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Speed Review: 5 Steps to Expert

Speed Review: 5 Steps to Expert

Speed Review: 5 Steps to Expert

How to Go from Business Novice to Elite Performer

by Paul Schempp

Scholars and scientists have long struggled to unravel the mystery of what it takes to reach peak performance in any human endeavor — to consistently outperform one’s peers. 5 Steps to Expert brings to life the seminal research in this field, with dozens of stories of “the best of the best” in business, arts, science and sports, to help you increase your expertise and achieve great levels of performance.

Review

Make Your Move to Expert

Most people would love to be regarded as an expert in their field. Of course, such a reputation isn’t earned overnight. It requires a base of instruction and learning, followed by a standard of outstanding performance over time.

The 5 Steps

Acquiring such expertise has been made a little easier with the book 5 Steps to Expert: How to Go From Business Novice to Elite Performer. It describes five levels of expertise — beginner, capable, competent, proficient and expert — and how one can make the move from one level to the next. The book identifies specific characteristics to differentiate one level from another. So, for instance, a beginner lacks comfortable, efficient routines for everyday tasks in the field and, instead, makes decisions guided by rules and norms.  Someone who is capable, the second level of the five, makes decisions but is guided not simply by rules but by strategic knowledge. A competent person — that is, someone on the third level, uses goals set to develop long-term plans. Proficiency, or the fourth level, allows someone to set goals and long-term plans himself or herself to reach them. Finally, an expert may plan extensively yet may act intuitively from a sense of timing and momentum.

5 Steps to Expert lays out a progressive plan for consistently achieving each level. The plan offered is like a road map that allows someone to advance from his or her level of competence to a higher level of performance and then a higher level again. At the end of each chapter, there are research findings and stories of real people, as well as exercises that readers can use to better identify their level of expertise and measure their professional progress.

This book does more than describe each level. It suggests effective ways of learning based on one’s present level of expertise, and it offers a series of progressive tasks and activities to guide the reader through each step toward becoming expert. Case studies, stories and practical examples illustrate how the characteristics within each level can move the reader forward in his or her quest to become more expert in his or her chosen field.

The Roadway to Expert

As the book demonstrates, experts are made, not born. The author refers to three keys as the means for ever-increasing performance: experience, knowledge and skills. As the author writes, “There is no substitute for experience when it comes to developing expertise. … Experience offers opportunities for learning.”

Schempp backs up his arguments with research that proves the search for knowledge, even among experts, is never-ending.

The skills of an expert can be viewed as a specific set of tasks or profession-related activities that have been mastered and account for and are critical to the expert’s superior performance. As a start, the skills to master can come from job description lists. Mentors and colleagues can also be helpful in recognizing the important skills in a company or an industry.

Studies of experts suggest that they have certain characteristics that define their position in the workplace, including seeking knowledge insatiably, having a superior memory, attending to work beyond the job description, planning extensively and acting intuitively, executing skills in a smooth manner, responding to inadequacies and failures readily, and self-monitoring their own performance.

A Reader-Friendly Road Map

This book isn’t just for those who want to become expert in their field. It is also suitable for those who want to help members of their staff become experts. As the book moves from one stage of expertise to another, it uses exercises to solidify concepts and provide the student with an objective assessment of progress made to date. A book that takes readers from one level of expertise to the next may seem unnecessary, but 5 Steps to Expert has the advantage of hand-holding novices to top performers and ensuring that they make the journey, doing so in a reader-friendly manner.

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