Why knowledge-sharing is powerful

By Jaqui Lane

Tuesday April 16, 2019

Modern leaders embrace an agenda of learning and sharing.

I was reminded of this a few days ago when I attended an event for the Australian Transformation and Turnaround Association.

If you haven’t heard of it, you soon will, as the people in the room are at the forefront of actually delivering transformational leadership… but that’s another story and it’s their story to tell.

What struck me in chatting with the people in the room, only one of whom I knew, was the following.

  1. Their passion for and absolute belief in the power of transformational leadership to chart and provide a pathway for legacy companies (let’s face it, most companies) to actually transform.
  2. Their certainty about uncertainty . . . that transformational leadership is about being comfortable as a leader about saying you don’t know the exact outcomes.
  3. Their openness and genuine desire to share their knowledge, to create a deeply collaborative and supportive group of people that share with the express intent of supporting and learning.

It’s a long, long time since I’ve seen a group of high-achieving, talented senior (and some younger) business people with these traits.

Of course, there’s a reason why I’m sharing this. I’ve run more than a few posts and videos about:

  • the power of knowledge sharing
  • that 2019 is the year of intellectual capital, not financial capital
  • that real leadership is not a matter of having the most knowledge it’s about knowing how to share it

The more knowledge is shared, the more it grows and works to advance society.

While I am new to the world of transformational leadership, I am not new to the fact legacy businesses need to transform, that in old-style command-and-control management structures, most knowledge remains unshared because knowledge becomes power, position and promotion… and safety.

To transform a business, leaders and executives need to transform themselves and their thinking first. As one of the people I met at the event said:

I realised that if I was to undertake the transformation that was required I wouldn’t have a job at the end of it, and I was OK with this.

Of course, this then got me thinking about a much less significant business transformation… my own.

In 2009, my successful business publishing company succumbed to the post-GFC corporate spending environment. In retrospect, the publishing sector was transforming and my business model, while in no way traditional, was transforming.

I didn’t look, so I didn’t ‘see’.

It was more than a shock. I describe the experience as follows: “I Iearnt a lot about myself, business and who I could rely on, but it wasn’t a learning experience I’d wish on anyone.”

What I really learned was that industries and business are transforming, and fast. If you don’t transform your own business, it will be done for you, and it’s happening now.

“I’ve transformed my business because I was made to.”

So, where do you want to be in this? Holding out waiting for the inevitable or getting a grip on it and driving the future of your business… no matter how large or small.

I’ve transformed my business because I was made to. I am a quick learner and am really good at knowing what I don’t know, finding the best people to help me learn, executing and committing to a future model ­– understanding that for all this investment in time and money (considerable for both) there was no certainty about what that model was actually going to be.

The outcomes of the transformation have been rewarding, challenging and inspiring.

I’ve learned a lot in the process.

  • Knowing my purpose drives everything I do;
  • My personal values underpin who I work with…we need to have shared values;
  • I am absolutely passionate about books . . . reading them, writing them, helping other business people write and publisher theirs, buying them, installing more bookcases . . . I AM THE BOOK LADY;
  • That I can transform and learn ‘this new world’. I’ve gone from ‘Luddite Lane’ to LinkedIn and online mastery;
  • That I will never stop transforming my business model and this is the future of ALL business. Set and forget business models are already dinosaurs;
  • If you want to make a difference, an impact, influence, build a business, change lives . . . it’s about caring about what matters to you and me.
  • That’s why I am the Book Adviser.

I believe, passionately, that the dissemination and exchange of knowledge and valued insights add value… that a knowledge share through a business book can change the world.

Jaqui Lane is a business historian and writer who specialises in Australian business history, family business histories, business biographies and company stories. She has written and published over 400 books and worked with companies in Australia and the Middle East.

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