According to Harvard Business School professor, Dorothy Leonard, companies that fail to transfer essential skills, specialized capabilities, and general “know-how” of critical business operations suffer knowledge loss that can be crippling. Leonard refers to this knowledge — whether routine or innovative — as the “deep smarts an organization cannot afford to lose.” All too often, however, it does get lost through the natural course of workforce transitions.
How can we make sure this doesn’t happen on our watch? By sharing, of course. The old adage that “knowledge is power” has given way to a belief in business today that knowledge is for everyone. And just like we learned in kindergarten with crayons and snacks, Viviana Cherbel reminds us why sharing continues to matter throughout our lives and careers. Listen closely, class.
1. It helps you grow.
A fixed set of skills makes you proficient in a specific area, but growth requires continuous development. As Claudio Fernández-Aráoz put it, “The question is not whether you have the right skills; it’s whether you have the potential to learn new ones.”
2. It keeps you motivated.
Knowledge-sharing practices push you to become better at what you do and to contribute more of what you know. All insights are valuable and we’re all achievers on the inside.
3. It allows access to top talent.
Knowledge sharing provides input from those more skilled or with a different set of competencies. It’s amazing what we learn by reaching out to peers or accessing the expertise of leaders. As the saying goes, “If you’re the smartest person in the room, then you’re in the wrong room.”
4. It brings recognition.
Recognition is a powerful motivator and contributor to employee engagement and retention. Sharing knowledge provides interaction that helps identify expertise. By helping others, you build your own credibility.
5. It generates new ideas.
When different skills and experiences collide, new ideas and solutions emerge. Whether it’s capturing tribal knowledge or brainswarming, the creative energy of putting heads together generates faster and more relevant solutions.
6. It identifies future leaders.
Tomorrow’s leaders are discovered as they exhibit initiative and expertise. By connecting to the hot topics of the business, they’re able to prove their competence and be identified for new opportunities.
7. It closes the skill gap.
For the new hires, sharing knowledge makes new skills sets easier to acquire. Creating an environment where everybody is encouraged to ask questions helps keep everyone updated with the latest information in the field.
8. It cements teams and breaks silos.
When employees and leaders share ideas and resources, the pursuit of a common goal becomes authentic and collaborative. The sense of teamwork boosts enthusiasm and empowers everyone while breaking down the silo mentality that erodes both morale and efficiency.
9. It provides a sense of purpose.
By creating an environment where everyone’s knowledge is valued, it clear to see how each person contributes to the bigger mission of the organization. Work without purpose is no work at all. It’s just “doing stuff.”
10. It increases operational efficiency.
Sharing knowledge increases productivity. Accessing “deep smarts” from those who have been around a while helps an organization work faster and smarter. It keeps people in the loop and vital communication flowing.
And there you have it…today’s easy-to-read lesson on the benefits of sharing knowledge. Now, you may want to consider taking a little recess to get up and move around, maybe spend some time with peers and leaders who “know stuff.” And while you’re at it, think back to kindergarten. Remember the fun you had learning to share and play well with others. Rediscover the value of both throughout life.
And, don’t forget that we’re never too old to learn new things, to share what we know more generously, and to keep growing in our desire to BE KNOWLEDGEABLE.