Recently I spent a week with trainers from a different organisation. We discussed many things including how to improve the ways they used to share resources and knowledge amongst themselves as a team.
Not long afterwards I came upon a blog post which posed the question: Whay don’t trainers share more?
I was surprised. After all, I regularly say to aspiring trainers that one of the common things among us is that we are avid hoarders of ideas from other trainers and colleagues. I don’t know a trainer who doesn’t grab hold of ideas and store them away for the day when they may want to reuse or re-hash the idea for a new application.
The blog article and my conversations with the group of trainers both pointed to the fact that while we readily take hold of the ideas of others many trainers are reticent to give their ideas and materials away.
Of course there are many exceptions. My colleagues Colin and Tim both bequeathed excellent resources to me to use in training which I have gone on to develop and, I hope, improve. No conditions were imposed – they wer simply delighted to give their ideas away.
But the truth is that many of us are reluctant to be so generous with our ideas and hard work.
But my experience is not that we are jealous of our intellectual property so much as overwhelmed by the challenge of making the materials available. The International Communication Training Institute established a repository for training ideas and resources. It has received small numbers of contributions over the years yet whenever I meet with groups of trainers they regularly want to reinvent the wheel and the ideas of creating repositories raises its head. I remind them of the previous conversations and offer access to the Institute’s resources which are always well received. Yet, the promised contributions never arrive.
We are simply too busy or distracted to add our stuff the pot.
As with so many other aspects of our working lives, we have to intentionally set about contributing to the communal whole. We cannot expect anyone to handle this for us but we can take responsibility for our own actions. When we have something to offer then we can share it now. If we leave for later then experience tells us that later never arrives.