Uniting School Administrators to Create a Better World

Accelerating Expertise

I was talking to my brother recently about his job. He works as a purchasing agent for a home builder, and he was hoping for a promotion.

I asked him about the person who is in the position he wants.

“What does he have that you don’t have?” I asked.

My brother replied, “Experience. He’s been in the company for 30 years, and in that position for 10.”

My brother had only been in his current position for a couple of years.

He felt that he would have to have many more years in the job before he would even be considered for a promotion. He just didn’t have the experience.

That’s when I told him what I want to share here.

It’s all about EXPERTISE, not experience.

The person with the most EXPERTISE has the advantage in the job market.

Experience gives a person expertise. The more time you have observing and doing a particular job, the more expert you become through trial and error and practice. That is why experience in a position counts so much for employers.

My brother wasn’t too encouraged by that.

“That just proves my point. My chances of getting promoted are poor, because I lack the experience.” He said.

Then I explained the good news.

“Yes, experience gives a person expertise, but there is another way to get expertise.”

That’s when I got his attention.

I told him, “You can’t accelerate experience. To get 10 years of experience, it’s going to take you 10 years. Right?”

He nodded.

“You can, however, accelerate expertise.”

“How?” he asked.

“By learning from experts.” I replied.

You can accelerate your expertise by spending time learning from those who are experts in your field.img_8536

I asked him about what skills are needed for the promotion he wants.

He thought about this for a while, then he said, “You need good communication skills. You also need leadership abilities and good time management skills.”

Then I asked him, “What books are you reading?”

He had no answer.

I told him that if you want to improve your expertise in the abilities necessary to be successful in the position you want, you can either gain those skills through years of experience or you can learn from the experts.

That’s what I have done. I know that I do not want to be an Assistant Principal forever. I would like to someday lead a school as Principal. I can either get the expertise to be a Principal though years of Assistant Principal experience or I can learn from experts and accelerate my expertise.

I’ve chosen the latter option. I have spent the last few years devouring books on leadership and communication– two important attributes of successful Principals.

It has been amazing. I have gained so much though this journey.

I feel more prepared for the next step in my career, and I am looking forward to implementing what I’ve learned as Principal of my own school someday.

Below are a few books that have changed my life, and have accelerated my expertise.

I know what you are saying, “Sam I don’t have time to read.”

I know. I know. I don’t have time either. What I did was subscribe to Audible. I listened to the books while driving to work and back each day. I used drive time as class time. It was awesome. If you’re interested in giving audiobooks a try, check out Audible.com.

Below are the books I recommend.

Until next time, here’s to your journey toward School Administration Mastery!




Leaders Eat Last – Simon Sinek

Start With Why – Simon Sinek


The Five Dysfunctions of a Team – Patrick Lencioni

Grit – Angela Duckworth


Smarter Faster Better – Charles Duhigg

The Truth About Leadership – Barry Posner, James Kouzes


Mindset – Carol Dweck

Eat That Frog – Brian Tracy


Give and Take – Adam Grant


Move Your Bus – Ron Clark


The ONE Thing – Gary Keller

The Tipping Point – Malcolm Gladwell


No Excuses! – Brian Tracy

The Power of Habit – Charles Duhigg

Leadership and Self Deception – The Arbinger Institute

Work Rules!: Insights from Inside Google – Laszlo Bock

Leadership is an Art – Max De Pree

The Multiplier Effect – Liz Wiseman

Discover Your True North – Bill George

First Things First – Stephen Covey

The Heart of Leadership – Mark Miller

Crucial Conversations – Patterson


Chess Not Checkers – Mark Miller

Quiet Leadership – David Rock

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