Every smart engineer has a short list of trusted experts in her back pocket—and so should you!
Research shows that it is through our social networks that technical knowledge is most often shared. So much of our knowledge is intuitive or tacit—the kind of knowledge that is difficult to transfer to another person by means of writing it down or verbalizing it. We must hear it, see it modeled and watch it being applied in front of us—to truly understand a new concept and use it.
Create your own short list by surrounding yourself with experts:
- Identify— three Subject Matter Experts (SME's) who are an authority in a particular area or topic, craft and/or industry. They have outstanding reputations, may own patents, be published authors and could be teachers or trainers that you know and respect.
- Network—introduce yourself to them and make a connection! Exchange resumes, backgrounds and war stories. Find out what colleagues you have in common. Establish a relationship with regular touchpoints—over coffee or on a call. Share relevant articles and information re: professional conferences. Develop trust over time, learn together and make a commitment to support one another—especially, to return calls in a crisis.
- Leverage —your shared knowledge when you get stuck at work or try to solve a new problem. Use your short list of experts. Have them be a sounding board for you. Ask questions and listen to their ideas and insights. Collaborate and create…until you breakthrough! Keep learning on-the-job—and work those knowledge connections!
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