Encouraging people in organisations to share their skills, knowledge and experiences with others, and to build on the skills, knowledge and experiences shared by others, is a core aspect of knowledge management activity. Trust is a key factor/enabler in helping to create an environment and culture where this happens automatically. This point was highlighted by David Gurteen in a Tweet earlier today in which he quoted Karl-Erik Svieby who said that “trust is the bandwidth of communication” – http://www.gurteen.com/gurteen/gurteen.nsf/id/X0000530E/?open=&utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter
Relying on the skills, knowledge and experiences of others – for example via a lesson learnt; an example of good practice; or advice given in a Peer Assist – depends to some extent of how much we trust the individuals/authors concerned. And as trust can be attributed to relationships, to what extent should we rely on the skills, knowledge and experiences of those with whom we have no relationship?
For example, when reading or reviewing an example of good practice prepared by an individual or team with which we have little knowledge, and no relationship, we might be encouraged by the ideas shared as we can see and believe them to be true. They fit in with our mindset, seem logical, and perhaps support our suspicions or match with our own views. Alternatively, we may not fully trust the ideas because our intuition (or gut) tells us either that this cannot be ‘true’ or that the ideas won’t work (an emotional response) in our situation.
What might be common sense and intuitive for one individual, might be counter-intuitive for another. And this has implications for knowledge managers keen to encourage people in their organisations to share skills, knowledge and experience with colleagues.
The concept and ideas surrounding what it is/means/feels like to be counter-intuitive have been explored recently in a number of programmes and articles. The following might be of interest if you want to know more.
- BBC TV programme Bang Goes the Theory, and a recent edition that showed that the flow of crowds (at events, football games and the forthcoming Olympics) could be improved by strategically placing small barriers close to exits – http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00lwxj1
- A blog post by Gary Colet of the Knowledge and Innovation Network (KIN) titled ‘The big launch – a counter intuitive view’ – http://www.ki-network.org/jm/kblog
- The Monty Hall problem explained and illustrated in http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monty_Hall_problem is an example of a puzzle where the result appears to be odd (counter to our intuition) but demonstrable true.