Friday, May 16, 2008

You don't know EVERYTHING about EVERYTHING

So let's be honest...we don't know everything about everything and we don't have to. What we do have a responsibility to do though, is be able to figure things out for our CEO. As our businesses grow and change and the competitive landscape changes dynamically on a day to day basis we need to have the ability to leverage the knowledge and experience of our peers and trusted advisors. Here is the model I follow when conqueringa new task:
  1. Identify the business issue - make sure you clearly understand and can articulate as intelligently as possible what is is that you are trying to accomplish so that people can assist you and you are not wasting their valuable time
  2. Research the issue and find someone who has done what you are trying to do - god bless google! Get on the net and research the issue as much as possible specifically looking for companies that have gone through what you are trying to do and have successfully come out the other end. Despite how you may feel at the time, most often you ARE trying to reinvent the wheel and you don't have to. Get a list of 3-5 people who have had success in your target area
  3. Reach out to your Network and solicit assistance getting in touch with the people on your target list - ok you're halfway there. You know who can help you all you need to do is find a way to get to them. Now hit your network through LinkedIn or Plaxo or phone or email or carrier pigeon or whatever you use (I will post later on Networking and some of my thoughts).
  4. Contact your subject matter expert - almost all people will be willing and happy to help but I should warn you that it is possible you will get shut down by one of your SME's. If you are just move on to the next one on your list. Make sure you have prepped your list of questions and info that you want to get and be organized so that you are in no way wasting your SME's time.
  5. Build a better mousetrap - Now take what you have learned and make it better! Just doing what has been done before will not accelerate your business. Now that you have a framework build it out, customize it and figure out how best to apply it in your business.
  6. Always, always circle back with your SME - call or visit in person (not email) to express your thanks and let them know what you did and what the results were. Tell them what you did the same and what you did different and why.
  7. You have now expanded your network, learned a new skill or process and impressed your boss.....yet again!


There is much more detail in all these points but hopefully you get the idea. What is on your plate today that you are struggling with??? Reach out, learn, expand your network and pay it forward!

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