“One Trick Pony”…….


Just one day after the death of a GREAT man Nelson Mandela, we’re now getting an understanding of what it takes to have a profound impact on each other’s lives…..certainly Mr. Mandela achieved that objective and then some. I’m listening to all of the pundits in the media talk about what a tremendous man Nelson Mandela was and how he inspired a planet, one of things I’ve learned from a distance (I’ve never met Nelson Mandela personally) is the many skills this man had. Nelson Mandela was NOT a “One Trick Pony”. Trying to be as sensitive as I can here, when you look at what he’s accomplished from a “business” perspective not only was he compassionate, humble, and courageous…..he was a superior negotiator, collaborator, and CEO!! Nelson Mandela had many skills!

Today’s business requires an individual to have a portfolio of experiences, my last blog posting speaks the fact that in 2014 and beyond our ability to be more “Efficient” in how we execute our business goals will be a predictor to future success…..and I stand by that prediction. The result of being more “Efficient” as a business professional whether you’re in sales, marketing, operations etc etc will entail your ability to do more with less. The days of a corporation having a CEO who just specializes in finance but has no marketing, sales or operations experience are dwindling, and of course this applies to positions in a company that require multiple skills (e.g. Chief Marketing Officer, Chief Commercial Officer, and Chief Technology Officer etc). Companies are moving away from hiring/promoting the individual who just does one thing….if anything it’s becoming too expensive to do so. That old saying “jack of all trades, master of none” has some validity but being a “Master” of one thing that’s now obsolete…..can find you unemployed quickly. I will say however there’s still this tendency for companies to be microscopic in who they hire based on a “specific” skill set and depending on that industry that strategic thinking makes sense, however, I would argue that in order for a company to continue evolving that approach to finding talent may come back to bite them in the fanny. The “Googles”/”Apples” of the world are trailblazers when it comes to finding talent that can help them in many areas of their operations…..you’ll be kidding yourself if you think they just recruit “Tech Heads” who haven’t been well versed in other parts of their business. Think about it, how would you have an effective “Succession Planning” process if everyone in your company just had one skill….right? (haha!!).

I don’t want to come across in this blog post as “Flippant” or a “Smart A**”, I truly believe in my heart and objectively that in order to achieve in your career and importantly personal life…..learning and obtaining additional skills are going to be vastly championed and needed. Whether it’s going back to school or pushing your boss/company by requesting that you work on different projects….having a portfolio of experiences can be the biggest “Job Security”. I myself through blessings of having good mentors in my life earlier in my career bestowed this wisdom upon me because of my ambition to move up the corporate ladder. The funny thing is while I spent most of my career obtaining all of these various skills (e.g. Sales, Marketing, Sales Operations, and Project Management) it never occurred to me the “Personal Growth” gained in accomplishing these levels. While my intention was purely ambition to achieve a higher position in corporate America…..I didn’t realize the overall personal well roundedness I developed from all those experiences. Yep, it taught me a lot of things about…..ME!

Coming back full circle, the one thing Nelson Mandela has taught me from afar is that before you can have impact on others, you’ll have to determine how much impact you can make on yourself by pursuing your own “personal growth” in developing multiple skills…..to help multiple others!
Avoid being a “One Trick Pony”….

Checkout my article on “Competency Modeling” and helping 3 sales forces increase skill sets!

You can also checkout my background/work by clicking on the following links:

Andre’ Harrell
AH2 & Beyond Consulting


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