But you – or others in your organization – might be hoarding knowledge.
The phrase “knowledge is power” is sometimes interpreted as, “If I keep all the knowledge to myself, I will have power.” This is the hoarder model. It’s based on the flawed assumption that knowledge is in short supply, and that if we “give it away” by sharing what we know, we lose something.
The statement “knowledge shared is knowledge multiplied” is a more helpful approach, recognizing the reality that knowledge isn’t a “thing” that, when we give it away, we no longer have. Instead, shared knowledge increases understanding and insight.
When knowledge flows within an organization, that sends a message of trust and confidence to all employees. This alone tends to motivate and energize everyone involved.
But the free flow of knowledge is far from just a motivational tool. In today’s dynamic environment, this free flow is crucial for leaders at all levels to make informed decisions, and for the organization as a whole to stay flexible and responsive.
Here are two ways you can help knowledge flow more freely.
- Focus on creativity instead of problem-solving. By creatively reframing an apparent problem (ex.: no one is buying our latest product!) into an actual opportunity (ex.: those who are buying are coming from an unexpected market segment; how do we leverage this?), you’ll discover ways to synthesize information into something new and exciting.
- Remember that everyone is an expert. Break down information silos, communicate across traditional boundaries, and open your team and your organization to collaboration, cooperation, and innovation.
Allowing knowledge to flow requires trust, which can be difficult in some organizations. But the rewards are worth the risk!
Recommended training resource: Based on Dr. Margaret Wheatley’s book of the same name, our Leadership and the New Science video program offers insights into what leading-edge scientific research in fields of chaos theory, quantum mechanics, natural sciences, and others, has to tell us about how we can be better managers of the information within our organization. The follow-up program Lessons from the New Workplace provides real-world examples to help you with practical implementation.