At work I am responsible for the coordination of “Knowledge Shares.” Other companies call it professional development, or lunch and learns, etc. I expressed an interest and enthusiasm early on which led to me spearheading the movement, and a year and a half later I was ready to take it to the next level.
Routine becomes boring very quickly for me, so I privately started brainstorming ways to take Knowledge Shares to the next level. Our annual staff meeting was coming up, so I thought I’d put myself out there and request 5 minutes to share my vision for where Knowledge Shares could be.
Making a pitch to people – the vast majority of which may seem uninterested – made me feel naked and exposed. I hate being in a position of vulnerability, but after creating my plan I realized that there was no way I could build a vision of this scale on my own. Getting help was the only way to make this dream a reality. I have no problem getting up in front of people, but I do have a problem asking for help. I visualize people making fun of me, saying that I won’t make it, and the like. But I have been reading enough to know that I’m not the only one.
I went up, made my pitch, and said I needed help. Anyone that was interested was more than welcome to join. Almost immediately after my presentation, an individual reached out to me and offered to help on the technical solution. A few others reached out and informed me that they had also been thinking about the same things! I was able to identify all the interested people afterwards and we held a meeting to determine a plan.
Sharing my vision taught me the following lessons:
Other people shared my vision: The fact that side conversations had occurred for so long revealed a thirst for internal programs to go on a larger scale. If I had never shared my ideas, I would have never known that others were interested.
Sharing brought people together: Apparently these side conversations had been going on for a while. It made me wonder why these conversations had not materialized to something larger. Then I realized that by presenting my ideas to all staff represented a desire on an authoritative scale. My presentation carried weight because I had already been established as an authority figure on a current initiative.
People don’t know until you tell them: By many accounts I am a private guy – preferring to keep my cards close to the chest. But this mindset will not lead to larger than life results. It takes a team of dedicated people to bring fruition to a vision. I cannot do it alone. There are others that want to help – they just need the opportunity.
While this experience positively reinforced the need to share my ideas, it is only the beginning. The hard work of scaling has begun. I only hope that I can do my part to keep the momentum from that presentation going.