E L S U A ~ A KM Blog by Luis Suarez

From the blog

The Sharing Experiment and The Kid Inside You

PragueIf you would remember, a few months back, I put together this blog post on “Why Do I Share My Knowledge?“, where I reflected on the main reasons as to why I’m so keen myself on sharing my knowledge across out there openly and in a more or less transparent manner. I guess that’s what Open Business is all about. Whether for Learning, Helping Others, or Leaving a Legacy Behind. The interesting thing though is that perhaps the main reason why I have been sharing more of my knowledge over the course of the years, is because, deep inside, I am still a child. We all are, after all. It’s just that for a good number of decades we may have neglected our childish nature of sharing for the sake of sharing. And that’s perhaps what has gotten us into trouble in the first place. Again, when was the last time that you behave like a kid when shared something?

I know it may all sound a bit too cryptic and eclectic when talking about those references around childhood, but I just couldn’t help thinking about dropping by over here today to share what’s perhaps one of the most inspiring video clips you will be watching this year and I would strongly encourage everyone to go out there and spend nearly two minutes to go through it to see what I mean.

As you may recall I’m currently on the road, in Prague, to be more precise, on the last leg of this business trip, having a wonderful time visiting the city and doing plenty of good work around Social / Open Business and “A World Without eMail“. Yet, in between here and there I am still having a bit of time to catch up with what’s happening in my various different social networks, and then serendipity does its magic, once again, and hits me badly! In a wonderful way…

Lately, my good friend Chris Brogan, has been doing some phenomenal sharing of great, relevant and insightful content over at Google Plus on how these digital tools are helping transform not only our businesses, but also our personal lives. One of those posts though is special, actually, rather special. It contains a link to that short YouTube video clip that I mentioned above and that I’m sure it’s going to give you shivers through your spine as you get to watch it. Why? Well, essentially, because it will remind you of what we were like when we were kids… And why a good number of us are still kids today. Instead of me telling you what I mean with all of that, I am going to stop here for a minute and encourage you all to watch the video and judge for yourselves…

Whoah! There you have it! Right there! What do you say to that? I bet very few comments can be added other than acknowledging that perhaps we have gone all the way wrong in our perceptions and expectations around the whole concept of Sharing. That Sharing Experiment is a whole proof we can do better at the workplace when sharing our knowledge across. And I know what you may be thinking … Those kids are already a bit too old and they probably have been taught, and educated, by their parents what sharing is all about without asking anything in return. And probably you are right!

But then again, where does that live us, adult knowledge workers, in terms, specially, of how we collaborate and share our knowledge in the workplace? Where did we go wrong with our childhood education and learning, or even our very own human nature as kids, where we seemed to have acquired the right skills yet, when entering the corporate world, we looked like we have left that behind and instead keep protecting and hoarding our knowledge, fighting with one another, still strongly believing that “Knowledge is power“.

Really? Well, I hope not! Look at what this bunch of kids are showing us above, on the video clip. Essentially, that human beings are social animals who share unconditionally with fellow humans what we know, what we treasure, what we are truly passionate about, what we care for, i.e. the well being of fellow humans, without asking for anything in return…

Thus as I keep reflecting on everything that I have learned on this long business trip, attending and presenting at multiple conference events, talking and interacting with customers, and learning from other thought leaders, and that I will be blogging about it shortly as well, I know, for sure, that for me to succeed in the large corporate environment there is a single thing that I would need to keep getting very good at, and which it looks a lot easier than what most people may well think about: Let the child inside me come out and show the way on what sharing is all about… 

I am hoping that you would do the very same thing. After all, there is nothing to lose, but a lot to win altogether, don’t you think?

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  1. I love it! The message is clear. My question to you is how foster this within an organization? This seems like a massive cultural change is required to facilitate this sort of sharing. It can be done in companies big and small, but diligence and persistence are key to success. Thanks for the post!

    1. Hi Fred, thanks a lot for dropping by and for the feedback comments! Yes, indeed, we would need a massive cultural change to take place, but not just within knowledge workers, but mostly within companies and organisations. As a starting point we need to start getting rid of that notion of governing and managing by fear, which seems to be a killer in terms of helping employees move on forward with their own personal development as individuals. Fear is placing so many constraints on what we share and learn from that it eventually turns almost everything off!

      Secondly, I would want, once and for all, organisations, whether small, medium or large businesses to stop with that silliness of divide and conquer, essentially, that provocation of getting employees to compete with one another, using gamification elements like bonuses, promotions, etc. etc. which are essentially forcing people to compete with one another to stay on top, while stabbing each other, instead of helping one another, caring for one another, sharing with one another.

      The day we start doing both of the above, we would truly be moving along into that Economy of Sharing. Till then, we will have to keep pushing for it to happen eventually sooner rather than later 🙂

  2. What you say is very true about the loss of innocence, However, it is your last sentence that is the telling one. Adults, with mortgages, and reputations, and mouths to feed, feel they have a lot to lose if they take the wrong step. Innocence and playing with abandon are great for innovation, so it is imperative that we find the way to assist the adult thinker in reclaiming that part of themselves. You are a great scout, can you also be the guide? – Lorian

    1. Hi Lorian, thanks a lot for dropping by and for the great feedback comments! I think that’s what it is all about. I can imagine how plenty of employees would think they would need to protect and secure their “positions” in life to pay for their mortgages, look after their reputation, feed their families and what not, but I am sure the same can be done without eventually hoarding and protecting your knowledge. Rather the opposite. I guess what we are aiming at is that ability to rethink and repurpose how we work to aim at perhaps the same goals you mention above, but with a different mentality. One where we don’t compete with one another, but help and care for one another. Something that in a business context hardly ever happens in fear that people may go ahead of you and claim those “benefits”. Well, guess what? You can take a much faster pace doing all the same by showing and demonstrating your subject matter expertise and skills without having to worry to much about losing your credibility, merit or reputation. All the other way around.

      I guess it’s about how we would all want to refind our focus on a new meaning and purpose to help us become more effective at what we do, but at the same time without neglecting our basic human nature of sharing.

      And that’s where the challenge lies and what we would still need to progress further along with …

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