attained overnight. In fact, it may take as much as 10,000 hours of practice to be a true master. This may seem extreme, but take for example the historic guild system. There was a progression from an entry-level apprentice to journeyman before being recognized as a master and the same is true today. It takes time and effort to develop the skills necessary to begin exercising Mastery Power. Whatever the investment of time, training and practice, it pays off.
The benefits of Mastery Power include the ability to:
- Offer new alternatives
- Assist others by designing or explaining processes
- Apply their skills to develop new perspectives in a time of change
- Coach others and develop talent for the future
While we all realize the benefits, many organizations face the problem of losing mastery through retirements or the loss of key talent. How is your organization developing Mastery Power? Are those who currently have Mastery Power mentoring and coaching others? Are your current masters stuck operating in a tried and true universe?
Our complex and changing world requires more mastery than ever before. What are you doing to develop your mastery? What are the areas you foresee a need for mastery in the future? What can you do to help others develop their mastery?