Carlos Leyva

Silicon Stories

Chapter 8: Knowledge Management & Infotainment

Reward the Teachers

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We all remember our favorite teachers, or at least we should. We owe them a debt of gratitude that can only be repaid, I think, by participating in their profession in small ways on a daily basis. There is no shortage of opportunities to practice this vocation: home, church, work, etc. If the captains of industry want to accelerate the pace of knowledge transfer within their organizations, and between their organization and external stakeholders (e.g. customers, suppliers, partners, and the public at large) then they should begin to reward the natural teachers that live within their walls.

How should you go about doing this? Pay the usual suspects a few million dollars to institute a formal reward program? I don’t think so! I have argued that projects are the economic unit of value creation; they are also the mechanism by which rewards should be distributed. Are there not great teachers on the team that created your latest million-dollar revenue machine? Pay them for the value they brought to the table and you will ensure that they will continue to practice their craft at your For-Profit University.

Creators of knowledge should be rewarded in a similar fashion, but teachers more so. Why is that? Teachers, in whatever discipline they happen to find themselves (e.g. marketing, engineering, software development, etc.), are often both creators and propagators. Creation and propagation, in the business world, are synergistic and self-reinforcing. Rarely, if ever, are they mutually exclusive. Developers are not capable of teaching if they are not respected creators. Without the ability to create they lack the necessary credentials to teach.

Doers are rare. Thinkers are rarer. Thinker-doers are rarest.

—Unknown

Natural teachers fall into the third category and are rarer still. They are masters of collaboration and the true leaders of the new economy. They represent the neuron cells of any organization’s knowledge transfer engine because they create, propagate, and teach.

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