Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Appreciation of Expertise Depends on Where You Sit

At several of my previous jobs, expertise was appreciated very differently depending on the level within the organization. The first-line consultants and managers greatly valued expertise in knowledge management, including knowing where information could be found, whom to contact for specific expertise and help, and how to make the best use of technology. They subscribed in large numbers to knowledge-rich newsletters, asked for help regularly, and greatly relied on a list of key contacts in the organization. But higher level managers did not actively engage in collaboration, using the tools, or observing how expertise was shared. As a result, when profits dropped and budgets were squeezed, these managers scrambled to preserve their jobs and were willing to eliminate the jobs of knowledge managers and even expert consultants. Their mission was short-term survival, and it came at the expense of long-term failure.

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