Transfer of Knowledge: Your Role


Whether or not you have kids, we all were one at some point in our lives.  We all learned to crawl-walk-run (literally and/or figuratively) throughout life.  Chances are along the way it involved watching another.  Learning from them probably involved accepting their assistance as well.  The point being, at some point in our lives we have lacked knowledge, craved it, and subsequently obtained it from someone else; sometimes in unlikely places as I discuss in my January 7th Featured Blogger post, another free read available here.

Eventually as we progress through life we become knowledge accumulators.  Others seek us for the transfer of knowledge, the guidance or mentorship – transferring the analogy above to co-workers and proverbial business-associated  “crawl-walk-runs.”  Unfortunately for many, that’s where the friendly parallel ends; for while we willingly share all the intimacies of literally learning to walk with our offspring, we collectively tend to restrict our sharing in the business environment.

I challenge you to bust the paradigm.

Share everything.  Regardless of industry and whatever proverbial widget processes you own or influence, share your knowledge with anyone relevant to the tasks of interest, or contention.  Reality check: unless you are a CEO or company owner, you are expendable, but even then many answer to a Board as did the founder and longtime face of Men’s Warehouse.  The point here is, what do you have to lose?

Possible personal “consequences” of your actions may include:

– Liberation from the stress of self-perceived necessities like empire protection. Too often, false sensations of job security accompany holding information from (or above) others.

– An increase of confidence in your abilities, both obtained and yet acquired. Talking about ourselves may be difficult, but its easier when the subject is what you do and not who you are.

– An increased appetite for more or advanced knowledge.  Due to the aforementioned liberation, you now have room for other activities, hopefully also positive or improvement oriented.

 Additionally, work center culture may see:action_conduit

– Appreciation by other stakeholders who now know your level of expertise.  “If there’s an issue at Section X, go see Ms. Smith, she really knows her stuff.”

– Increased productivity due to a shared increase of process understanding. This is also known as synergy or inter-departmental cooperation.

– Possible alleviation of inter-agency or inter-work center frictions. Combines above principles, precludes blame-game tactics some managers employ.

It is often said that life is a journey, not a destination.  Along those lines regarding knowledge, more specifically the transfer of knowledge:  Be a conduit, not a restriction.

Paul Grugin is part of the GovLoop Featured Blogger program, where we feature blog posts by government voices from all across the country (and world!). To see more Featured Blogger posts, click here.

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Rachel Niebeling

Great post Paul!

Sometimes I have caught myself getting caught up in “it’s faster if I just do it myself”… But you’re so right on this. Sharing the knowledge now will save time in the long run and help everyone! Thanks for the reminder!!!!