brainA recent Harvard Business Review article said that experts resist sharing their “deep smarts” because they believe they no longer owe their organization anything. And the ones who do share only do so if they’re hired back as a consultant with double pay. I challenge this idea based on my own experiences. We have worked with top performers, the true experts in their organizations, for over 15 years and they have always been more than willing to share their deep smarts without financial incentives. The premise of this post is a very traditional and out-of-date model of knowledge sharing and it highlights the failure of corporate leadership. As a rule of thumb, if the organization is resorting to financial and training solutions then it already has a seriously dysfunctional culture in which selfishness is the norm and any form of knowledge sharing is suppressed. By using the latest advances in neuroscience, it is possible to create what we call a “culture of greatness” in which everyone strives to achieve a greater social good. In a true culture of greatness the unwillingness to pass on knowledge is extremely rare. We have found that top performing retirees are more than willing to share their expert knowledge or wisdom. Here are some easy steps for developing a culture of greatness. First of all define a collective “purpose” about achieving a greater social good. It should not be some bland, cliché corporate mission statement. It needs to be a powerful statement about a meaningful contribution to society. Next, identify your top performers and ask them to discuss their higher purpose for their job. When they are able to articulate a 2-3 sentence statement of this higher purpose it will free them up to help others on their path to greatness. You will know immediately if someone is a top performer because they will be happy to pass along their expert wisdom. To get others to embrace the deep knowledge it needs to be presented using a “fair process” in which you increase others’ sense of dignity and self-respect. The organization will then quickly engage with and embrace this wisdom. When someone resists sharing their knowledge, this means they are not really experts and therefore you don’t want their knowledge anyway. True experts always jump at the opportunity to share what they know. Unfortunately, this blog post missed the organizational issues that are the underlying problem with knowledge sharing and it proposed remedies that will fail because of this dysfunction.]]>

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