"did you get to be who you are. and if not, then why. that, my friend, is the big why." - Michael Winter

knowledge sharing is power


Why Share Knowledge

As markets shift from providing tangible goods to selling intangible products and ideas, knowledge sharing becomes a competitive advantage. Where do ideas that are for sale come from? A company that doesn’t know what they know (or what they don’t know) can’t find the new knowledge that is required for innovation. If that isn’t enough to worry about, counteractive knowledge leakage happens when someone leaves a team. This is hard to prevent when increasing turnover is an inevitable result of always needing new ideas. Some information may be retained, but knowledge often walks right out the door with an employee.

What Is It

Creating a culture of knowledge sharing means establishing an environment with an overall expectation of collaboration with others. It’s about engaging training to draw people out of their shell and changing old ways of thinking, and making it normal to share everything – this means both day-to-day information AND knowledge. If you can encourage people to share information and what they know, without fear or reservation, organizational knowledge will be more useful. After all, the overall purpose of knowledge sharing is not just to build knowledge, but to use it. The mission is to make your team more cohesive and help them advance together toward attainable, measurable objectives. It’s about doing things better together than you were doing them alone. Shared knowledge is useless if it is not producing results in the form of reaching goals.

How To Get One

What motivates teams to share knowledge? People are only going to participate if they believe it is in their own best interests. The old saying of “knowledge is power” is just that – old. Everyone who wants to be more effective at their job and progress in their careers should believe that “knowledge sharing is power”. Here are three reasons why:

1. Knowledge is perishable. Given enough time, someone else will probably think of the same idea you just did. New knowledge is only innovative for a certain time, and sharing an idea keeps it alive longer.

2. Sharing knowledge makes an idea better. Your idea is great, and dialogue will shape and improve that idea. Combining the knowledge of multiple people results in getting more out than each is putting in.

3. You need friends. Trying to work alone is impossible, and getting an idea off the ground requires input and support from other people. Being open and sharing helps brings the skills of everyone together to achieve their goals.

Start with the onboarding process and make training collaborative – software can help. Incentives and simple elements like gamification also encourage people to share. Knowledge sharing is about improving the overall way a team thinks and works together by sharing everything – even the little things. A small piece of knowledge that seems irrelevant or useless to one person could help another, saving training time and resources, and only strengthens the team and the overall product for the better.

Original article by Kristin Conrad on Tasytt Talk.

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© Kristin Lee Conrad