Becoming a go-to expert

I am taking an online business course at the moment, run by the authors of “The go-to expert”, Heather Townsend and Jon Baker. It’s only just started (although I knew of the book a while ago) so I can’t really comment on it yet, but it made me wonder how often KMers are or want to become a go-to expert.

There are, of course, pros and cons.

On the negative side, you can end up sucked into everyone else’s projects, causing you to struggle with your own work and strategic goals (see previous post about our KN-UK event by Clare Davis for some help with this).

On the positive side, you can gain great job satisfaction from being the expert and being able to help people with your expertise, and, of course, you will gain more opportunities for career advancement at your existing firm or elsewhere.

Expert is in

If you have decided you would like to be a go-to expert, I recommend you approach it as if you were a sole practitioner trying to build a reputation in his/her practice area. Don’t treat it less seriously just because it is your internal business reputation.


Six ideas to try:

  1. Have a strategy to gain expertise status – it needn’t be too complex, just to act as a focus when you are wondering what to try next.
  2. Identify your “personal credibility toolkit” – what qualifications do you have, how long have you practised, have you won any prizes/honours, what articles have you written, what events have you spoken at, what do external and internal clients say about you.
  3. Identify any gaps in your personal credibility toolkit and write a plan to fill them in.
  4. Then go one step deeper. Been published in your in-house newsletter? Get published in a specialist external journal. Spoken at internal or client events? Get a slot to speak at a conference. Got your LLB, LPC etc? Take a KM or business course.
  5. Arrange a series of short talks within your firm, perhaps a short slot at regular team meetings, to explain what you do and how you can help and give concrete examples of how you have helped others.
  6. Try an online course, such as that run by Heather and Jon, to give you a broader understanding.


And, of course, if you’d like to expand your expertise in KM, I run regular open training events in London, Bristol, Birmingham and Manchester and have 2 textbooks available.


About knowledge4lawyers

I am a lawyer and a Knowledge Management expert. Through The Knowledge Business I help law firms improve their efficiency and profitability through knowledge services - consultancy, training and implementation help.
This entry was posted in Personal Knowledge Management, Professional Support Lawyers and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Becoming a go-to expert

  1. philwebb76 says:

    Hi, that was very interesting. I was wondering if you had any recommendations as to KM courses?

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