|Up, Up and Away!
Is that a little akin to children's cartoon shows?
Fear not, for a knowledgeworker is a business's hero in today’s world of information overload. They can navigate the jungles of information on the internet and sift through the riff-raff to find the answers and solutions to the concerns facing a business.
So what specifically sets one apart as a knowledgeworker from all of the pencil-pushing proletariat task workers?
Not everyone can be born as a knowledgeworker, but the skills can be practiced and developed by anyone willing to take the plunge. Below are the essential components that make up a knowledgeworker in today's battlefield of business.
1. Able to see the big picture.
In order to successfully and effectively wield the power of information and knowledge, one must be able to step back and see the big picture. The big picture includes the operations, direction, and goals of the company. Being able to step back, know, and understand the flow of information, pertinent or otherwise, will help the knowledgeworker to identify what changes are needed.
2. Solution-finder, not fact-gatherer.
It isn't enough anymore to use a search engine, click on the top hits found, and regurgitate the information, be it relevant or not. The knowledgeworker will be Sherlock Holmes and sleuth out the relevant information in order to make informed decisions to help the company remain competitive. Anyone can find facts and make a presentation. A knowledge worker can find solutions to operational and informational conundrums. Synthesizing information and queries will bring about solutions and keep the company from being lost on a rabbit trail of information overload.
A knowledgeworker needs to be internally driven. A task worker may feel just peachy being told what to do, how to do it, and when and where to do it. Taking the initiative to be a self-starter will set a knowledgeworker far above and beyond the rest of the pack. When there is seemingly nothing do, go find a way to make the company better and to make the processes used better!
Out-of-the-box does not refer to being as sensational as a jack-in-the-box, but to doing things in new ways. A business's main goal is to cut costs and increase revenue and today's challenging markets require creativity. Say goodbye to the days of playing nicely in the sandbox of the market with the other players. Creativity is essential to staying one step ahead of your competitors and in anticipating your consumers’ needs. The knowledgeworker will be creative in their use of structured (well-defined) and unstructured (ambiguous) information to propel their company to the head of the race.
5. Team player, coach, and cheerleader.
In order for any individual to succeed, the group around them must also succeed. The old adage of a business being only as strong as its weakest member holds true. A knowledgeworker will work to create an open and welcoming environment where the team thrives, thus propelling every stakeholder (not least of all, the company) towards success. A knowledgeworker will also know when to step up into a position of leadership, formally and informally, and when to let others step up. Instead of demanding attention and praise from the group or superiors, they will also know how to deflect and build up others in the group. An emotionally intelligent leader knows when to lead, when to follow others leading, and how to encourage and support others knowing that their success relies on their team's success.
Don't be overwhelmed with a new list of resolutions to make. My advice is to find others in your organization and life who exhibit these qualities and to imitate them or seek out their mentoring. Ask for feedback from supervisors, to subordinates, and even your peers.
You may one day find yourself being asked to mentor a younger team member because of the example you set. Being a superhero isn't difficult. Put on these characteristics and even your co-workers will wonder if you transformed from Clark Kent to Superman.