Knowledge sharing is not the best of ideas at all timesDiscussion | January 5, 2011 at 12:58 am
Those that know me will attest to the fact that I am quite helpful as people go. I freely offer to help whenever I can and whenever someone wants to pick my brain I am open to a round of knowledge sharing. And yes, very often I too like to get some information to file away in my mind. It is a process of give and take I quite enjoy honestly, but there are many occasions on which this whole process of knowledge sharing is one way traffic. Sometimes I’ve given unhelpful or misleading answers and I have to be able to know when someone is playing me for a fool and when they’re not. In card-playing terms, I am tipping my hand early.
Of course, clueless and widespread paranoia is not the answer to this. Not every will try to misinform me, and I know this well. In fact, I have seen that giving people truthful and helpful information and helping them out endears them to you. It definitely helps to build relationships, I can tell you that. But being too lippy and open with your advice is a recipe for failure, because there will always be those with ulterior motives that will look to simply use your information for their gains.
Take estate auctions for instance. Tons of dealers and enthusiasts make their way to these and knowledge could be the key to winning or losing a bid. Everyone knows something or the other, and no one is ever willing to tip their hand. Or take the simple act of blogging in itself. I’ve talked to several bloggers over time and talked about most things but the moment the topic switches to talk about something considered proprietary the tone changes and the conversation starts to become a bit uneasy.
This is true of business as well, but at least that is fully understandable. If your competitors know your business secrets they will always try to put you in an uncomfortable position by using this knowledge against you, but the fact is that knowledge sharing is looked down upon there as well. No one wants to let on to ways to strengthen their opponent or weaken themselves, and that is why the secrecy surrounding. At many times, the information is considered to be hard earned too, and not everyone wants to give away knowledge just as not everyone wants to give away money. But doing it every so often does help foster trust and you can build something mutually beneficial. Just don’t be indiscriminate with it and you’ll be fine.