You Can't Know It All
Leading in the Age of Deep Expertise
Today’s organizations are packed full of experts in every area from marketing to risk to sales to IT. Many of these people are also leaders, heading teams or large departments. They are followed because they know more than the rest of their group. They are followed because of their credibility as experts.
The toughest transition in business comes when expert leaders are asked to move beyond their expertise and lead a less homogenous group. Suddenly, experts face a new set of problems. They struggle to gain basic competence in dozens of areas without having to become the expert in every aspect. In Wanda Wallace’s experience, this move—from expert leader to a broader kind of authority—requires a new mindset about how to lead.
Wallace explains what few people understand—how to add value as a leader when you’re dealing with an ever growing set of responsibilities over which you have little detailed knowledge. The work you do and the way you interact with people must also change. Managing now requires a light touch and a different approach to delegation. Above all, managing is about recognizing that while you may not do all the work of your team, you must enable the team to do the work. In this world, trust becomes essential.
In You Can’t Know It All, Wallace presents the coaching model she has developed to address the challenges of this transition. She offers strategies for individuals to navigate their new roles and learn to combine their expertise with their leadership responsibilities. She gives essential advice on the fundamental change in mind-set that this requires.
This invaluable handbook offers novice and experienced managers alike insights into their own careers, explains why their star performers may suddenly be floundering, and provides essential tools for guiding development.
Praise For You Can't Know It All: Leading in the Age of Deep Expertise…
“Deeply powerful and delightfully practical, I instantly recognized my clients in its pages and, perhaps more important, I also recognized myself. A must-read for leaders serious about their results and their own growth.” — Sheila Heen, co-author of Difficult Conversations and Thanks for the Feedback
“In You Can’t Know It All, Wallace helps us see how leadership in today’s age of deep expertise has evolved from our general-manager notions of the past. Wallace weaves together compelling and candid stories of real leaders with her own coaching experience and simple, actionable exercises. This leadership book is on point and right on time.” — Dolly Chugh, author of The Person You Mean to Be, and associate professor, Department of Management and Organizations at the NYU Stern School of Business
“This is a real-world practical guide on how to move out of your comfort zone as a subject-matter expert and develop the skills you need to manage in today’s technical and fast-moving business world.” — John Murphey, former CEO of Bell Helicopter
“This is an incredibly important topic and one we don’t pay sufficient attention to. Making the transition from expert to non-expert is often the point at which high-potential careers falter, and we -- the individuals and organizations -- often don’t know why. This book helps us all understand the issues and how to overcome them, to the benefit of everyone.” — Liz Wallace, former head of talent at Vodafone Emerging Markets
“Dr. Wanda Wallace has packed You Can’t Know It All with practical tools distilled from a command of the research and refined in her coaching work with hundreds of leaders around the world. You Can’t Know It All fills a critical gap for those who aspire to lead and inspire on the big stage.” — Rob Kaiser, president of Kaiser Learning Solutions; writer, researcher and consultant
“This book is a must-have for careerists looking to advance in today’s global and complex business environment. From adopting the right mind-set to developing key skills, Wanda provides individual contributors and experts proven insights and tools to transition into valued leaders within their respective organizations.” — Cindy Pace, global head of diversity and inclusion of MetLife
Harper Business, 9780062835987, 240pp.
Publication Date: June 18, 2019
About the Author
Wanda Wallace, Phd., is a managing partner of Leadership Forum Inc. She coaches, facilitates, and speaks on improving leadership by improving the quality of conversations. She specializes in helping women and men get to the top, stick, and thrive. She works with world-renowned financial services companies and other blue-chip clients. Previously, Wanda Wallace was executive vice president at Duke Corporate Education, Inc., associate dean of executive education at the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University, as well as an assistant professor of marketing. She divides her time between New York City and London.