Wednesday, February 21, 2007

A positive quote on Generalists...

One of the things I've struggled with during my career is lack of being a specialist. It's not me. I don't evangelize a language, platform or concept. Some folks I've worked with were "C or nothing" for the language, "Windows only" on the platform, and "I can Manage anyone!" - you get the idea. That's never set well with me. Why lock yourself to one set of ideas when your best defense of it is "because". My kids attempt to use that one word excuse - it doesn't work for them either.

Unfortunately, from my experience, our culture thrives on Specialists, not Generalists. So it was very interesting to me to run across this quote over on Bob Sutton's blog.
Generalists, people with moderately strong attachments to many ideas, should be hard to interrupt, and once interrupted, should have weaker, shorter negative negative reactions since they have alternative paths to realize their plans. Specialists, people with stronger attachments to fewer ideas, should be easier to interrupt, and once interrupted, should have stronger,more sustained negative reactions because they have fewer alternative pathways to realize their plans. Generalists should be the the upbeat, positive people in the profession while specialists should be their grouchy, negative counterparts (page 526).
It's left me thinking, hope it does the same for you.

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