On the right hand side of the Knowledge Sharing Canvas lies an essential component of knowledge sharing: feedback. Receiving feedback from colleagues, or from clients, is the difference between the will to inform and the will to collaborate. The quantity and quality of conversations connected to shared content represent the fresh & healthy air which allows the flow of knowledge to be circular and collective (“Healthy system”, Knowing Knowledge, George Siemens, 2006). And with the added direct benefit of improved decisions and less bias (“Fighting fallacy“, Buster Benson, 2016; “Four kinds of decisions“, Tim Van Gelder, 2010).
Feedback identifies positive and negative points (“Radical Candor“, Kim Scott, 2016), suggests options, corrections. It also allows to debate and trigger internal partnerships and is the perfect way to acknowledge the work carried out. In addition, it is the best extrinsic motivation for employees (“Drive”, Daniel H.Pink, 2009).
Without its presence in the knowledge-sharing network, co-workers do not have any other choice than to use email or meetings with the performance shortfalls we are aware of (“zero email”, Luis Suarez, 2014). Luckily, feedback becomes a common practice and it is now admitted that conversations around the document are as important, if not more, that the content itself (“Documents are the new email”, “The context holds as much or more information as the ‘content’”. Stowe Boyd, 2016).
Its constant usage (“Reflection at work”, Katerina Andersson, 2016) boosts collective intelligence and allows to use the entire range of expertise of your co-workers, namely their capacity to evolve, anticipate, project, imagine, complete, argue and decide. And learn ! (“Socratic Dialogue finds a home in 21st century”, Bill Cope, 2014)!
In the context of the development of a solid and mastered knowledge base (SEP, Nikhil Sonnad, 2015), it particularly responds to:
Following our observations, managing Feedback implies developing three forms of art: Attention, Conversation and Collaboration.
When the flow of contributions is well fed, it becomes difficult for employees or clients to understand to which subject matter they should drive their attention (“The Attentional Filter”, Levitin, 2014). The contributor who has just shared content (a piece of knowledge, a problem, a question in the form of an idea, a story) therefore carries an induced responsibility: engage his or her peers to stimulate momentum and receive an important feedback while considering the downstream impacts of what we share, how we share to others and ourself (“What’s in it for everyone”, Bryce Williams, 2016). That person will have the choice between several approaches, often defined by the level of progress:
Clearly, with a distributed approach in social network mode, the user also becomes responsible of his/her time and investment management. From then on, a balance is established between the discovery of new knowledge and the real cultivation of this knowledge to lean towards a sustainable approach of individual performance (“Contextual ambidexterity”, Christine Van Winkelen, Jane McKenzie, 2011).
Asking for attention demands being aware of what is happening around us.
Have our colleagues (or clients) already spent their attention quota for the day (or the week) on other content?
Have we demonstrated our own engagement on other participations?
Following on attention, the contributor has de facto the mission to provide an orientation to the conversation. We will call this a call for feedback, which we can separate in two large phases, given that in every open conversation, unexpected phases can be expected:
Call for feedback can therefore contain systemic questions (which allow the inclusion of other stories to build a complete vision of a situation) as well as emotional (which allow to obtain critical knowledge, in principle intimate). These responses are motivated by passed, present and future actions, different for every employee (“Why Feedback Matters”, Mary Kalantzis, 2014). This is why, depending on the number of people involved, it is recommended to include one or several facilitators who understand the art of collaboration, contributing to generating a less competitive, individualist and authoritative culture. A secure environment where it is understood that some experiences and processes must remain confidential (“The Pixar Braintrust”, Michael Hann, 2016).
Disclaimer: The Divergent/convergent phases are inspired from The Double Diamond Creative process
“The main problem — a (western) culture that values task accomplishment more than relationship building”
(“Humble Inquiry” Edgar H.Schein, 2013)
An underlying example of this problem is that employees are not allowed to participate in the strategy of the organisation and revise processes in an opportune manner (“The Milk Shake Moment”, Steven S.Little”, 2008), although they are the key to growth. The arrival of new technologies is a great constraint as well as an opportunity to lead the company into becoming an organisation of the 21st century, capable of co-strategy and understanding of the ecosystem (“from ego to eco”, Presence Institute, 2013; “The New Growth Theory”, Esko Kilpi, 2016).
This mindset can be defined by explicit collaboration principles or rewards (financial value of individual actions which have a collective scope). Ideally, better through spontaneous examples coming from a distributed leadership :
To conclude, one has to manage:
By Raphaël Briner, author of the Knowledge Sharing Canvas
A few questions about our network
What kind of dialogues can we observe?
How do we open up the conversation and reach momentum?
Does everyone feel invited to participate?
What are the possible roles and for which situations (knowledge transfer, diagnostic, problem solving, confrontation, crisis)?
Who is currently making sure conversations are made easy and natural?
What are the most dynamic conversations of the week?
How do we close the conversation in a way which is useful to others?
Which actions are foreseen to improve engagement?