Knowledge Is No Longer Power

Tim Sackett HR Tech, HR Technology, Tim Sackett, Web/Tech

For  centuries we have all known that knowledge is power.  The basic management hierarchy of almost all organizations is based on this premise.  The top person in any company knows the vision, they share that down, and so forth. Along these lines knowledge becomes very powerful.

Your boss knows about something, a big change that will take place next month, but she can’t share it with you, just yet.  You want that information. You want to know how it will affect your job, your life, the organization, your co-workers, etc.   Your boss’ boss knows a little more, your boss wants to know what they know.

This is how about 99% or organizational leadership runs on a daily basis.

Over the past couple of decades we’ve begun to see this premise evolve.  It’s now not as much that knowledge is power, but the speed of knowledge is power.  The best leaders today find ways to give their teams the knowledge they have as fast as possible, so they can move forward faster than ever.  This is a huge change.

Prior leaders held on to knowledge as long as they could.  They squeezed every last drop of power out of the knowledge they held. Today’s leaders find it more beneficial to pass along knowledge quickly so their teams can use that knowledge to help the organization gain a competitive advantage.  Speed of knowledge is the new measure of power!

Leaders can no longer wait. The world around them is moving too fast. If you sit on knowledge for a moment, it could end up being useless because someone else will beat you to the punch.  We feel and see this everyday in Talent Acquisition.

Hiring managers want you to move at the speed of light to find great talent, only to see them sit on this talent and wait once they have it.  We all know what happens next! That talent gets an offer from our competitor and we lose out.  There isn’t anyone who works in Talent Acquisition that hasn’t felt this frustration.

There’s a reason the hiring manager didn’t move fast. They’ve been conditioned to move slow. Two hundred years of leadership training has told them that sitting on their power, this power to decide, is a good thing.  It hard for all of us to change.

In HR and Talent Acquisition we have our own power struggles, so we need to lead by example, and not hold onto the small buckets of power we have.  We need to move information faster to our employees… to let them know about change coming down the pipe and to keep them informed of things that will impact their lives—and trust they will handle it appropriately.

Technology and the speed of information has changed the way we all need to lead.  It goes against everything we’ve been taught, but we see those organizations that are agile and fast are winning.  Go fast today and lead!

FOT Note:  We here at FOT like to think we get talent and HR at a different level. At the very least, we are probably going to have a different take than the norm. That’s why we asked  HireVue to be an annual sponsor at FOT, where they’ll sponsor posts like this one, allowing FOT contributors to write, without restriction, on all things related to talent and predictive analytics and how it impacts our organizations. Most of us will never get the science behind all of this, and to help, HireVue is also signed up to sponsor a FOT video series aptly names “Weird Science.” Be on the lookout for latest episode of Weird Science later this month.