The Importance of Sharing Knowledge
I recently had the privilege to be part of a panel representing leaders sharing with the graduating class at SMU. Our purpose was to pass on the wisdom and knowledge we, as business owners, learned during our career. As I looked at the class of thirty or more students, I was so inspired to see how prepared they were with relevant questions based on the research they had done in advance regarding our backgrounds and work we offer.
These soon to be college graduates will lead our companies, author books, raise our grandchildren and become powerful mentors to the next generation.
It is my belief that the purpose of education is to share our knowledge with others. A great teacher can impart a deep understanding of a subject to students effectively and with passion and hope, in turn, those young people will be inspired to teach others. The Victorian artist and critic, John Ruskin, wrote that "the moment we use our possessions to any good purpose ourselves, the instinct of communicating that use to others rises side by side with our power. If you can read a book rightly, you will want others to hear it; if you can enjoy a picture rightly, you will others to see it." It sounds so obvious, and we see it every day in every school in the country. Teachers, obviously, share every day, giving their students the benefit of their experience, insights, expertise and understanding; ideally, that that spreads outwards across the community, into other classrooms, homes, and across endless networks.
With that said, I wanted to share this Quandora post by Viviana Cherbel with you:
When you dream of conquering the world and you fill your agenda with daunting projects, it’s often necessary to equip yourself with a large mug of coffee and with the right people. Any successful project, be it big or small, has one thing at its core: effective collaboration, and you can achieve it with knowledge sharing.
“In our research on knowledge transfer, we have seen companies greatly disadvantaged, if not crippled, by knowledge loss. Certainly, some expert knowledge may be outdated or irrelevant by the time its possessors are eligible for retirement, but not the skills, know-how, and capabilities that underlie critical operations — both routine and innovative. Organizations cannot afford to lose these deep smarts” says Dorothy Leonard, the William J. Abernathy Professor of Business Administration Emerita at Harvard Business School.
Here are 10 benefits that you can get from sharing your knowledge:
1. It helps you grow
As Claudio Fernández-Aráoz put it, “The question is not whether your company’s employees and leaders have the right skills; it’s whether they have the potential to learn new ones”. Having a fixed set of skills is what makes you proficient in a specific area – but growth means continuous development. They say you could learn something from everybody in your life. Better make sure you actually do.
2. It helps you stay motivated
Getting exposed to different skills and know-how from your peers can help you want more from yourself, engaging everybody in a game plan of acquiring knowledge. We’re all achievers on the inside. Sharing knowledge practices pushes you to become better at what you do, while driving you at the same time to contribute with your own insights.
3. Getting top talent access
“If you’re the smartest person in the room, then you’re in the wrong room” the saying goes. Knowledge sharing helps you get feedback and help with your projects from those more skilled or with a different set of competences. You can always reach out to your peers – you’ll be amazed of what they can teach you in no time. Not to mention the access to upper management expertise!
So many recent studies underline the importance of recognition at work – it is one of the most powerful motivators and will highly contribute to both employee retention and engagement. Sharing your knowledge with others will give your talents more exposure, thus giving the people you interact with the opportunity to identify you as a valuable expert. Helping others can help you build your reputation. And that’s a valuable asset!
5. Generating new ideas
They say two heads think better than one. When different skills and experiences collide, eye-opening ideas and solutions emerge. The creative energy of brainstorming can generate faster and more relevant solutions to your current assignments, supporting you in successfully achieving your tasks.
6. Future leader’s discovery
Sharing knowledge can be a great tool for everyone to PR themselves. All you need to do is to be permanently connected to the hottest business topics and offer your expertise every time you can. When people are open to prove their value through their competence, it’s easier to notice the ones likely to organize people and to take initiative. The leaders of tomorrow are among those.
7. Limiting the skill gap
Your team is as strong as its weakest member. By sharing knowledge and talking about certain decisions and procedures, the new guys or juniors could easily acquire new sets of skills. Create an environment where everybody is encouraged to ask questions, and help professionals in all your locations and job positions stay updated with the latest information in their field.
8. Team cementing and silo breaking
When employees, teams and leaders share ideas and resources with each other, the feeling that they pursue a common goal becomes authentic. The feeling of being part of a functional and collaborative team boosts enthusiasm and empowers everyone to exchange knowledge, breaking down the silo mentality that affects both employee’s morale and ultimately reducing your business efficiency.
9. Sense of purpose
There’s a thin line between employees “sort of doing stuff” and those that have a sense of purpose. By creating an environment where people feel like their knowledge makes a difference, they will clearly see how their work fits in the bigger mission of the organization. Work without purpose is no work at all.
10. Operational efficiency
That’s perhaps the most important thing. Sharing knowledge increases the productivity of your team. You can work faster and smarter, as you get easier access to the internal resources and expertise within your organization. Projects don’t get delayed, people swimmingly get the information they need in order to do their jobs and your business fills the bill.
The “Knowledge is Power” adage is long dead as the new reality of the workforce has taught us that sharing knowledge is beneficial to everybody. Don’t delay, start capturing and communicating your organization’s deep smarts and…Happy knowledge sharing!
Thanks to Viviana and the team at Quandora for providing a place for teams to ask questions, learn and share knowledge.
Sherri Elliott-Yeary, the Generational Guru and best selling author of Ties to Tattoos, Turning Generational Differences into a Competitive Advantage, is a speaker, coach and trainer in the area of Human Resources and Talent Management. Sherri specializes in helping employers maximize their human capital by collaborating across the generational gap. Her expertise in human capital management and organization includes: workforce planning, company culture, training, assessments, HRIS implementation, regulatory compliance, strategic alignment, payroll, compensation and benefit programs. Learn more at generationalguru.com.