Useful Knowledge Is Hidden In Our Inbox

Why do we hide organisational intelligence as if we are ashamed of it?

On Monday I was at Co-op Digital and one thing struck me straight away:

The walls were alive with what was being thought about, worked on and delivered.

The successes, the failures, who was doing what, all were being shared systemically.

Most organisations are guilty of knowledge hiding behaviours.

It’s sometimes done with the best of intentions but is too often done on a pretext of ‘protecting’ people or data.

Knowledge hiding damages relationships between colleagues, and leads to reinventing the wheel or spending time and resources on problems that have already been solved elsewhere.

Instead of sharing, knowledge is hidden away in labyrinthine intranets and password protected documents or reports that only the senior management receive.

At Co-op the knowledge lay everywhere, not just on the walls but on the Slack channels, in Show and Tell sessions and on the openly accessible website.

Ultimately it is the culture of an organisation and the associated levels of trust that determine why and how employees hide what they know.