Tag Archives: Networks

The Seven Deadly Sins of Knowledge Sharing in Networks

On 16th July, I was fortunate enough to take part in this webinar organised by NHS England’s Sustainable Improvement Team and Source4Networks, which posed the  following questions:

  • What are the barriers to sharing knowledge across your networks?
  • How can we learn from others to apply this knowledge to the NHS?

Chris Collison, author and expert in networks and knowledge management, was on hand to guide us through some of these critical barriers, namely the seven deadly sins – or syndromes – that can affect networks and stifle the supply or demand for knowledge sharing.

1) Tall Poppy Syndrome – Based on the idea that the tallest poppy in a field is the first to get cut down to size, this syndrome illustrates a reluctance to put your head above the parapet and a tendency to keep a low profile and not get involved.

2) Shrinking Violet Syndrome – Another “sin” that stifles the supply of shared knowledge in a network, based on a feeling of false humility, and that you have nothing useful to share.

3) Not-Invented-Here Syndrome – This syndrome impacts the demand for knowledge
sharing; the view that your organisation or team has a unique set of problems that can’t be
fixed by adopting other people’s solutions. Besides (the thinking goes) why use someone
else’s solutions when you can gain kudos for inventing your own?

4) Tom Tom Syndrome – Also known as Real-Men-Don’t-Ask-For-Directions Syndrome. A
reluctance to ask for help when you’re lost, due to a fear of being seen to be incompetent.
This “muddling along” approach is another barrier that stifles knowledge sharing by reducing demand.

5) Lacknowledgement Syndrome – The perception that by sharing good practice there is
somehow a “lack of acknowledgement”, and a suspicion that someone else will take the
credit for your hard work.

6) Lock-it-Away Syndrome – Here, a potential solution, idea or example of good practice is
not shared, either because it is never quite finished, or because everything produced by the organisation or team is locked down by default due to security policies.

7) Hamster-on-the-Wheel Syndrome – This “sin” comes down to time – or lack of it. A feeling that you’re just too busy going round in circles to stop and share what you’re doing.

A quick webinar poll indicated that this last “sin” was particularly prevalent, and something that most of the attendees were familiar with, but we all recognised the various other syndromes as well. Chris went on to suggest some antidotes, such as:

  • Make it safe to share
  • Think about use of language – e.g. looking for “answers” can place an unintended
    burden on people
  • Establish what “good” looks like, so the network has a frame of reference – e.g. using
    a maturity model for an agreed scale of good practice
  • Make it easier for people to ask for help – e.g. awards for things like:
    o Transferring good practice
    o Re-using a solution
    o Embedding a good practice
  • Share failures as well as successes
  • Acknowledge everything – where it came from etc.
  • Check what security policies actually say about sharing information outside the
    organisation
  • Legitimise the time spent sharing knowledge, e.g.
    o Establish a network sponsor
    o Find and share stories of things that worked

From my experience, we already have many of these antidotes in place in our LKS network in the South, but we all interact with networks at an organisational or directorate level, and personally I recognised quite a few of these deadly syndromes. I found the webinar
extremely illuminating,engaging and motivating.

For anyone interested in viewing the recorded webinar, you can find it here. For those of you who would like to dig a bit deeper, both Chris Collison’s and Source4Networks’ websites and twitter details are below:

Chris Collison: www.chriscollison.com / @chris_collison
Source4Networks: https://www.source4networks.org.uk/ / @source4networks

Andrew Brown
Library Services Manager
Wexham Park Hospital (WXM)

This article was first published in Swimming Pool, Issue 109, August 2018, p.7-10

Do you want to start a new partnership or revisit a lapsed one?

Then we have some help to get you started! Just take a look at the new section on the Resources page. A set of resources has been developed to support library staff who would like to develop local partnerships, from making the initial connection to forming a multi-sector network of health information professionals:

Also available offline is our PPI Contacts Database – a database of staff interested in PPI from many sectors and organisations (NHS, public libraries, voluntary sector, public health, health promotion etc.). You can request access to your local contact list or to be added to the database by contacting sarah.greening@wm.hee.nhs.uk

Watch this space: in the pipeline is a PowerPoint slide pack, group activities and evaluation form for meetings and workshops.

Who are our change-makers?

Are you sitting comfortably? Well I will begin……

Once upon a time a company needed to change and offer an improved service to its users. The senior leadership team (SLT) called the managers into a series of meetings and a plan was drawn up and agreed. The senior leadership team sat back and waited for the change to happen. Every month they monitored what was going on but nothing had changed. The SLT called the managers back into another series of meetings and again the plan was agreed. The SLT waited and still no changes took place.

The SLT tried a different approach. It decided to look at the informal networks that were operating across the company and used the free open source software Gephi to create a visualization of the networks; to see who the key people were. To their surprise one of the key people at the centre of the network was the man from the post-room. He visited every office twice a day with the post. They dug a little deeper and saw that although they had engaged with the managers in their company, they hadn’t engaged with the other key influencers in their company; people like the man from the post-room. The key influencers were surprised to be called to a meeting to discuss the proposed changes as they did not recognise that they had a role to play and ideas to offer that would improve the service. However, they participated positively and the change that needed to take place, happened.

The same is true of our strategic framework Knowledge for Healthcare. We all have a role to play in suggesting ways that these changes can happen. I work in the South as a knowledge services development lead; David works in the North as a learning resource advisor. We work together on the streamlining task & finish group and he will now describe how he has contributed to change and why that is important for our group.

Library change–maker David

As a learning resource advisor I’ve dealt with document delivery for a long time, I understand the day-to-day workings of document supply and have identified areas that could potentially cause bottlenecks. Over the years, I have been able to make suggestions to my colleagues and managers for ways in which we can streamline the processes and improve the service offered to our users. Sometimes these changes have been instigated by my manager, sometimes by me and sometimes the changes have been due to external factors such as changes in copyright law or the introduction of the CLA Licence Plus.

Since I joined the Streamlining Task & Finish group my knowledge of how other libraries approach document supply has increased and my understanding of copyright has also increased with our ‘copyright first responder’ training. This has been invaluable for me and for the library team. But my first-hand knowledge of document supply has also informed the decisions and recommendations the streamlining group has made; helping guide the group understanding of the library assistant’s role and highlighting areas of change which may help in this role. One of which was easier access to copyright advice and information.

As a result of this ‘three-way conversation’ between the task& finish group, myself and my manager some major improvements have been made to the service we offer our users in the area of document supply.

The challenge to us all is to become “change –makers” and work together to influence and deliver Knowledge for healthcare in our library and knowledge services. Oh and as you ask, the story above is a true one.

Sue Robertson
Knowledge Services Development Lead, South
Health Education England
4150 Chancellor Court | Oxford Business Park South | Oxford | OX4 2GX
T. 07557 256204
E. sue.robertson@hee.nhs.uk
W. www.hee.nhs.uk

David Watson
Learning Resources Advisor
Rodney Cove-Smith Library
South Tees Institute of Learning, Research and Innovation
South Tees NHS Foundation Trust
The James Cook University Hospital
Marton Road
Middlesbrough
TS4 3BW
Tel: 01642 854820