The abyss of the internet has given the entire population the ability to become investigators. From satellite maps to how-to videos, circuit court search engines to color-coded wiring diagrams, the information sought after is just a few clicks away. Gone are the days of the dewey decimal system, best guesses, and assumptions. No longer is there an excuse for not knowing.
Go Go Gadget Google.
Recently, I have ventured back into the misery of fourth grade math. Long division was never my forte, and now I am tasked with not only remembering how to do it, but also to learn the “new” way to get the problem solved. The “how-to” was not sent home for parents to help. My nine year old likely does not have a future as an educator. However, a quick search – “How to do long division in 2022” – provided the answers I needed. Maybe it’s being an old dog that doesn’t like new tricks, maybe I’m stubborn, but I definitely prefer the 80’s way of math.
Whether your team members rely on web-based applications to decipher the next step, or your standard operating procedures are housed on your internal server, the knowledge is out there. They just need to know how to find it, and what to do with it once discovered.
What makes a good (knowledge) detective?
- Attention to detail: Sometimes what goes unsaid is more of a clue than what you can see and hear clearly. Read between the lines, dig deeper, and look at the provided information objectively.
- Initiative: Have the oomph to jump in, ask questions, dig for answers. No case, or math problem, was ever solved without the drive to get the right answers.
- Ask Good Questions: Some answers or situations are black and white. Most leave room for interpretation. Do not ask questions that lead the customer to give you the answer they think you want. Instead of, “Did you fill the transmission to spec?”, try “How many quarts of fluid did you use to fill the transmission?”
- Deductive Reasoning: Show your work. Take notes. Use what you know to be true to come to an educated conclusion.
- Persistence:The truth is worth the time spent finding it. Take an extra minute to ensure that the information you are receiving is legitimate and complete. Basing a resolution on half truths will only have your customers coming back – not in a good way. Repeat warranty work is a waste of everyone’s time. Get the complete picture to fix the issue the right way the first time.
- Using the Right Tool: Is the data you seek in a manual, on a video streaming site, in your co-workers memory bank? No one can know everything. It’s more important to know where to find the answer, than to have the 4L60E Seminar book memorized.
Possessing these skills is not enough. We must empower our people to put them to use through practical application. It is easier to take a situation at face value, however a sufficient and accurate resolution depends on a big picture evaluation. Simply because the vehicle won’t move, does not mean that the transmission is toast.
Go go Gadget wiring diagram.
How do we as leaders/trainors/knowers of tribal knowledge instill these qualities of a good investigator to our teams?
- Solutions Aren’t Free: Don’t hand out answers. Teach your people to use (or acquire) the skills above to present to you multiple resolutions to a presented problem. Be a guide, but resist enabling the easy way out. Growth stops when complacency to learning begins.
- Provide a Path: Teamwork and collaboration can be key to identifying a positive outcome. Don’t leave your team wandering in the dark trying to get back on track. Be available and be attentive. Sometimes a second set of eyes is all that’s needed for clarity.
- Accessibility to Resources: If you expect others to seek out information, make sure it is there, easy to find, and uncomplicated to use. A web program that you can’t log into, won’t be of much help. Resource books that are missing volumes will only tell a quarter of the story. Commit to providing the tools your people need to succeed.
While I am far from getting my PI (private investigator) license, I’ve been known to successfully find an ex’s new fling, sort out which wire was causing my tail light to short out, and even get an A+ in fourth grade math.
Go Go Gadget answer seeker.