Have you ever considered if your school and district has a hoarding culture or a sharing culture?
In a hoarding culture, teachers and schools keep their expertise, their knowledge, their ideas, and their innovations to themselves. These teachers and these schools get a sense of reward and gratification by being seen as experts, as more creative, more knowledgeable, and more effective. They crave the recognition that comes from getting results that others are not able to achieve and the influence and recognition that comes with it.
We have all seen it, those teachers who have great ideas but don’t want to share with others. Teachers with special training that keep all the knowledge to themselves to be seen as the “expert.” Teachers who are good with technology but seem to keep the “secrets” all to themselves. Principals who keep information to themselves so as to ensure staff must go to him or her for the information. Even entire schools keep their best practices and knowledge to themselves. This is what hoarders do. They set up silos and keep their knowledge inside.
Sharers know that their fellow teachers, their fellow principals, and their fellow schools can benefit and should benefit from their knowledge, ideas, creativity, and information. Sharers get a “reward” out of helping others benefit from what they know. Sharers attempt to overcome silos by sharing with others so that the entire school or school district can benefit.
Toyota has an approach to knowledge management called “Yokoten.” The Japanese word means “taking from one place to another.” Toyota’s culture is a sharing culture. They correctly understand that knowledge, ideas, and data are organizational resources. A good idea should not be wasted but should be implemented. In addition, and this is key, a good idea should not just be used in a single location, but should be exported to all parts of the organization. Their sharing culture obligates that an individual share with their peers and leaders are expected to circulate good ideas throughout the organization.
In other words, if Toyota ran your school or your district, teachers would be expected to implement good ideas and share with others. Principals would be expected to implement good ideas at their site and share with the rest of the district. Silos would not be allowed to prevent good ideas from being implemented and shared. If the idea is a resource, it is not wasted, it is used and it is shared.
Does your school and district have a hoarding culture? Or does your school and district have a sharing culture? A culture of “yokoten?”
1. Imagine the benefit to student learning and achievement if every great idea in your district was implemented and shared across the district. Every one. How might you encourage this level of collaboration and sharing?
2. In what ways could you begin to model a sharing culture? How might you use the principle of “yokoten?”
3. What things should you stop doing? What things are getting in the way of collaboration and should be eliminated?
4. How might your approach to collaboration change if you viewed ideas as a necessary commodity or resource for your school and district?
5. In what ways have you encouraged, rewarded, acknowledged, or expected sharing of ideas, knowledge, information, or data?