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Here’s Why Withholding Information Doesn’t Always Mean Competitive Advantage

Knowledge hiding is unlikely to benefit businesses or individuals in any way

There has been a historical tendency for companies to withhold information from other industries or competition in fear of revealing one’s secret formula or key to success. This way of doing business, however, has become very outdated and the business leaders of today know better than that.

In fact, there has been an overwhelming amount of data from recent studies proving quite the opposite as it was recently estimated that ineffective knowledge-sharing at the workplace can amount to a loss of $47 million in the US alone.

At the same time, the practice of providing partial, misleading, or outright false information, called “knowledge hiding”, is thought to affect one out of every three people. Given how predominant this habit is, its impact on workplaces worldwide is undeniable.

For generations, decision-makers have been taught to keep their knowledge to themselves over the fear of losing the exclusive privilege and consequential status associated with owning access to exclusive information. Other factors may include the fear of being judged over how much – or how little – proficiency one displays as well as lack of trust in the people requesting access to particular information. 

Regardless of the reason, knowledge hiding is unlikely to benefit businesses or individuals in any way. A Harvard study proved that professionals consciously engaging in knowledge hiding were 17% less likely to thrive both on a personal and professional level. This leads to very clear results: knowledge sharing is a very healthy practice that supports intellectual, emotional and professional development. 

As time changes and organisations become wiser, it is paramount they also keep updating their practices in light of scientific and behavioural discoveries. As a consequence, C-level professionals worldwide are taking the extra steps to connect with non-competitive businesses in similar fields to expand their knowledge on certain topics, as well as brainstorm solutions towards common challenges. 

This practice is taking the form of executive events such as panel discussions, peer groups, and roundtables aiming at providing business leaders with a comfortable space for relaxed conversations on relevant business topics. Through knowledge sharing, businesses can take in someone else’s first-hand experience and apply it to their daily operations.

Thanks to peer-to-peer discussion, forward-thinking leaders are becoming aware of the benefits brought by engaging in hierarchy-free conversations with the common goal of supporting everyone’s success. Modern-day work culture understands that in a highly interconnected world, one business’s good results don’t have to mean another organisation’s failure.

On the contrary, by sharing knowledge and allowing everyone to succeed, every single business will also thrive. This feeling has gained popularity in 2020 with the global pandemic forcing organisations and individuals to come together and help each other overcome these challenging times. 

As a leading marketing agency catering to the needs of the C-suite, our team has been hosting knowledge-sharing events worldwide since 2016. Through years of experience, Ortus has been able to see the benefits of businesses sharing information first-hand.

Despite traditionally hosting events over a three-course meal, this year we have transitioned to the virtual medium to respond to healthcare requirements worldwide and maintain social distancing. This way, we continue with our goal to provide business leaders with a platform where they can connect with their peers in a safe, pleasant, and constructive way, going beyond physical barriers. 

As we appreciate some of the benefits of hosting our events online, our company is planning on adopting a hybrid model in the future to maximise the perks of both online and in-person interaction.

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Written By

Francine is the Marketing Coordinator of The Ortus Club, a C-level events company that organises executive knowledge-sharing discussions focused on building relevant relationships. Ortus events are normally hosted over a three-course meal or online. Follow them on their website.

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