Time Matters

Wednesday, September 2 2015

Knowledge is power – or is it?

Knowledge alone has no power unless it is put to good use. So why are people so reluctant to share ideas?

Many years ago I received a great piece of advice about sharing knowledge and ideas: If you truly own your idea, understand it, and are passionate about it, it can never be stolen. You still own it and can use it at will. The best thing we can do is to share the knowledge we have and allow that knowledge to help others.

I know there have been a couple of times in my life when I have not followed that advice and have chosen not to be open and share; to go into scarcity mode versus abundancy mode. Both times it has come back to bite me. They were not good experiences.

The key to the power of knowledge is how and, more importantly, when you use it. Share it with your team, be transparent. Share it with your peers, so they can also grow. You can even share with your competition. It is worth repeating: how you use the information and most importantly whenmakes the difference. If you hold on to things too long or don’t empower your team to act in time, you may lose out on a great potential initiative.

Bill Gross, founder of Idealab, studied what makes start-up businesses successful.  What he discovered was that it is not the idea that was the key driver to success, it was timing (42%). In fact, the idea took third place (28%), behind the team (32%). What this tells me is that if the result of not sharing information is that you miss the ideal time slot and fail to engage your team, it will hurt you in the long run.

Ask yourself at the end of each day – what information did I get today or what ideas did I think about that should have been shared with other members of my team, the organization or a client? Then make sure sharing happens. Consider how annoying it can be when someone does not share with you in a timely manner.

Sharing information and ideas builds strong relationships and demonstrates high trust.  It will generate opportunities that benefit all.

Knowledge only contains power when put to good use in a timely manner.