March 30, 2009

Invaluable Resource

I have heard it said that if you want to be successful, you need to become invaluable to your organization. You need to know how things work in the organization, the culture that exists, and the processes that are in place. While it is true that knowledge is important, acquired knowledge should not be something that is locked away hidden only for selfish gain.

As you acquire knowledge, you must be willing to open up and share what you have learned with your team. In The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell makes the point that our families and organizations are naturally made up of pockets of knowledge. Each individual remembers certain things that are of value. As a result, the community becomes an intertwined repository of knowledge that is built on the framework of interdependence and interaction. Organizationally, we know more as a team and community than we do independently.

The goal then, should not be to become the single person who knows everything in the organization. Your goal, if you truly want to be invaluable, should include making full use of your strengths every day, directing your focus on building relationships, and working towards being the person who knows the individuals who possess the knowledge. Once you know who has the knowledge, encourage them to share that knowledge with everyone that they possibly can. Ultimately, your organization will be far more productive, efficient, and innovative.

As the saying goes, it isn't what you know that makes you successful, it's who you know.

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