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Einstein has been quoted saying “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough”. After decades of teaching students at university and training professionals in industry and military uniform, I would agree. In fact, so does well-known cognitive psychologist Daniel Willingham; “Most people who have taught agree that long-term contemplation of how to help others understand complicated ideas is a marvelous way to improve one’s own understanding of those ideas–certainly better than just reading them”. It seems then, at least from an anecdotal, social-proof perspective, we can agree on this truth.
However, Dr. Willingham does disagree with the National Training Laboratories Learning Pyramid, this article’s header image. He argues many things affect “memory retrieval”; things like the material recalled, the age of the learner, elapsed time between learning and testing, et cetera. I think he has a great point; rarely is anything about us or the way our minds work simple.
However, the header image and the truth do illustrate my point in this piece though: learning and understanding something well enough to teach it to others so they can do it and teach it means you know it.
Project Managers must do this with team members and stakeholders constantly; teach them project management. The SMEs help plan, define requirements, and supervise deliverable production, while stakeholders provide resources and decision-making, and organizations provide guidance and governance for any given project. However, they all have to collaborate in accordance with the project’s plan, the collective expectation set, the organization’s capabilities; i.e. the things the project managers is managing.
So do military leaders; daily. This is just one item in a lengthy list of characteristics that set military Veterans up for smashing success in meaningful, lucrative project management careers.
When you teach your team members and stakeholders the business of managing projects, it means you understand your practice deeply and they learn to do it better, which means you enhance the capabilities of all involved!
Plus you can get PDUs for doing it!
Remember what Einstein also said; “The only source of knowledge is experience”. Share yours today!
Eric is a decorated two-Service, two-Era US Military Veteran; Serial Founder; experienced, credentialed project manager and PMI Chapter-recognized mentor; and an entertaining instructor/public speaker on project management, deep learning and the military transition, PMI’s PMP® and CAPM® exams, Vetrepreneurship; and project manager development. He helps Military Veterans change their lives profoundly through project management, entrepreneurship, and AI through inspiration, translation, training, and placement. For more information, please visit https://vets2pm.com, www.militaryvetstone.com, and www.linkedin.com/in/docwright.
PMBOK® Guide, PMP®, and CAPM® are registered marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc.