From time to time a special phenomenon appears in my sight that I have recently been wondering about. Actually, over the last couple of years, it has become quite strange to me. I’m calling it “the fairy-tale of the wisdom of companies”. It tells the story of companies which tend to extract the knowledge of their employees from their heads in order to secure it for the company itself. Especially for the scenario of the employee leaving the company.
Focus on the people instead of their know-how
Bizarre as it is that sounded logic to me as a young employee. After all, the company pays the employee and during his working hours he eventually gains some knowledge and becomes more of an expert, creates new things and gets more valuable for the organization. By valuable I mean that his knowledge is useful. The company then starts extracting this knowledge by making him write it down or teach it to other employees.
I’m not saying that it’s a bad or unuseful thing to pass on knowledge, but focusing on this as a company is, in my current opinion, a rather stupid move. Actually, I’m quite convinced that it’s stupid because organizations are quite simply the sum of their employees and every new person who joins contributes new abilities. And of course, everybody who is leaving is taking abilities with him. Keeping this in my mind it gets more and more incomprehensible why organizations aren’t focusing with all their power on identifying the best and most valuable employees (that’s often a problem, too) and then trying to make them happy so they don’t leave.
Ask the questions great leaders can answer
If there is by any chance a random kind of manager reading this little blog, please ask yourself some of these questions:
- Do you know the best players in your team?
- Have you recently spoken to all of your employees for longer than half an hour?
- Do you know what your employees are trying to achieve?
- How do your employees feel about themselves, your company or you?
- Does the employee know how valuable he is to you?
These are just some basic questions to ask. Excellent leaders are able to answer these. If not, there’s only the “the fairy-tale of the wisdom of companies” to stick with.
What do you think? Let me know!