My last blog post was to get some advice for and from new 1102s, and the response have been great!
I ran a parallel discussion on LinkedIn, and the responses there have also ben very productive (need to be a member of the group to access the link)
Two that I especially like, as they are simple and very effective:
…Dan makes some excellent points, but the one I like especially is “Don’t go to your boss [I would add “or anyone else”] for an interpretation or decision if you haven’t read the material yourself and either formed an opinion or at least arrived at a set of alternates for the boss to review”–for two reasons. First, by attempting to work it out for yourself, but not proceeding until you’ve confirmed that your interpretation is accurate, you are demonstrating both initiative and good judgment. Second, even if you “get it wrong” <gasp>–the most horrible thing the could happen, in some eyes!–your boss or attorney or senior staff member will be able to point out where your reasoning faltered, and you will learn from the mistake. ***Don’t be afraid to be wrong***!!! Just don’t act on your impressions until you’re fairly certain that you’re right–and never, ever be afraid to ask for a second opinion. Senior staff will be far less annoyed with you for being over-cautious than they will if you bull ahead inappropriately, pretending that you know everything there is to know, and create some serious problem as a result. When in doubt: ASK. But as Dan suggests–first do as much research as you can yourself. Otherwise, the people you consult will think you’re just taking the easy way out, and trying to get them to do your work for you. That’s not what they hired you for!..
…Try to read one GAO protest decision per day. Helps you learn the vocabulary. Also, this is free…
I would add that not only should you read the decisions, but make it a point to read the decisions that get sustained by GAO. These are great case studies, and opportunities to learn from mistakes to improve your organizations performance.