“Tell me and I’ll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I’ll understand.” — Chinese Proverb
I’ve added a new feature to Sources of Insight. It’s “How Tos.” On my menu bar, you’ll see a link that says “How Tos.” It’s a direct link to my new How Tos page.
As the name implies, “How Tos” show you “How To” get something done. They are step-by-step articles that help you accomplish a task. They are actually a very powerful way to share and scale expertise. They are one of the fastest ways I know how to share know-how. At Microsoft, I’ve used “How Tos” for years to help developers grow their skills and learn new areas very quickly.
Turning Insight into Action
The true value of content is both the value of the problem solved, as well as the impact on the user. The real beauty of a “How To” is that it’s not content that you read … it’s content that you “do.” I think of it as executable content. It’s probably the single-best way that I know how to turn insight into action.
One of my favorite things to do is to turn some of the great books of the world, into actionable insights. I mentor a lot of people inside and outside Microsoft, and one of the things I do is point people to exactly the books they need to help them for whatever problem they are in. (I have an extensive library and go through many books on a regular basis … here are my evolving book lists at a glance.) The challenge sometimes, is helping the people I mentor turn the books into actionable things they can do. I help them by creating step-by-step “How Tos” they can start with, to test ideas or techniques for their particular situation.
The How Tos Page
My How Tos page is a simple map of the “How Tos” that I have on Sources of Insight. The “How Tos” are organized by categories, and each “How To” article starts with “How To” in the title. I’ll be adding to my “How To” collection. I also went back and revamped some of my posts to make them more actionable. Here is a snapshot of my “How To” page:
Example How Tos
Here are some example of step-by-step How Tos:
- How To Use the PMI Technique to Improve Your Thinking
- How To Boost Self-Esteem
- How To Decide with Criteria and Weight
Take the How To page for a test drive and let me know what you think. One thing I can say is that it’s an incredible experience when you find a “How” To that maps to a problem you’re facing or a skill you want to learn, and the “How To” empowers you to take action and build a new skill.
As I said, I’ll be adding to my “How Tos” collection and your feedback will help me shape the path forward.