Change is difficult and goes against everything people like: stability, predictability, tradition.
So when faced with the change to how knowledge is valued no wonder a typical corporation, this wonderful conglomerate of all things human, strikes in defence of the “good old times” first and asks questions later. Much, much later. After all, it is easier to hold onto what you know and find stability and sense of security in that. The thinking goes something like this: “If we keep our environment stable we will keep all the risks as we know them. Nothing can hurt us.” Reality, of course is much different. The environment around them is changing, yet they’re ignoring the change and ignoring the risks that come with a change in environment.
Social Media is one such change that is frequently ignored. Nay, not ignored. Blocked. Most corporations take the three wise monkeys’ approach to social media: See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil.
My experience in the workforce has been that people don’t naturally share what they know and that even if they wanted to, IT departments have struggled with finding the silver bullet of technology that allows them to. In contrast, the external social networks allow us to share knowledge like crazy. In my estimation, platforms such as Slideshare, blogging and Wikis have actually changed how people view knowledge sharing. Instead of being rewarded for hoarding what you know, participants are rewarded with visibility and accolades. This is a complex problem for organizations and I’m not going to solve it in this post, but suffice it to say that your social media programs are less likely to be successful if you can’t even share internally.