The Perks of Being A Generalist

At times during my masters degree I felt pressured to find my specialization within marketing.  As friends branded themselves experts in SEO, social media or data analysis, I just couldn’t bring myself to pick a favorite.

I reassured myself that I was too curious to stay in a silo, and that was a good thing.  I loved immersing myself in different topics, but I was most satisfied when I figured out how each piece fit within the bigger picture.

Just as much as I needed nurture every aspect of my own business, I wanted to know what made my clients and their industries tick.  Only when I connected the dots could I understand the larger goals of any project and deliver meaningful results.

So I was thrilled to read General Assembly’s recent paper on the rise of hybrid roles requiring business, marketing and technical skills.

When I worked with DECODED to bring ‘digital enlightenment’ to Asia, I was alarmed how many CMOs and agency CEOs claimed they had no need to know code – they outsourced programmers to build their websites. Gladly this age of ignorance has now passed and today’s senior managers appreciate they need a respectful understanding of the digital products their businesses rely on.

Innovation and growth requires working cross-functionally: with a range of different people, diverse skill sets and, most likely, competing objectives. And it’s about time we recognized the generalists who have the talents to harness these differences and drive businesses forward for the greater good.