Knowing what one needs to know–a simple technique

GiantWheel We all live in our pods. The externally visible pods of our associations with families, workplaces, social circles, professional circles play a major role in influencing what we do and how we do. Just like sitting in a Ferris wheel, we let the events pass us by and we are happy going with the flow. The thrill of discovering the joys of adrenaline rush combined with the security that the wheel has been designed and tested makes the rides enjoyable.

When it comes to knowing what we base our thoughts and actions on, we have a blind spot.

Having grown up in a competitive environment right from school days, we are pushed towards individual performance and competition.

With the world around us changing so fast, what worked yesterday or in a previous context may not be relevant anymore.

In this situation, we need to constantly enrich ourselves with the right knowledge that is needed, just in time and just enough to get us through. You may not agree with the last part – but then, it is impossible and impractical to say that one would want to get all the knowledge required to perform a task. Or, take a decision!

Just like in the Ferris wheel, our pods are somehow connected and we need to leverage the power of the connections.

Various models and Knowledge Management techniques have ben used by individuals and organizations, but the most popular ones reduce the challenge to maintaining documents and searching when we need something.

This is very limiting and not very effective, as what we need to know keeps changing and growing.

This is where we can leverage the power of our communities. Many people confuse networks for communities. Having a large number of connections on LinkedIn or Facebook does not make a community. In the words of the well known thinker, Henry Mintzberg, summarizes the difference as: Networks connect. Communities care.

Reflect on your own connections – networks – that you have built over time. How many members of these networks would you feel comfortable to lean on, when you need to pour your heart out? Or, how many of the network members would you feel comfortable taking some liberties to seek support or help in difficult situations. They could be in the work or personal contexts.

Equally important is the reciprocal feelings. How many from your networks would feel comfortable approaching you or taking some liberties to use your shoulder to cry on, or seek support?

There is a growing, disturbing tendency to equate popularity or value in terms of the number of likes or shares or even the ’personal brand value’ for individuals.

By nurturing relationships from your heart, not being driven by selfish or short term motives, you can tap into the wisdom of the crowd. Or rather, your community.

You need not constrain yourself to one or two communities alone. Based on your interests – and of course time, since communities need to be personally cultivated – you can choose the communities that you want to contribute to and grow with.

That is the quickest and most effective way to multiply the collective wisdom that you can tap into, just in time – and of course, just enough to get you to the next rush of adrenalin!

How have you developed your communities? Or networks?

Your experience will be of a lot of value for the community of readers of this and other blogs.

Do share or write in.

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