I once thought I was reassuring my employer’s one tech person when I told her, “I’m pretty savvy, so I installed my own printer driver updates. You can skip my computer.” To my surprise, she responded, “Okay this time, but please don’t let anybody know. Knowledge is power, and I need to make sure my department of one stays secure. Because not everything is that easy.”
This statement did not come from a crafty, manipulative person. She was a well-meaning and skilled individual who fell into the trap of hoarding resources.
She was right about one thing, though.
Knowledge is power. Not only that, but knowledge is powerful. Some organizational cultures tend to hold “the expert” in high esteem. In these cultures there is pressure to distinguish oneself. This isn’t all bad; people can grow by working hard in their niches. But, the culture can be even stronger if there’s a commitment to developing others.
There’s an old joke in the training and development business.
One reluctant decision-maker says, “What if we invest in developing our people and they leave?”
“Yes,” says the other decision-maker. “And what if we don’t develop them and they stay?”
Reputations can be built for organizations who develop a culture where leaders and individual contributors share and develop their people.
In her bestselling book Multipliers, Liz Wiseman explains how such practices create “The Cycle of Attraction.”
Most decent organizations hire great people with potential. But what happens next? In some organizations, Diminishers squander that potential in a “Cycle of Decline.” This cycle limits people’s potential. They lose confidence and energy as they recede into their “box.” Eventually, they become B players instead of A players. Or they leave the organization, which then starts to develop a reputation as a place to die.
But the Cycle of Attraction looks like this:
- The organization hires A Players.
- Leaders give them resources and freedom.
- They become A+ Players.
- Their work is recognized, inspiring others and bringing solid results.
- These players get more opportunities.
- Because of the increased opportunities, they stay at the organization and attract more A Players.
- The organization develops a reputation as a place to grow.
Knowledge is power and powerful. But only when it is shared.
For more, visit Liz Wiseman’s website.
Thanks for reading,
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