Back to reading Cluetrain again. This tidbit – from Weinberger’s “The Hyperlinked Organization” essay – caught my eye:
An expert is someone who contains a lot of information, like a book contains information. In fact, experts are people who can write books. But, with today’s huge increase in the amount of information, you can be an expert only in something sliced so thin that often it’s trivial. Increasingly, a useful expert is not someone with (containing) all the answers but someone who knows where to find answers. The new experts have value not by centralizing information and control but by being great “pointers” to other people and to useful, current information.
i.e. in our current environment, useful experts are like useful links.
In short, your most valuable employee is likely to be the one who, in response to a question, doesn’t give a concrete answer in a booming voice but who says, “You should talk to Larry. And check Janis’s project plan. Oh, and there’s a mailing list on this topic that I ran into a couple of weeks ago…”
This struck a chord – I’d like to thinking that I’ve been working at being that kind of employee. An aggregator or a conduit who can help others get things done. This takes work though, as it forces me to connect with folks across the Department.
And that doesn’t come easily – there’s still a lot of walls between the various groups in our Department, what with it’s deeply ingrained culture of silos. I find that when trying to reach out and connect to folks beyond the borders of our Comms shop, I can often feel the mistrust in the air. I am willing to bet that this is not unique to my workplace either.