I had several thoughts come together today from a pile of different articles I read over the last month or so. It’s that serendipitous state where a concept seems to be everywhere once you’ve realised it’s a thing, and so I’ve been absorbing a lot of sound writing about knowledge management within organisations, and the use of internal social networks as a way to get things started.
Sharing knowledge and skills is a hot topic for us at work at the moment. We’re looking at ways of using the unofficial skills market that exists to support people getting things done. Initially this made me cranky … why do we always have to regiment something organic and effective and hang a lantern on it? But ok, I can see why we want to build a framework of some kind around this. I’ve always been the kind of person who would share what I know and expect others to do the same. Not everybody is as, er, what word should I use here … as pushy as me, true. And there are people who are too busy to offer if they’re not asked, and others who won’t ask because they fear they won’t be successful, so perhaps we do need to formalise it somehow.
And the more I think about that, the more I realise that this also brings in people you may not know, may not have contact with, and who have skills you couldn’t possibly have imagined would exist in the organisation you’re currently working for. I have to tell you, there’s a fascinating back story to almost everyone, even the colleagues you think you know really well, and although it may seem as though many of us were left on the doorstep of County Hall as infants and taken in to be raised by dusty civil servants in a basement, we have actually all come from very different places and picked up some weird stuff on the way.*
In what universe would you not want to share like this? Whether you want to show off, you’re itching to try something you just learned, or you’re just gosh-darn-it a nice person, I believe everyone would want to help if asked in the right way. Maybe for busy, polite, non-pushy people, this is the right way.
* I’m not kidding. Ask me about quantum wells. And I just discovered I have a colleague who knows how to make indigo dye, and another who can play the Jaws theme on the cello.