In my experience, technology is barely the most common obstacle when it comes to the adoption of a knowledge sharing solution. Talking to a bunch of community/IT/communication managers and other collaboration responsible people, it looks like the cultural environment is the turning point.
Being open and thinking outside the box is a loved idea nowadays, but it may occasionally induce imaginary threats like “If I share my knowledge, what stops them to just lay me off?”
The cause of this professional insecurity symptom has its roots in the traditional model where hierarchies made employees feel less like an expertise resource and more like “just a number”.
On the other hand, collaboration happens for ages in every organization – it’s just that because it wasn’t systematized, it only happened in small, hidden circles. Everything we know is a combination of information gained in college studies and trainings, situations we personally ran into, supportive colleagues advices, friends, internet, leaders that showed availability, etc. – so all our knowledge is crowdsourced already. It’s just smarter and more functional to keep it organized and purposefully.
As a leader, it’s your job to reassure employees that collaboration is not a risk, but rather a tool to easier captivate knowledge and keep an active information flow for internal use. Sharing knowledge is a building trust process that every organization needs in order to keep their employees happy. And for a business environment with engaged employees, collaboration will happen naturally.
If you’re among the people that are afraid that sharing their knowledge will jeopardize their jobs, remember that showing your expertise can only consolidate your professional position. And most of all, keep in mind that knowledge IS NOT finite – it’s a resourceful organism that grows permanently. Having valuable employees is not something that you get rid of, but protect and support.
Collaboration is dialogue – it only takes one to start the conversation. Are you that one?
Happy Knowledge Sharing!