So much for that experiment! I tried to put together a small note on what I thought was priceless information and in a pocket-sized format, and there were no takers (ha, ha!)! Not the regulars, not the folks coaxed by WordPress, nor those diverted by the search engines. Maybe the time wasn’t right, it wasn’t packaged right - or maybe it just plain sucked! So, let’s do the next best thing, call it off and move on to more sturdy ground…and do some meditation on “information and reputation” instead..
It seems to me information is no longer a “differentiated and powerful” currency. It’s a commodity - we have too much of it, and we have it everywhere. We have google to look up all sorts of worldly stuff, the newspapers for keeping count of all the depressing stuff, tons of metrics (and even more dashboards) at work and the psychiatrists to tell you more about yourself than you want to know. The age of “information being power” and the “middle managers ( please click to checkout a very nice piece from HBR)” – seem truly dead. Commodity exchanges (linking farmers and marketplaces), eBay (linking vendors to clients directly), social media (connecting news sources and client) and many like these – ensure brokers are going digital everywhere. As managers, information by itself seems to be a fairly ineffective weapon in our arsenal. The quicker we recognize it, the better - unless we’d like to figure as another pink slip statistic!
So what do we do after decades of playing the “parse and pass information” game? Do we have an alternative? Establishing a “reputation” of being able to assimilate different information sources and providing solutions seems to be one good alternate. In other words, technical consulting, implementation and support (advisory support on a technical or business aspect), mentoring (enabling a fellow human being achieve her potential), evangelism (espousing a cause we believe in, provided its not “information brokering!”) all seem to be dimensions we should tap into to avoid the failure game. Be the best and a beacon light for the multitudes to be successful - seems to be the mantra of the day. Isn’t “reputation” the currency which makes Eliyahu Goldratt, Ken Blanchard, Steven Covey, Anthony Robbins, Al Gore, Dalai Lama, Eckhart Tolle and the like so very sought after?
Interestingly this “reputation” over “information” thinking seems to have pervaded the digital world too. The Wolframalpha search engine gets a lot of rave reviews due to its ability to serve you contextual info, klout scores and pinterest leaders seem to have no correlation to the account owners’ “bigness” but more on the quality and appropriateness of the content shared, quora emphatically believes that humans are better than machines at answering queries and YouTube continues to “discover” teen wonders (that was meant to shock you!).
So is this the moral - information is now hygiene - it cannot deliver greatness by itself? Are what we do with the information and how consistently we do so - what gets us the laurels?
If you are a manager, time to reach out for a “knowledge to wisdom” transformation exercise. If we are a digital provider, time to introspect - are we an artist or a painter of houses? And is that who we want to be?
P.S: if you are intrigued by the piece that inspired the first para, I have decided to leave it in this blog (titled “mindfulness”) for a week or so…