Dare to Share
Chief Executive of The Working Manager, Managing Director of TWME8 and iRIS Health Solutions Ltd.
In January 2020, the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the ongoing Coronavirus outbreak to be a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. Encouraging global collaboration to support under-resourced nations was the primary reason behind this announcement.
As the outbreak became a pandemic, and political borders closed, the world's leading scientists flung open their doors to share knowledge in their pursue of united goals — working together to develop a vaccine and cure for Coronavirus.
On home soil, when the virus threatened to overwhelm us, we saw businesses sharing their expertise and infrastructure to meet the growing demand for PPE and sanitisers. At iRIS, we offered our Health Simulation Authoring Platform to a global community of simulation professionals for free, to help medical professionals share knowledge and training resources.
Sharing is not just caring these days; it’s the new normal. A recent CareerBurst webinar on Sharing your Expertise as a Career Vehicle, hosted by Melanie Small (TWM), and Amanda Whiteford (Talent & Potential) was a reminder that sharing our expertise is vital for career progression.
But where to start? For some — especially self-deprecating Brits — the very idea of ‘putting ourselves out there’ can be intimidating. Claiming to be an expert with a knowledge bank that’s worth broadcasting can feel uncomfortable and unfamiliar.
But be reassured, expertise isn’t just for high fliers, old-hands or those with in-depth subject knowledge. Amanda believes everyone is an expert in something. Perhaps you're a doer with practical skills? Maybe you've got a good handle on how to make things happen across the business? Do you have the ear of a key decision-maker? Or are you an expert in navigating the culture and politics of your organisation?
Because our experiences, insights and skills are so close to us, it’s easy to lose sight of how valuable they can be to others. But when an experienced member of the team takes the time to show a new starter how the organisation’s systems or software works or shares how managers like to receive reports, it can go a long way towards taking the stress out of a new starter’s on-boarding experience. Likewise, new starters have much to offer — from new graduates with cutting edge training to career-changers with alternative ways of working, everyone brings their own dash of genius.
If you feel out of your depth, remind yourself of the value of cross-pollination among all walks of life. In Amanda's webinar, she shared how at the MIT University in Chicago, faculties have been deliberately mixed up across the campus to encourage colleagues from different disciplines to bump into each other, share ideas and discuss problems — precisely because they’re not experts in the same fields. The University attributes its reputation for innovative work with corporate organisations to this unique melting pot of ideas.
For reticent individuals, active listening can also make it easier to share knowledge. Listen out for when the conversation moves to challenges or problems in the workplace — offering up a potential solution during these moments feels helpful rather than self-aggrandising.
‘That's a great way to step forward and share your insights and your perspective on things,’ Amanda said in the webinar. ‘And don't forget to ask other people, explore their ideas first. That can make it easier for you to step forward and share your perspectives.’
How you go about sharing your knowledge can also determine how easy you find the process. If you don't feel comfortable blowing your trumpet in meetings, look for alternative ways that suit your personality and skill set. Why not pen an article for your intranet site or the company blog, or invite a new starter for coffee and offer some gentle advice — be the colleague who straightens another’s crown without telling the world it’s crooked.
Feeling inspired to put yourself out there? The recording of Amanda and Mel’s webinar is still available here. Or why not contact them directly to explore other ways to shine your expertise to benefit the people around you, your organisation — and of course, your own career. Get in touch here: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.careerburstonline.com because for knowledge to count, it must be shared.