Overcoming Information Dominance in the Workplace

Yesterday I spoke of the idea that it is not good to rely on information dominance in order win at games.  Today I would like to extend this concept to the workplace.

There are people in the workplace who maintain job security solely through information dominance.  Sometimes it is feigned as “word of mouth” or “rule of thumb” procedures developed from “experience”.  Sometimes, this maintaining of information dominance is unintended (e.g. person is unable to communicate effectively) and sometimes it is is deliberate (e.g. person does not show trainees where to find the available work instructions).

In my time working within a single large company, I have found cases like these pretty common.  I imagine there may be workplaces where it is more or less common, but based on what I have seen, there seem to be a fair amount of people who rely on information dominance in my workplace.

But why rely on that?  Are there no other ways you can show your capabilities without happening to have more information than others on a certain topic at a certain time?

I have a mindset that it’s not the possession of information, but how I use information that differentiates me.  I should be open to sharing with you the information I have, so that you can have a better chance for success.  After that, maybe together we can accomplish even more.  And if we happen to be competing for the same job position, well, I must develop the other skills I have so that I can still compete and beat you out for the position.  Wouldn’t we both be stronger because of that?

In our advancing society, where getting information is becoming easier and quicker, I should be more ready to willingly give up my information dominance in a given situation.  I may be relying on it if I try to hold on to it.  Eventually, someone else will come along who might have more information than I do, ripping that dominance from my possession.  What would I do then?  It may be unsettling when considering that my position at the workplace provides me an income, but it is becoming more necessary that I figure out what other skills I have and how I can develop them.

Being able to figure out what kinds of information are important for a certain situation seems like a good skill to have.  Recognizing the importance of decision-making with incomplete and/or extraneous information seems like another good one.  These types of skills represent some factors which can differentiate me from others, ways I can succeed without having to rely on information dominance.  As an employee, it’s these skills I will need to win at the workplace.  Outside of the workplace, these kinds of skills can also give me a better chance of winning at life.  It’s with this in mind that I seek to teach others what I know, so that they too might have a better chance at winning, and so that together we might win even more.

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