Bill Brantley has given me another pair of things to think about today. One on the myth about how people retain knowledge, and the other on the importance of trust in collaboration and how trust cannot be trained into people.
This is a common quote by many in which they say that people only remember 10% of what they hear but 70% of what they do (or whatever statistics that still have a wide gulf between hearing and doing). Well, thanks to some digging by Will at Work Learning this old chestnut has be thoroughly disproved.
I have heard variations on this theme many times, usually with the exhortation to go back to the office and try what you've learned, or to teach what you've learned to someone else. It sounds like the graphic that accompanies the Will Thalheimer article needs to be annotated with the classic "no" symbol, as I have done above.
The second item is on the topic of trust and how trust cannot be trained. What's the hot topic in training? Collaboration. Ironic, don't you think?
Of all the soft skills, trust will be the hardest to train people in because this is not a skill but a belief. And with belief, experience is the teacher. It’s like the argument I have with some colleagues on “creating” a community of practice. You can’t just lump a group of people together and demand they create a COP by the end of the month. This is a complex and very human experience in which people must learn to trust and then begin to work with one another. Collaboration is the same way; you can’t just order it and have it installed by next Tuesday. The trusting behavior must be modeled, perceived, and rewarded if it is to take root in the organization. I’m not sure many organizations have the patience or the will to do this.
While the focus of Bill's comments are around collaboration and training, it is just as important to recognize that trust is the key to much of what is discussed in knowledge management circles when it comes to people sharing knowledge with one another or contributing to any variety of "knowledge bases."