We have all worked with this person. They are the one who knows the inner workings of all the strange systems, or understands some obscure process that nobody else understands, or perhaps wants to be responsible for. We do this ourselves quite often. When I launch a new system or process I am equally guilty of not always putting the right information into everyone’s hands that need it.
Solution: Share! Sounds overly simple doesn’t it? There are two top reasons why someone is the keeper of information that is not shared and those are:
- The owner of that information has not had time to document or share that information with their peers
- The information holder feels a sense of security in being the sole owner
If you are the only person who has the knowledge to make a process or system work I have one piece of news for you: You are replaceable! Regardless of the most important piece of knowledge that you hold with you like a lockbox, you (and I) are not required to keep the machine moving.
This isn’t meant to sound like a grim warning, or that you should not feel like an integral part of your team and your organization, but more as a reminder that although we’ve been told that “knowledge is power” that it is only powerful when shared. If Albert Einstein had developed his solutions for the theory of relativity and then held all of his findings to himself, do you know who would have been famous? Not Eintstein, but the next scientist who worked out the solution.
We can see examples in every aspect of society. Are you familiar with the band Journey? If so, you probably know that distinct, original tenor voice of Steve Perry.
The seemingly inimitable voice of Steve Perry was the defining sound of Journey throughout their career in the 70s and 80s. Unfortunately, due to a hip replacement which sidelined the front man, it eventually forced the band to make a decision to move forward without him. Enter Arnel Pineda.
I won’t go into the story deeply, but it is an interesting one if you choose to search it out. The long and the short of it is that Arnel Pineda can sing with the identical vocal style of Steve Perry. As a result, he is touring with Journey today and has been for many years with great success.
But I digress. The moral that I have captured from this is that to be an important part of any team, whether in work or in your personal life, you should be open and share your knowledge and experience. I have found that with opening the book on my technical knowledge and skills that I have gained much more knowledge capital and have built stronger relationships as a result.