I came across this Henry Adams quote few days ago and I instantly made a connection with collaborative technologies – occupational hazard I guess 🙂 – and it inspired me to name this blog post about the learning process after it.
There are many stages and ways of learning and the transition from academic education to employment makes the best case for what I’d like to point out with this blog post.
We’ve been rewarding schooling perpetually: go to college – here’s your diploma. Get your MBA – here’s your diploma. Take that class – here’s your diploma. There’s nothing wrong with learning the academic way – college helps, but is not a prerequisite for succeeding in real life. Often, people without a formal education develop better learning and adapting skills. Many schools, colleges or educational programs fail to deliver what they advertise. In contrast, many self-educated have learnt through trial and error processes and have a better understanding of the world and of the work environment.
While in college or in graduate school, you get a tremendous amount of recommended readings lists that consists of bulky documentations. While some find it difficult to cope with this information cluster, other developed a skill to sort things out. They find a way of deciding fast what’s important and what’s not in order to save time – and that’s a skill that will prove quite valuable and beneficial especially with your work as a professional.
Instead of reading hundreds of pages from dozens of manuals, you decide which parts make the best use of your time. Then, the smart choice is to talk to a friend who knows more on that field to answer your questions and fill in the missing blanks. And this is where the assimilation becomes less burdensome. Knowledge is so much easier to digest when you have someone around to ask for help.
It happens just the same when it comes to work. The big difference is that information is always updating and managing to absorb it is a critical ability. Employees who don’t catch on and don’t adapt quickly are left behind.
That’s why accessibility is a vital component of knowledge that should qualify it as a priority to every organization. But just making it accessible is not always enough – there’s a 3 steps process that will actually help your organization save time and resources: ACCESS – LEARN – APPLY. And collaboration can make that happen. Companies that make use of their tribal knowledge are the ones that succeed best at this learning process.
We talked a lot about the advantages of sharing knowledge internally with the help of dedicated software and the companies that adopted it could never imagine going back to shoulder-tapping communication and even less so to bury themselves in manuals and other unproductive instruments. Getting help from outside the company is no longer necessary – why do that when you can have your own, private StackOverflow?
Happy Knowledge Sharing!