I have been privileged in life in every way. I have learnt from everyone around me at home and at work. Every family member and friend has been generous in sharing their knowledge, skills and life lessons with me. Similarly at work, every colleague I have worked with or interacted with has been more than eager to share their learnings with me.
I have sometimes wondered as to why people conserve their knowledge. Some people believe that if they share their knowledge or skill, they may lose their competitive advantage or their worth in life. I think the other way around. The more you share, the more you learn.
Let us reflect on own lives from childhood. Every time we recite a nursery rhyme to a kid, we memorise the same and never forget it. Similarly, every time I have taught maths to my kids, I have improved my own numerical abilities. In my view, it is difficult to imagine that I will lose my identity if I share my knowledge or skills with others.
I have seen this attitude at the work place too. Many senior professionals try to conserve their knowledge and skills thinking that it increases their value in the organisation. It is the other way around. A leader who is ever willing to share knowledge or skills or builds positive attitude in others is the one sought after by the team members.
One interesting dimension to be kept in mind in organisations is that even if you share a policy or a process, it cannot be aped in terms of culture or execution the way you do it in your organisation. Culture evolves. It cannot be copied. So, there is no rhyme or reason not to share your best practises with the world.
We can see in sports that the best players are ever willing to share their skills with their juniors. They never feel threatened that their juniors will learn their skills and make them redundant. Life is no different. Nobody can copy your style or attitude in life. Knowledge and skills are to shared to be sharpened. Attitude is to be ingrained from within.
Organisations and societies spend years to evolve their cultures. It is not possible for another society or culture to easily cut, copy and paste them. Similarly, it is not possible for an organisation to copy a system or a process easily unless there is a culture as a base and a value system to support it. So, we need to realise that the more we share, the more we create learning opportunities for ourselves as individuals and organisations.
Every individual learns from others more than from oneself. So, it is imperative that even as individuals, the more we share, the more we learn. Learning by sharing has to be a way of life. It has to be an attitude to life. This ensures that we can never become obsolescent.
Even sharing kulfi as in the picture above with your friends can be a learning opportunity.
Let us learn to share always.
S Ramesh Shankar
18th December 2018