Knowledge Terrain

True knowledge, worldly experience and higher intelligence, is never sufficiently remunerated, but what we are paid to know – our own expertise and prime reason for employment – has to be defended, rewarded, capitalised upon and armed like a battleship in order to show those responsible for our wages or business that we are worthy of it, and also that they are worthy of us providing it for them. There’s always someone who can take your place, so the knowledge you’re paid for becomes the legs on which you stand, and can easily be kicked from under you. When the shit hits the fan people normally ask:

- Who knew it would happen? (responsibility)
- Who could have acted on it? (accountability)
- Who knew but didn't act? (responsibility + accountability)
- It was you! (time to defend yourself)
- Ok, so who then? (blame someone else)

 When people are delegated duties to do with knowledge, they have to attack, defend, reinforce and constantly evaluate where they are on the knowledge terrain in the office regardless of what they really know.

He will conquer who has learnt the art of artifice of deviation. Such is the art of manoeuvring – Sun Tzu 

Know your terrain by gauging your level of actual and perceived knowledge superiority in a particular domain. And more importantly, determine how others judge your level of knowledge in that domain. Reality is just as important as illusion. Be aware of what you are expected to know in terms of your duty, and likewise for your opponents. Know what you want and what you don’t know. Some people may know what you want, others will not, and yet others will have contradictory ideas you couldn’t even dream of.

 Conflict usually arrives as an invitation initially: add your ideas to this, help so-and-so with that, make changes where required. You are being invited to step into another’s domain. If you’re not invited, they may already have a piece of your information to pick apart and confront you with later. They will wait until one of their colleagues has baited you and distracted your fresh mind with some petty task. Then they will use the element of surprise and attack. Because knowledge, and the varying shapes it takes, is the key to power in the office you must decide as part of your strategy where you are on the knowledge terrain, and how to manoeuvre on it. Knowledge is not confined. Use knowledge as an enticer for more knowledge; entice people away from what may harm you. It is the art of spin, integrity and resourcefulness, and is as slippery to master as a bowl of spaghetti. You need a fork and spoon to manage it all. These tools are you and how you handle information. Do not waste your energy on futile attacks. Avoid traps. Do not offer a front for your enemy to attack. Although this may sound very abstract and hard to implement, it is what you have to be so you can avoid an attack but in turn attack.

 


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