What is Expertship?
Summary: Expertship is what technical subject matter experts do every day, but until recently it hasn't had a name. Now it does. And for most SMEs, it is a revelation that they can aspire to an even higher level of Expertship, provided the right tools.
Written by Alistair Gordon 25 Jul 2022

Expertship is for subject matter experts (or SMEs)

Expertship is for technical experts whose ideas have the potential to transform the organization.

Expertship is a relatively new word aligned with but quite different to leadership. Leadership is defined as the action of leading a group of people or an organization. Expertship is defined as the insightful application of expertise leading to optimal outcomes (Gordon & Johnson, Master Expert, Expertunity Press 2021).

Expertship is what technical experts, or subject matter experts do. It describes what tech, financial, engineering, scientific, legal, actuarial, manufacturing and other experts – the unsung heroes - do to keep the lights on in any organization, and very often innovative ways to do so more effectively. Top experts master the nine capabilities of Expertship (see graphic above).

Effective and transformational growth for subject matter experts

Expertship is also a new way to approach the concept of potential in many organizations. Talent pools have typically been restricted to focusing on those who have the potential to lead others - people managers. The focus is on leadership potential.

Expertship, on the other hand, suggests that talent has to do with the extent to which an individual contributor can add new value to an organization - through deployment of their outstanding technical skills, experience, and knowledge.


We encourage technical subject matter experts to embrace the active growth of their own Expertship skills in order to:

  • Help colleagues understand to a greater extent what they do and why it is important.

  • Build their influencing and communication skills so that they are able to have more impact and create more value.

  • Hone their stakeholder engagement skills so that they enjoy more win-win stakeholder relationships.

  • Level-up their consulting skills so that instead of just taking the order, they are re-imagining what great could look like for their customers and stakeholders.

  • Elevate their knowledge of their organization and the context in which it operates, in order to be able to deliver break-through value.

  • Develop advanced skills in championing and advocating change and transformation in their organization.

Developing these enterprise skills means that, when combined with technical excellence, experts have have a hugely positive and elevated impact on their organizations, will be invited to be involved in more complex and interesting projects, and gain a significant increase in carrying out fulfilling work. The payoff for investing in building Expertship is worth it.

For a more detailed explorations, read What are the benefits for experts?

Three quick and ways to start elevating your Expertship skills would be to:


We encourage organizations to deploy Expertship as a concept because it enables that organization to:

  • Shape a coherent career plan for high-potential technical staff and other experts with no interest in people management.

  • Maintain motivation and engagement for very bright experts trapped in a cycle of high workloads, repetitive problem solving, and little thanks.

  • Reduce ‘single point of failure’ risk, where an overloaded expert becomes the only person who can solve a problem.

  • Plan for the meaningful succession of subject matter experts.

  • Reduce the danger of flight risk of overworked, unappreciated, or unchallenged experts.

  • Ensure expert innovation achieves its full business potential.

Highly effective Professional Development for Subject Matter Experts

Expertship programs are a transformative new approach to the development of tech, financial, engineering, scientific, legal, actuarial, manufacturing and other experts. With unique content for SMEs designed by experts for experts, Expertship programs enable organizations to give their technical stars the opportunity to fulfil their potential, and add enormous additional value to their organizations.

These programs are not about increasing technical skills - most experts manage that on their own. This is about building the enterprise skills that experts need, enabling them to create the value and impact they have the potential and aspiration to, using advanced influencing and collaboration skills.

Expertunity are leaders in providing Expertship programs for technical and subject matter experts and managers of subject matter experts globally.

Expertship initiatives provide critical support and development to high-value technical experts that your organization needs to retain and grow. And get more value from.

Experts respond with passion to the investment. See what experts love about Expertship.

Download Mastering Expertship prospectus