I have great news to share. Knowledge is not dead! I asked Google. It said it is close to dead. In Thomas Davenport’s 2015 article, Whatever Happened to Knowledge Management, he commented that Google might be the one to blame. I do not want to admit how many times today alone, I Googled something. Why spend time thinking when you can have the answer at your fingers tips? A colleague recently passed along a YouTube clip, Simon Sinek on Millennials in the Workplace. Well worth the watch and perhaps I say that because I agreed with so much of what Sinek says. Nonetheless, technology has made information readily more available in an instant. Is having information knowledge? Do we retain the information if we don’t have to work at getting it?
Weinberger (2011) stated that knowledge is made up of our belief in what we think is true. The issues many of us face today is that there are very few people editing what is on the internet for example. How do we assist those that we lead in managing what which information is true and what is inaccurate so that the knowledge being built is the right knowledge; knowledge that can benefit the collective good? Weinberger and Nancy Dixon both echoed the sentiment for the need for diversity in those bringing knowledge to the conversation. As Weinberger pointed out, we often like the thought of diversity until the diversity brings different points of view. I fully agree with Weinberger’s comment that we need to have enough in common that those with opposing views will hear one another. The challenge is finding the right mix.
As I continue to grow in my professional role, I find myself less interested in personally solving a problem and more interested in leading others to work together to solve a problem. Harold Jarche (2010) commented that we need to do away with traditional management and teach people how to fish for themselves. If I had to give my team a dollar for every time, I made that comment. We need to help our employees to think for themselves, to utilize social media and other technologies to build a network of people that will challenge them to think and work together to solve something instead of looking for the quickest answer. Jarche also stated that knowledge workers need to connect with others in order to solve problems as a group.
Davenport reminded us that some people don’t want additional knowledge and some people don’t want to share it. As leaders in today’s world, we have an obligation to either change the culture or change the people. There is not a lot of room for either of these types of people in a successful organization. We need to surround ourselves and our employees in diverse networks. Weinberger commented, “networks can make us smarter if we want to be smarter” (2011).