Addressing Cultural Issues

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“Go the distance alone” – competitiveness is one of the biggest challenges to a Knowledge sharing culture. Unless you’ve been raised by Marxists, chances are competing with your classmates and colleagues has become a full time job for you. Schools and colleges stress individuality and competition, not collaboration and sharing, and so does the corporate world.

Knowledge Management is based on the foundation of selflessly sharing information. Now as naive as that sounds, it does work. There are certain challenges that need to be overcome however, that goes without saying. The biggest of these, as you probably guessed, is getting employees to part with their knowledge and share it with their peers.

The question i’m always asked when i propose this is ” Why should i share what makes me unique and valuable to the organization?”. A very serious concern that needs to be addressed. Unless the senior management changes their outlook on what makes an employee valuable, the culture of knowledge hoarding will continue to thrive.

So what makes an employee valuable, really valuable, to an organization? Well, if he manages to teach his colleagues to replicate this methods for success. Unlike most other initiatives Knowledge Management isn’t something that can be driven using a carrot and stick approach. Threatening or forcing KM down your employees throats would be the most counter productive move you could ever make. This will virtually guarantee that any future KM endeavors are regarded with scorn and dread.

While rewards are a direct means of getting a KM initiative off the ground, recognition and benefit are the actual factors that sustain KM in the long run.

What can you as managers and leaders do to facilitate a knowledge sharing culture in your organizations? Simple though it sounds, the best way is to recognize knowledge sharing and reward it.

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