Do you collaborate as much as you should with colleagues at work? You may well think of yourself as a good, sharing type. Stop, though, and have a good think about it. Are you, really? This is far more important than perhaps you first realise. The truth is that we miss many opportunities to improve the way that we work and learn from one another every single day. Take these examples:-
- If we work on a project we learn from it, but do we instinctively share the knowledge we have with others?
- We talk to another person who has knowledge we could benefit from, but do we think about whether another colleague be gaining from it at the same time?
- We go to conferences and hear great speakers, but how good are we at passing on their knowledge beyond those already in the room?
- And even if we are fortunate to work and learn in highly collaborative teams, do our sharing instincts extend to those outside our own organisational tribe?
The truth is that we all “do” collaboration to a point, but we could all do it a lot better. In organisations, we work and learn in restrictive bubbles around ourselves or our immediate teams. Knowledge is clearly valuable for those inside the bubble – and it could be invaluable for others in the organisation. The alternative is something we all see every day – a wasteful duplication of effort in the course of building knowledge.
It doesn’t take much time at all to share knowledge yet many advocates of a more wholehearted approach to collaboration struggle to show its business value. Our comprehensive research with 10Eighty clearly shows the prize of a well thought-through approach in any business. Those who do this register significantly higher returns from their spend on training employees; an average 10% higher engagement scores; and at least 5% higher productivity gains in their organisation.
The way in which knowledge is shared is of vital competitive importance in today’s business environment. In future, it will define the successful from the also-rans.