This is a valuable piece which does a good general job of laying out explicit strategies for something I didn’t think could be explained well – what to do when you have to get command of a new and complex subject really quickly.
This has been a struggle for me as a manager because I haven’t been able to reverse engineer my own ability to (usually) hack together a decent understanding of most subjects through self-learning fairly quickly. I can read fairly quickly and if I jump in at the deep end and it eventually starts to make sense.
The advice below is therefore especially helpful because it forms a strategy to respond to the questions and resulting resistance that I hear a lot: I can’t do this because I don’t know the file like the expert and I would have to know the file inside out to be able to give advice. In fact, most people are capable of getting a working understanding of a file in a limited period. Yes there will be gaps and you can admit those but this piece should shine the light on the ability to get a credible start.
The whole article is worth a read but the gist:
- Do an initial google search and then stop researching before you fall down a rabbit hole. Now is the time to map out the extent of your understanding of the topic through borrowing visuals from others or making your own;
- Then talk to people close to the topic who may be outside your sphere and (may not your first stop as subject matter experts); and then
- Write out an description of your topic that would allow you to teach about it to a truly outside audience.