My former boss Steve Kerr, who worked with Jack Welch at GE for many years before taking on a senior position at Goldman Sachs, would often say, “hoarding information is an integrity violation.” Kerr felt that if an individual or a department had a best practice, but they failed to share it with others, that they were effectively stealing from the company.
As industries change and the economy fluctuates, your business will rely on pockets of wisdom that crop up in unexpected places. You are likely sitting on valuable assets right now – in the form of best practices – that are not properly leveraged by all.
Teams should be expected to not only innovate, but to spread any realizations that may be relevant more broadly. One way to foster such exchanges is through rewards. When a team makes a concerted effort to share best practices, they should be recognized. Another option is to rotate certain leaders around various teams – you will quickly find that certain best practices are contagious. Finally, you should mandate that people manage the company’s intellectual assets with care – and this means not allowing them to be forsaken.
***This article is adapted from the research and writing of Scott Belsky and the Behance team. Behance runs the Behance Creative Network, the Action Method project management application, the Creative Jobs List, and develops knowledge, products, and services that help creative professionals make ideas happen.