…you don’t understand it well enough. – Albert Einstein
I was reminded of this one last week when an employee asked me to explain how her flexible spending account balance might be impacted by a potential acquisition.
I spent a short while “explaining” the answer to her before the expression on her face told me I needed to try again. I tried to explain myself more simply – only to realize I didn’t have the words. A bit embarrassed, I asked her to give me a few minutes to do some more research; I promised to get back to her later in the day.
It turns out that the answer to her question was much simpler than I’d made it out to be: After following up with the benefits group and becoming more well versed on the potential outcomes, I was able to explain in a few seconds what I’d before been unable to explain in several minutes.
…When a topic is complex, it is very easy to stand behind the veil of official standing, using big words and bloviation to mask one’s own lack of understanding: The more difficult – but ultimately superior – approach when confronted with complexity and ambiguity is to settle in, seek to understand, and ultimately gain the level of subject matter expertise required to give an answer that provides real illumination.
Just a thought as we get started this week.
As always, please share your thoughts in the comments section below.