When it comes to competitive office environments, there’s often an attitude that reflects “every man for himself”. This philosophy supports that in order to get ahead, you must work in a siloed way and keep all the good ideas for yourself to present and execute. In truth, this isn’t strictly accurate. So, with this competitive attitude being so ingrained, how can we breach this boundary to become a collaborate, cohesive, knowledge sharing team?
Sharing carefully garnered knowledge and ideas can be tough. After all, you’ve spent time and energy researching and learning your craft. Why should you just give it away to someone else who hasn’t grafted for it? This is where the inherent problem lies. As a society we are so competitive and skeptical of others and their intentions, that it can often become detrimental to our workflow. Consequently, these individuals who have these great ideas try to go it alone, often ending with poor results and shoddy execution. If they had perhaps shared their knowledge and ideas with others within their team, who share their aims, the result would have been more satisfactory. Perhaps the boss would have even heralded their teamwork and leadership skills. So, realistically, how do we get over this cultural barrier that prevents us from sharing our knowledge with each other?
Opening up might not sound like a business strategy, but when you’re working as part of a team, transparency should be a crucial part of your project. This includes any ideas, solutions, amendments that you think might be worth considering. Hoarding solutions until the eleventh hour so that you can come through as a hero will merely waste precious time, and contribute to unnecessary stress for the team as a whole. That definitely doesn’t produce a healthy working environment.
In addition, your team members will quickly cotton on to the fact that you’re not sharing your knowledge until the last minute, which can cause significant tension. Yes, you might be trying to get ahead, but without a supportive team to work with, you’re not going to get the opportunity to shine. Remember, the person who doesn’t work well with others rarely progresses in The Apprentice - a cautionary tale for us all in the real world. Wundamail’s transparent nature of having the contributions of the entire team included, for the whole team to see allows for an open discourse around progress, planning and ideas.
If you’re not comfortable diving straight in and presenting yourself as the fountain of knowledge to your peers, then perhaps the planning approach is the way forward for you. Look ahead to any potential meetings or projects that you’re going to be a part of and work out what ideas and solutions you could bring to the table.
By including this level of foresight in your meeting prep, it’ll take away the feeling of you giving away your insider views. If it’s a strategic move where you can see the benefit of divulging for the whole team, then it’s worth sharing that knowledge for the good of the project, and ultimately the company. Planning in this way can help you break down the boundary that company culture has built up of hoarding knowledge for your own individual benefit: you can work out how it’ll be used and see the necessity in it for the team as a whole, yourself included. This can be done by looking to see what other people are working on within Wundamail’s daily compilation. This could include aspect others are struggling with, and then approach them with your ideas or knowledge that you believe will help them, and the team, succeed as a whole.
The most common reason that peers don’t share knowledge is the feeling they are giving everything away for nothing. Nobody wants to do that. Everybody likes to get something in return, which is perfectly fine, that’s why it’s called knowledge sharing. Form a group or forum where you can swap and share ideas and techniques that you’ve learnt over the years. Perhaps there was a software or tool you used in an old business, or a style of planning, or marketing angle you’ve read about that you think might be worth a shot.
In doing so, you receive some extra knowledge, build a relationship with the other members of your team, and you might even find more efficient, pain-free ways to complete your day-to-day tasks. It’s an all-round win that will make both of you look better in the eyes of your superiors. What is good for the team most likely benefits the individual, which is often forgotten in high-paced, competitive offices.
Collaboration is key. It’s useful beyond the ideas stage, but as a support network that ensures that everyone in the team shares the load and no one is left behind to struggle unnecessarily. The Wundamail compilation make this simple, as you can see what everyone is working on and where there are crossovers in workload. Wundamail’s system allows you to reply to your team’s responses and cohesively suggest different match-ups and strategies where sharing knowledge could be beneficial. Swapping knowledge and advice is the foundation behind Wundamail’s global success.
Wundamail helps you identify where gaps in team knowledge are. This might be where certain team members are struggling with their workload, when others are sitting round with not a lot on their plate. But by asking a simple daily question, you receive one email compilation that gives you an accurate snapshot of team thinking. Everyone shares their updates, ideas and solutions in a way that everyone else can see them. True knowledge sharing to break down those boundaries and produce a team that is collaborative, supportive and efficient. It’s simply how you manage teams in 2019.