I spent Friday last week at Tedx Melbourne and there have been some great talks and some even greater one liners. A couple of my favorites have been
“A plan is not step one, step two, step three, that’s not a plan, that’s a list of instructions” Adam O’Donnell
“We do not rise to the occasion, we sink to the level of preparation” Adam O’Donnell
“If you want something you don’t already have, you need to do something you haven’t already done. Push your boundaries.” Marcus Taylor
But perhaps the most thought provoking and immediately relevant one liner for me was a statement by Margaret Heffernan
“Openness is not the ending, it is only the beginning”
The idea that ‘knowledge is power’ is widely accepted in many organisations but the ramifications of this at not always well understood. The hoarding and compartmentlising of knowledge restricts the organisations ability to respond to changes in the operating environment and ultimately impacts its relevance in the marketplace.
Margaret’s talk emphasised that openness of information in itself will not allow organisations to respond effectively. It is only when we develop robust approaches to discussing and challenging each other (and ourselves) that we will gain real value from this openness.
Unfortunately the idea that ‘knowledge is power’ has meant that information that ‘messy information’, the type that might create discussion and challenge the status quo, has not always seen the light of day. This has meant that many organisations have forgotten how to have robust discussions that challenge existing power relationships.
So if openness is not the ending and is only the beginning what changes will organisations need to make to allow the right conversations to take place?