Saturday, June 30, 2007

Generated Wisdom

In many organizations wisdom is generated but not captured. Teams amass an incredible amount of wisdom which isn’t captured or catalogued for subsequent teams and future use. Knowledge transfer is a constant struggle, especially for many organizations that bring in consultants to do long term work. Once they leave, the knowledge leaves with them.

How can you not only capture organizational wisdom at all levels, but have it readily available to use as a resource and build on to create organizational excellence? Think of how much time and money is wasted when you have to start from scratch time and time again. This, however is the status quo for many an organization.

In a world where technology is a part of everything we do, we should be able to catalogue this wisdom and ‘bank’ it to be built upon, honed, and changed as needed so this knowledge becomes part of the organizational structure. How an organization captures and integrates this wisdom is what makes it stand out in a crowd. Any organization that lets its wisdom evaporate only to start anew will be wasting time, energy and money instead of becoming masterful and known experts in their fields. This is not only unsustainable but damaging to its overall success.

Just think of the massive project archiving the internet is, but the Wayback Machine is a testament to what’s possible if a project that massive is possible, anything is.

Now what about in life? How much wisdom has been lost from generation to generation because the younger generations aren’t paying attention to their elders? I’m not saying they don’t love their grandparents and respect them, what I am saying is do they take the time to listen to them?

I know that things are very different now than when my grandparents emigrated to Canada. But what they learned in their lives, how they lived their lives and having a chance to learn about their rich histories, family dynamics and traditions was priceless to me. In passing these stories and traditions to my son, he will have a richer life as well and more to give his kids when they come along. There’s nothing more heartwarming to me than hearing my son tell me he’s going to get in his car and drive the 2 hours to see his grandparents because he loves to be with them. He too lives a busy life but the lessons learned and experiences shared from the time spent with my parents he can’t learn in any book. It’s called life’s lessons. And when we pay attention to the richness around us, we will learn more about ourselves and our place in life. It can be pretty amazing all around, don’t you think?


Donna Karlin

*Book Recommendation: 'Kitchen Table Wisdom: Stories That Heal': This isn't the usual kind of book I recommend but one I believe everyone would benefit from having. I can't tell you how many copies I've given as gifts over the years. It's the kind of book that makes your heart smile.

"Sitting around the table telling stories is not just a way of passing time," writes Rachel Naomi Remen in her introduction to Kitchen Table Wisdom. "It is the way wisdom gets passed along. The stuff that helps us live a life worth remembering."

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