Being a Knowledge Manager for a few years in an IT environment, got me working with different kinds of technology-open source as well as the state of the art kind of technology. Moreover, being in an IT environment taught me how besotted and clouded one can become – thinking that technology can drive and solve all Knowledge Management problems.
The only thing I realized that can drive and sustain (not solve) Knowledge Management in any organization, was people! If people had it in them to share, to question, to discuss, technology can only help drive it, but not motivate the way knowledge is too be managed, especially in a large organization. Given most companies with a strength of 1000+ are hierarchically based, there are limitations – after all such companies are driven by profits at the end of the day. Moreover, motivation using the stick and carrot for employees to go beyond their “working schedule” and deliver not only work but also their expertise, formulate problems, share what they read, does not really turn the “culture” of a company. Nor should a company expect results within 2-3 years! Culture is not a magical formula!
Building the culture of an organization/company, is not the sole “duty” of the Knowledge Manager. This role is just a facilitator’s profile. The support should come from all units that go towards making the organization run- from the CEO, HR, CTO, Business Development, Product Development, Process Department, Administration, etc- every single department is as responsible as the KM manager to facilitate the pure and simple art of sharing!
Yes, today Sharing is an art that needs to be learned. It can be learned by imitation, if not already inherent. (However on googling just, The Art of Sharing, the only link that sent an impulse to click was The Art of Sharing on Facebook!) Another “interesting” link was to teach kids the art of Sharing! But on googling Knowledge Management and Sharing, I got an even longer list, and one that got to the point was the 3Cs of KM – Culture, Co-opetition and Commitment. But given a changing environment in an organization, sustaining all the above is not as easy as it is written about. Hence, Commitment is the most essential of all ingredients, for a long lasting evolution of organizational culture- given that culture is never static (only heritage is) and keeps evolving and changing.
Knowledge Management, a buzz word, is pure and simple – getting people to discuss the problems without having ego issues, and those who know the answers or probable solutions to share without feeling all that important! Simple, but not so in the competitive world that we live in- where knowledge is power! Now we just turn around and say, ” if you share knowledge you get popular, and that earns you brownie points!” Why can’t we teach our children the joy of sharing for its pure unadulterated pleasure that it can give oneself! In selfishness (to feel the pleasure), there is sharing and pleasure without external gratification. Try it!
Humans shared the idea of the wheel, of course those who had it first were able to survive over their counterparts. Today, Ideas via technology go viral within a few seconds! And in a way Technology has helped humans share much more than ever before. But then why doesn’t this work in a work environment? Facebook works because we share our personal lives. But may not always work inside an organization, as its being watched by eyes other than people we know? or could it be that work thoughts are not meant to be shared? Do we live to work or do we work to live? Once that dilemma is solved, sharing in an organization will be as easy as sharing a sandwich (even that sometimes is seen as suspicious when traveling in unknown terrain for fear of being robbed).
Changing Times sure calls for interesting solutions to solve the simple art of sharing. Do you have a simple solution that doesn’t involve the carrot and stick for an individual to learn the Art of Sharing?