Groucho Marx on being a generalist

Philip Morgan

"These are my principles; if you don't like them, I have others." --Groucho MarxYou don't get to say that as a specialized expert. You don't get to say these variations either:

  1. These are my values; if you don't like them, I have others.
  2. This is how I approach problems like yours; if you don't the approach, I have others.
  3. My best-fit client looks like __________; if you're completely not like that we can still work together.
  4. This is my area of expertise; if you need something different I'm sure I can still help.

As a generalist, you're probably very used to saying stuff to prospects that is the functional equivalent of that Groucho Marx quote.In practice it looks like this:Very eager first meeting with prospect --> ask questions to figure out what they want (yes, want, not need) --> retreat to the Proposal Cave to write up the perfect pitch that fits you into the mold you think they described --> send over proposal and begin anxious waiting to hear backImagine getting sick and going to a doctor and seeing the doctor act like that. Preposterous, right?!Generalists don't get to act like experts because.... they're usually not. You have to earn that ability, and you do it by specializing.Learn more:

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