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May 31, 2015

Knowledge is Power

Ian's Morning Musing imageIt was the English philosopher Francis Bacon who coined the expression “Knowledge is Power,” as far back as the 16th century. The context of the sentence first heard all these centuries ago, actually refers to the qualities of God and is imbedded in a discussion of heresies that deny the power of God. In today’s parlance, we might consider a parallel to be the impropriety of numerous, disgraced CEOs who abused their power and might even have perceived themselves as God-like. I digress. If “knowledge is power,” is it still rife in organizations today? Is the knowledge hoarder still placed on a pedestal and financially rewarded for that knowledge?
We are trying something new at our next SCNetwork event on June 24th. We are calling it “Academia meets Corporate Canada.” We have invited three professors to share recent research they have undertaken and we have asked three CHROs to ask the question “why this research is so important and what can we learn from it?”

Ian's Morning Musing knowledge is powerOne of the studies pertains to knowledge hoarding. Is this relevant today? I think the answer is clear-cut, and based on a study McKinsey has recently concluded, more than 70 per cent of the senior executives who participated in the survey said that innovation will be at least one of the top three drivers of growth for their companies in the next three to five years. McKinsey examined where innovation flourished, and interestingly, found that hierarchy was still evident in the higher-performing unit, but its information and knowledge network was more distributed, and more of the members participated actively. The lower-performing unit has just one leader, who controlled most of the interactions and had a negative mind-set about openness and collaboration, and there were far fewer connections. Look around and note how many organizations are talking about the need for greater collaboration.

So let’s go back to the question as to why people are reluctant to share their knowledge. I am certainly not going to steal any of Dr. Catherine Connelly’s thunder on knowledge hiding, but we all know that structure, reward systems, communication channels, culture and other factors have a part to play. However, I think a great subject of discussion at the executive table is how organizations use information, which is now so humungous in size, that it is overwhelming. How do smart organizations use information and create knowledge from it that has practical application? Could it be that smart executives share all sorts of information freely, but their brilliance is in “sense-making?” How does your executive team make sense of a VUCA world? Research that uncovers ways to identify knowledge hoarders, which then leads to behavioural change, would be hugely beneficial.

What do you think?
Join the conversation on LinkedIn

Ian Hendry headshoptIan Hendry is the president of the Strategic Capability Network. In his Morning Musings, he provides insight on issues facing today’s business leaders and looks at subject matter related to upcoming SCNetwork events. He is also VP HR & Administration at Interac Assocation.


Filed under: morning musing, upcoming event Tagged: morning musing, upcoming event

Ian's Morning Musing imageIt was the English philosopher Francis Bacon who coined the expression “Knowledge is Power,” as far back as the 16th century. The context of the sentence first heard all these centuries ago, actually refers to the qualities of God and is imbedded in a discussion of heresies that deny the power of God. In today’s parlance, we might consider a parallel to be the impropriety of numerous, disgraced CEOs who abused their power and might even have perceived themselves as God-like. I digress. If “knowledge is power,” is it still rife in organizations today? Is the knowledge hoarder still placed on a pedestal and financially rewarded for that knowledge?
We are trying something new at our next SCNetwork event on June 24th. We are calling it “Academia meets Corporate Canada.” We have invited three professors to share recent research they have undertaken and we have asked three CHROs to ask the question “why this research is so important and what can we learn from it?”

Ian's Morning Musing knowledge is powerOne of the studies pertains to knowledge hoarding. Is this relevant today? I think the answer is clear-cut, and based on a study McKinsey has recently concluded, more than 70 per cent of the senior executives who participated in the survey said that innovation will be at least one of the top three drivers of growth for their companies in the next three to five years. McKinsey examined where innovation flourished, and interestingly, found that hierarchy was still evident in the higher-performing unit, but its information and knowledge network was more distributed, and more of the members participated actively. The lower-performing unit has just one leader, who controlled most of the interactions and had a negative mind-set about openness and collaboration, and there were far fewer connections. Look around and note how many organizations are talking about the need for greater collaboration.

So let’s go back to the question as to why people are reluctant to share their knowledge. I am certainly not going to steal any of Dr. Catherine Connelly’s thunder on knowledge hiding, but we all know that structure, reward systems, communication channels, culture and other factors have a part to play. However, I think a great subject of discussion at the executive table is how organizations use information, which is now so humungous in size, that it is overwhelming. How do smart organizations use information and create knowledge from it that has practical application? Could it be that smart executives share all sorts of information freely, but their brilliance is in “sense-making?” How does your executive team make sense of a VUCA world? Research that uncovers ways to identify knowledge hoarders, which then leads to behavioural change, would be hugely beneficial.

What do you think?
Join the conversation on LinkedIn

Ian Hendry headshoptIan Hendry is the president of the Strategic Capability Network. In his Morning Musings, he provides insight on issues facing today’s business leaders and looks at subject matter related to upcoming SCNetwork events. He is also VP HR & Administration at Interac Assocation.


Filed under: morning musing, upcoming event Tagged: morning musing, upcoming event
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