Rethinking the generalist versus specialist: a different value proposition for today’s different business climate

An age-old debate has raged about whether you seek a consultant with an answer to a particular problem or prefer someone who can help you better navigate a particular direction. There is no right or wrong answer here. Each need is quite different.

Specialists and generalists do share a common trait; each performs a bit of thinking and a bit of doing to what’s required of them. 

Specialists are individuals who have honed a deep set of hard skills in a particular field of expertise. These skills are unique to performing certain job functions and can be acquired from formal education or from work environments. Specialists know these hard skills backwards and forwards; they have become acquainted with nearly every possible scenario in performing those functions. As a result, they are considered reliable because they help solve problems for people in that line of work.  

The world is awash with business consultants. Industry numbers continue to grow and show no signs of slowing. Add to this, traditional consulting models are under renewed and intense pressure to achieve promised value like never before. Can the humble role of the independent consultant offer relief for starved businesses in search of qualitative delivery?  And on a related note, why is it that so many businesses who use consultants continue to feel like they didn’t receive the value they were after? 

This whitepaper examines these questions and more.  It's time to rethink the brief or narrative in terms of what 'type' of consultant will your business benefit most from.  

This distinguishing difference, based on an opposing set of individual characteristics, is key to rethinking the value proposition to clients. Businesses that address this will discover a new wealth of untapped knowledge and expertise that until recently, has largely remained hidden from their view.


The views expressed in this whitepaper or resource are those of the author and do not represent the views of the Expert360 organisation, any employers, or any other entity that is affiliated with the author.  Assumptions made in the analysis are not reflective of the position of any entity other than the author's own views.

Paul Galland

Paul’s skills lie in the intersection between business and technology value; between digital transformation versus digitisation or process efficiencies. He works with Heads of, C Suite and boards to drive strategy to fruition. Passionate about delivering business outcomes and a business silo buster by trade, he brings rationalised, coherent approaches embraced by not only leaders and boards but by everyone within the organisation.