Friday, February 15, 2013

Specialization: Don’t Leave Home Without It! 4 Reasons Why You Should Care About Specialization

4 Reasons Why Specialization Matters

Recently I asked my readers how they feel about specialists, those experts who limit their work to a limited area of specialization. I thank Denver attorney, E.C. Lewis for sharing her thoughts about specialization.

The concept of “specialization” is not limited to professionals like lawyers and doctors. Many fields have specialists as I discovered concerning auto mechanics. Before I list the four reasons that dealing with a specialist is the smartest move you will ever make, let’s explore specialization further.

A specialist is someone who limits their work to a certain and defined area. Certain professional specialties even have certifications required before the specialization can be claimed. Here is a good working definition:

Someone who has limited their work to a defined area, either has a certification or recognized expertise in that area, and does that work full-time with at least seven consecutive years in the specific area.

What are your thoughts about this definition? If we accept this definition, then when isn't someone a specialist? Consider these examples of someone who is not a specialist:

1. Advertising on TV, radio, or social media.
2. Simply claiming to be one.
3. Accepting any work that comes their way without limiting their work to the one certain area.

There are four reasons to work with a specialist in whatever area you are considering. They are:

1. Specialists are experts.
My favorite example of this is in the medical field. If I break my leg, I am not going to the heart doctor. I know this seems silly, but it illustrates the point of expertise. Don’t you want to deal with someone who is an expert in your area of need?

2. Specialists are more competent.
Competence is a function of two factors: first is knowledge, the knowing of the expert's area; and second, experience. Nothing beats the value of having done something many times, this is how we learn, how to avoid mistakes and problems and how to improve. Consider this: the military; fire fighters or athletes are constantly training, constantly repeating, over and over what it is they do. I have heard this referred to as developing unconscious competence. From repetition comes experience and from experience comes competence. Specialists are simply more competent.

3. Specialists protect you.
Only a competent expert can anticipate what might go wrong in a project. Being able to anticipate problems allows the specialist to protect you from these risks. Here’s an example from my life: I tried to install a carpet strip at the edge of the kitchen. I am not a specialist in this type of work. Not knowing the material of the floor almost cost me big as the nail I was attempting to use exploded and hit my arm like a bullet. When I had a carpet specialist look at the project, they had an answer that was safe and effective. That is a perfect example of how a specialist protects their customers. They know the problems and now to solve them before someone gets hurt.

4. Specialists save you money.
Since a specialist knows what to do, how to avoid and solve problems, the specialist can get the project done timely, without loads of “do-overs” and since problems are avoided, usually at the lowest cost. Here’s another example: a client of mine needed to replace the timing chain on his older vehicle. He got two estimates, one from a specialist and one from his buddy. The buddy’s estimate was 40% lower than the specialist. Can you guess the result? That’s right, he went with the lower estimate and by the time the buddy's work was repaired properly he had spent over twice the estimate from the specialist. I also see this in my estate planning practice. Clients will try and create their own estate planning documents or work with non-specialists and end up spending huge fees to fix the problems created.

My point with this article is that there are actual and measurable benefits to dealing with specialists. This is true in any field, car repairs, medical services, legal services and in my specialty estate planning. Since there are so many people offering services in areas that they don’t specialize in, being aware of this can help you protect yourself and your family.

What are your thoughts about specialists? Please join our conversation and comment here or send me an email with your comments. Thank you.

Bernie Greenberg

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