The world is constantly changing, and successful organizations adapt to new circumstances. The ability of organizations to adapt depends on their professionals being willing and able to learn new information quickly and well.
The ability to quickly master a new subject demonstrates your value to the long-term success of an organization. Demonstrate your ability to lead your organization through change. Here are five steps to help you quickly learn a new area at work:
1. Conduct your own research.
When you come upon a topic that is new to you, try to learn as much as you can on your own first. Search the internet for reputable articles or webinars that discuss the subject. Seek a thorough level of understanding on the issue.
2. Question the information you are learning.
With some basic knowledge, start asking yourself questions to fill in the knowledge gaps. If the area is new in general, ask yourself questions like, “Where is this theory being used?” “What is the driving purpose for the change?” “Is there a greater societal driver for the change?” “How does the process actually work?”
As you do your research, reflect on the information you read. This will help you to know what else to research.
3. Ask questions of your peers and colleagues within your team to understand how the information is applied.
Start learning information about the topic from your peers. Learn about how the issue directly affects the work that you do. Not every aspect of an area may be important to your work. You want to focus and dive deep into the aspect that matters most to your work.
4. Inquire with professionals on other teams at your organization to understand the broad impact.
To be a successful professional, you need to understand how the new area impacts your business, not just your team. Reach out to professionals in other departments to understand how it impacts the company as a whole. Even if you don’t need to master every aspect for your role, understanding the broad implications can help you understand the overall importance of why it matters to the whole organization.
5. Reach out to experts in the area to fine tune your knowledge.
With this foundational knowledge on the new subject, consider reaching out to the experts in the field. They may be professors that you read about in an article or listen to in a broadcast news clip. They may be industry leaders referenced by your colleagues.
Use the information you have learned to target the experts that you think can help you answer your most pressing questions to learn the nuances of the area.
Do your research, and analyze the information. Then reach out to people to further your knowledge on the subject. Grasping a new concept involves doing your own due diligence and engaging with others.