Subject Matter Expert or
The last tip we offered had to do with how to work better with multiple subject matter experts. This tip has to do with distinguishing between subject matter experts and high performers.
High performers typically know only their own story and that story is based on how they personally came to be able to perform. They tend to think the way they do the job is the way everyone should learn to do the job.
A true SME knows the story from a broad perspective, knows specifically what people need to know to do their job and can help to provide structure to the knowledge needed.
Consider the difference between an outstanding basketball coach and that coach's best player. The player knows how they got there, the coach knows better how to help others get there. High performers can, over time, develop idiosyncratic ways of doing their work, just as a basketball player may develop certain idiosyncratic behaviors that do not necessarily contribute to good performance, and in fact, may be inappropriate.
What do you do if you only have high performers?
You will need to work with several of these high performers to first identify what contributes to good performance—perhaps by engaging them as a group in a job analysis and then gaining consensus upon the knowledge and skills necessary and sufficient to perform the job.
P.S. You can find out more about working with subject matter experts in the DSA workshop, The Instructional Developer Workshop.
Article © 2005 Darryl L. Sink & Associates, Inc.