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March 4, 2012 / compassioninpolitics

What is the best way to learn new skills quickly?

As a devote of learning how to learn and constant improvement of my own skills, I suggest the following 7 strategies:

1. Trial and error. Change the source. Record results mentally or in a journal. Kaizen improvement. Decide what data points and feedback are most appropriate for your learning journey.

2. Keep trying. Keep putting yourself out. Keep reflecting on the ideas and how you learn.

3. Mentorship from true wise people and experts. Also, consider using a coach or someone else to help you reflect. When possible, learn from the best.

4. Focusing on 80/20 levers. Focus on a) models & metaphors b) application. The later will help you create a feedback loop on the knowledge’s validity. You still should fill in the gaps with more technical knowledge.

5. Patters & Levers. Its very much about pattern recognition and identifying the levers for advantage (ie what drives the key performance indicators (KPIs) in a given area).

6. Mastermind/brain trust. This principle is pretty consistent throughout history. Its also echoed in the community of practice model (although my assumption is that community of practice is usually in industry advisors while a brain trust might include out of industry experts and thinkers as well).

7. Reflect. Keep asking questions, record the answers, synergize them, and test the answers you get.

Learn the lessons of Kolb (on experiential learning & reflection), deliberative practice, and communities of practice. I recommend a Google search of all 3.

Also, throughout, keep your eyes on the proverbial prize–stay focused and passionate about your desire to improve your skills, mindset, and thinking patterns.

* I seem to remember some other threads on Quora about picking up skills quickly or becoming an expert quickly that you might want to check out.

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