Meaningful Knowledge is Power

January 10, 2019

Meaningful Knowledge is Power

Meaningful Knowledge is Power

Knowledge is dispassionate; it is compiled facts and figures, research and data. While entirely accurate and true, mere knowledge lacks direction and cannot bring about real change on its own. Only when it is honed with purpose and shared with the right people, through the right channels, does it transform into meaningful knowledge.

The Levels of Knowledge

Knowledge in its most simple form is data - qualitative and quantitative facts and statistics. The next echelon of knowledge is information, which is the result of the basic analysis of raw data. At the highest echelon is insight, the analysis and interpretation that transforms information into actionable information. In short, where data and information tell us "what we know," insight reveals "what is possible with what we know."

Leadership and Meaningful Knowledge

Leaders are conduits of information, responsible for ensuring that team members have the knowledge essential to their roles. They must also filter out information that can be a distraction.

Leaders with the skill and foresight to employ the five components of meaningful knowledge empower their staff and their organization.

By utilizing the data at your disposal in a meaningful way, you will empower your employees to understand their roles in the organization better and achieve more with less effort. Here are five strategies to implement:

  1. Sharing. Isolated access to insight is meaningless. Sound decisions driven by insight may appear frivolous and counterintuitive to those without access to that insight. The act of sharing information by a leader is a momentous thing in itself; there are few actions with more power to inspire reciprocal trust.
  2. Curation. Knowledge may be power but, after a certain threshold, it can begin to resemble noise. Good leadership is about discerning what information to share with which team members, so they have the insight to succeed in their respective roles. Erring on the side of access instead of restriction is generally preferable.
  3. Connection. Leaders occupy a higher vantage point from which to oversee and understand how disparate pieces of information and processes come together. An effective leader connects the dots for those who do not have access to the same bird's eye view. This allows the team to work as a unit despite their diverse areas of expertise and limited individual insight.
  4. Immediacy. Old information is redundant information. One of the traits of superior leaders is their readiness to share information as they receive it. This produces a dynamic thought environment where staff from different departments have access to the latest data. The diversity of insight this generates is a powerful planning tool.
  5. Engagement. The dissemination of information is simply the first step. Real leadership involves active engagement with stakeholders, the solicitation of feedback, and a willingness to act upon the responses. The diversity of insight referred to above could form the basis of rigorous discussion, which is a positive thing.
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