What are the Formula's to craft Knowledge Sharing Culture?

The two primary formulas used to craft knowledge sharing culture are TMS and THQ.


TMS: Trust + Motivation + Sharing

The order is important. Why? The sort of high quality team thinking that's required for really good ideas to stand the test of time simply cannot surface if trust between at least 'a dedicated few' team members exists.

This often means lots of mutually respectful 'non rushed' discussions may need to be held 'before' the knowledge gems surface. To outsiders, such discussions may not first appear to look productive as tangibles rarely become visible at this stage, but experience has taught again and again that this 'dance of the minds' is critical for trust to find its natural settling point so quality new insights and 'aha's' pop out.

Most often motivation surfaces after trust is minimally established and is usually usefully secured when either mental energy or physical actions result in a pleasing enough result for the individual that they unleash their own energy. A point of 'self motivation' if you will.

What's shared is, to many, 'the goose's golden eggs' and the visible stuff that many 'long for' first but useful sharing can only come if minimum levels of (individual) trust and (individual) motivation come first. The quality of the sharing is proportional to the quality of the trust and motivation.

This may explain, why some efforts in this knowledge sharing space fail. Because focus placed too quickly on grabbing the golden eggs can mean not enough thought is given to the health of the goose that's laying them.

TMS is an extension of Peter Senge's formula for a learning organisation of LO = T + S, trust + sharing.


THQ: Topic + Headings + Questions

THQ has proven to be a useful way to deliver what everyone seems to long for. Quick and tangible wins.

Because knowledge sharing culture is a balance of three things - verbal (hard to write down knowledge), non verbal (best efforts to capture knowledge) and motivation (required to help knowledge sharing actually happen) - THQ helps bring these all together in a time effective way.

Someone 'in the know' identifies the topic – this may be some sort of gap in individual or team knowledge (some might prefer to call it a capability gap).

Someone with some experience has a crack at identifying the headings. And, as many as possible throw questions (as informally as possible) against the headings.

This 'breaks the back' of the new knowledge creating effort and often provides a one page 'new knowledge spec' that can be easily sent out to the world of interested others for quick feedback on 'What headings &/or questions are missing?' (implicitly teasing out other useful related shares along the way).

Because trusted others are only being asked for feedback on what questions should be asked right now, it makes it quick and easy for others to contribute to the new knowledge spec. This also allows a wider group of people to develop a sense of ownership.

Once this new knowledge framework is roughed out it can be more confidently handed to the least experienced member of the team for them to 'do their best' to answer as many questions (which have often come from some great minds) as they can before finalising the new knowledge from more experienced others.