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The Right 10,000 Hours

by Randall Craig on June 7, 2011

Filed in: Blog, Career Planning, Make It Happen Tipsheet, New Job

Malcolm Gladwell asserts that one cannot be an expert without first earning 10,000 hours of experience.

So how do you become recognized for your expertise if you don’t have enough experience to be recognized…?  This isn’t a problem just for those entering the workforce (or for entrepreneurs), but also for those considering a career change, and those newly promoted into a different role.

Here are a  few ideas:

  1. Borrow the experience: Add people to your team to complement the skills you lack – then learn from them.
  2. Purchase the experience: Hire a coach or management consultant to quickly get you up to speed. Of course, make sure that their 10,000 hours are real and directly relevant to your requirements.
  3. Change your focus: Sometimes a slight shift in your priorities will allow more of your past experience to become relevant.
  4. Assume the risk: Yes, you might not have those 10,000 hours, but the cost of failure may not be so high. Nevertheless, reduce this risk by reading, attending presentations, and networking to learn as much as possible.

This week’s action plan: What kind of hours are you collecting? This week, add up the hours that you have “earned” throughout your career across various competencies. Are you earning hours in the areas that are important to you?

A bonus idea: Many people like the idea of writing a blog, but are unsure what the best topic should be. Here’s a clue: blog on either the topic you have the most hours in, or blog on the topic you are hoping to build.

Note: The Make It Happen Tipsheet is also available by email. Go to to register.

Randall Craig

@RandallCraig (follow me)



Randall has been advising on Web and Social Strategy since 1994 when he put the Toronto Star online, the Globe and Mail's GlobeInvestor/Globefund, several financial institutions, and about 100+ other major organizations. He is the author of seven books, including the recently released "Everything Guide to Starting an Online Business", and speaks across North America on Social Media and Web Strategy. More at and

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