The Heart of Innovation: Why Don’t More People Share Their Best Practices with Each Other?

This blog was posted by Mitch Ditkoff, at idealchampions.com, on June 26, 2020.

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Thankfully the WordPress family doesn’t have this problem as we freely share our best practices with one another. But for those still in the workforce, sharing best practices can be a BIG problem as everyone wants to own the “subject-matter expert,” “go-to person” title. Seems like folks think they would lose by sharing. Little do these people realize that “knowledge shared is knowledge squared.” – Carl Sandburg

Why do think people don’t share their knowledge or best practices? Read Ditkoff’s blog, checkout his website, and let’s learn why people hoard them. I hope you enjoy the blog.

“If you are a member of a team, business, school, or volunteer organization, there’s a good chance you want whatever project you are working on to succeed. Yes? Towards that end, you work hard, think hard, generate ideas, go to meetings, fight fires, and (hopefully) learn from your mistakes. If you are like most people, you sometimes get together with your team and talk about ways to increase your odds of success.

Still, there’s a good chance you may be overlooking one of the simplest, most effective ways to make progress — and that is the sharing of best practices.

Best practices“, a much written about topic in the business literature, is really nothing more than a two-word euphemism for “what works” — the efforts you and your colleagues make that are already contributing to your success. The good stuff.
Curiously, however, “best practices” are rarely shared in most organizations and, even when they are, they are not shared effectively. Why? There are ten main reasons.

TEN REASONS WHY BEST PRACTICES ARE NOT SHARED

  1. Command and Control: The leaders of most enterprises, even if they won’t admit it, aren’t really committed to people sharing their ideas with each other. It sounds strange, but it’s true. Why does this phenomenon exist? Because ideas, freely shared, often end up “rocking the boat.” Old ways of doing things get challenged. The status quo gets confronted. New possibilities need to be considered, evaluated, and funded. Or not funded. More emails abound. More opinions. More disagreements. More meetings. Cranky-inducing stuff.
  2. No Clear, Compelling Vision of Success: If people, working on same project, aren’t on the same page about WHY they are working together and WHY they get out of bed in the morning, it is unlikely that they will be motivated enough to go beyond the “same old, same old” syndrome. Without a clear, compelling vision to motivate them beyond the call of duty, many people end up just going through the motions. Rote takes precedence. Old habits rule. Mediocrity prevails.
  3. No Sense of Interdependence: People will not take the time to share their insights, ideas, and best practices with each other if there is no recognition of the need to collaborate. If teamwork is not a clearly articulated (and reinforced) organizational value, there will be very little chance that the people doing the work are going to make the effort to connect with each other.
  4. Lack of Trust and Appreciation: People may recognize the need to collaborate with each other, but they may not like or trust each other. It takes effort to reach out to other people — especially people who are different than you. Sometimes, it’s a risk, especially for introverts. Plus, if people are working in remote locations, in different time zones, the degree of difficulty increases. Without trust and a genuine appreciation for the perspective of others, best practices will rarely, if ever, be shared.
  5. No Clarity About What a Best Practice Is: If you ask me to bring a tuna fish sandwich to a meeting, I can do that. But if you ask me to bring a “best practice”, who knows what you’ll get. If you want best practices to be shared in your organization, be very clear about what you are asking people to communicate.
  6. No Intention. No Agreement. No Buy-In: It’s fine to generically request people to share their best practices, but unless your request is understood, honored, and owned. it’s just fairy dust. People are busy. People are maxed. You asking them to do one more thing will likely be met with head nods at best. So, if you want to make this best practice sharing thing real, you will need to make the effort to build a case for it and give people a chance to commit to it from an authentic place.
  7. Fear of Judgment: Some people have a truckload of best practices to share, but they are sometimes concerned that other people may not think their best practices are so hot. Or, if they’ve done something they think is truly innovative, they may be concerned that others will judge them for not asking permission or going one bridge too far. The result? They clam up and keep things to themselves.
  8. The Perception of Lack of Time: Face it. We live in an ADD world. Even the fact that you have read this far is astounding. If a person thinks they have no time, there is very little chance they are going to say YES to a “best practice sharing process” that will take some time — even if the process, itself, will yield ideas that will save them time and radically increase their odds of success.
  9. Lame Listening: The sharing of best practices requires two things: someone to speak and someone to listen. Most of us, of course, would rather speak than listen. If you and your team are committed to sharing what you are learning with each other, make sure that listening — real listening — is baked into the process.
  10. No Platform: Sharing best practices with other people requires some kind of communication method or platform. If your team does not have a reliable way to share what they are learning, it’s doubtful they will. What platform might work best for your team? Group skype calls? One-on-one phone calls? Monthly meetings? Email? A Facebook Group? An end-of-the-year conference? A blog?

What other obstacles would you add to the above list? But more importantly, what can YOU do in the next seven days to jump start the process of the team you work most closely with sharing their best practices with each other?”

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