I’ve been pondering over KM as related to the organizational culture once again... Knowledge Management is only for people and organizations that think long-term and are non self-centered (couldn’t think of a better term!). It’s only for people who look beyond the obvious. There is an inherent happiness in sharing knowledge which extremely self-centered/insecure/’once bitten twice shy’ people find it difficult to see. Knowledge sharing is actually a process of learning – one involving the consolidation of thoughts. If the person learning from one is a novice, the questions that one faces are sufficient to add to one’s knowledge and also to revisit the fundamentals. If the person listening to one is an expert, then the challenges that she poses are once again sufficient for one to keep learning and discovering newer things.
But one still has to be alert. We ought not to give knowledge away to people (read blood-sucking parasites) that don’t deserve it, people whose purpose is to simply get it out of you and make their way up by stepping on your corpse. (How certain people live so happily in such a crematorium beats me) For which we need to also be a good judge of character and objective. Well, the spiritualist in me reminds me about being kind to one’s enemies as well, but in today’s cut-throat/dog-eat-dog world, it doesn’t seem to make sense to knowingly walk into a trap. Needless to say, the organization will have to follow its KM policies in word and spirit. Lack of reinforcement and recognition of the person who shared his knowledge can be a disaster. If the organizational policies and systems let people who’ve taken advantage of knowledge sharing practices to build corner offices for themselves thrive, there is no way in which KM will be a success in the organization. KM is only for organizations where people give credit to the mentors and build teams rather than pursue selfish-objectives. If the manager wants a great team rather than a ‘team’ of individuals good at only their own things, she needs to reward team-players and not individuals who’ve either built their empires on corpses or those who’ve built their empires without a care for the higher purpose.