Sharing Information vs Knowledge is Power

Watching the Ted Talk: “Stanley McChrystal: The military case for sharing knowledge” started me thinking about the issues he discusses for the perspective of SharePoint trainer, a trainer and an ex public servant.

A major of theme of this talk is that “the organisation will benefit from ready access to information“.  The burned out leftie in me would extend this to “Society will benefit from ready access to information“. But for the moment lets think organisation.

One of the major potential advantages of SharePoint is to allow exchange of information across silos. For this to happen, site owners and admins need to think about permissions in terms of the organisation not just the unit or  silo they are in. If read access to content is based on the silo and reflect management structure not need or community of interest, then no benefits are gained from collaboration. Wheels are reinvented, mistakes are repeated, solutions and troubleshooting tips are not exchanged.

There are a lot of business cultural assumptions to overcome in sharing. I often get comments that as a trainer I am “giving away all my secrets” or that my YouTube channel is “giving it away for free”. In the modern world however, my secrets are not just mine. Microsoft and Adobe and third parties invest a great deal of effort in distributing information about how to use their products in every medium possible. So my “secrets” can be easily found.  This sharing by these firms makes “Knowledge is Power” obsolete and has a business benefit -Support has a cost – so organisations will use software and other tools with support resources widely available.

I can concentrate on massaging this information to give you context and value but secret it is not. Sharing what I learn also has other values for my little business.

There are other issues raised by this talk, this is just one angle.