Think back to the last time you started a new job. Did you honestly walk in the first day and think “I can’t wait to share my knowledge”. I think my answer would really depend on the position I was hired for, but essentially, this is not the problem I am wanting to discuss in this post. The issue is that starting day one, in most organisations, the importance of knowledge sharing is hardly imprinted in that person, but yet when information starts piling up in people’s heads or in information silos, people typically fall back on the old “People need to share knowledge!” paradigm.
The theory behind knowledge sharing is not amazingly difficult to grasp, but yet it seems that most businesses today suffer from the side effects of not having it. There are so many things that can be responsible for this problem including lack of proper tooling or even as drastic as an environment where sharing knowledge means that you could be overshadowed by others. Despite this, isn’t it odd that knowledge sharing doesn’t just come natural to a business? Well…no, it isn’t odd.
This is because knowledge sharing has to come organically. It has to be transparent. This is why at CluedIn we believe in the idea of knowledge being “open” by default, where the thought of not sharing knowledge requires effort, not the other way around. Think on that point for a moment. Is the fact that knowledge sharing is hard is because sharing always requires one more step than not sharing? You always have to click that “Share” button, or forward that email. Wouldn’t it be interesting to work in an environment where this was not necessary and in fact to make sure that information was hidden behind closed doors required those extra steps?
Even if a system like this was not in place, why do we think it is instinct that knowledge is organically shared? Think back to being a child, you are taught not to eat with your mouth open, to say please and thank you, but when in life are you taught to share knowledge? Exactly! You are taught, when it is always too late. The knowledge sharing lesson comes in life when you realize that you are in a dire situation because knowledge is not shared. Well how about this, how about the next time you hire a new staff member, that you teach them how you knowledge share as an organization. After all, when most people start a new job, they are looking for direction, guidance and more. Not many people are ready to hit the ground running when they start a new job, so why not cherish this time and use it to teach that person how you knowledge share within your organization. I promise they will thank you for this.