The difference between a truly professional outcome (one that is produced by a craftsperson) and an amateur outcome lies in the craftperson’s ability to see and work with the big picture as well as the details.

As the saying goes, God may well be in the details; but the truly sublime can only be experienced as a whole. The big picture is where all the individual pieces come together and make something more. The magic is being in the forest.

Not many people are able to do this. Even many trained professionals don’t quite seem to deliver craftsperson-level outcomes.


In every one of these cases, the people involved were focused primarily on isolated elements or tasks. The individual bits are all honed to perfection. But the whole is crap. Because no one is in a position to, or perhaps able to, work with the big picture as well as work with the details.

Is this a function of our innate nature as humans? Is is a product of our education and upbringing?

The business world seems more and more focused on increasingly narrow silos of expertise. Everyone wants the expert on this, the expert on that. So we end up with many experts each doing their own different thing really well, and perhaps not that aware of how their actions fit into, and affect the big picture.

We train people to fit expertise silos because that is straightforward to think about. The in-between is less tangible. How do we begin to develop a curriculum for teaching people to be generalists?

Are managers being trained to work in between these expert silos? Are there enough generalists coming out of our educational institutions to fill this crucial skills gap? How many businesses out there recognise this skills gap?

I am interested in the in-between…