Honestly, who doesn’t love the title, “Technical Specialist”? It oozes authority and makes you feel like you’re in safe hands. For, a specialist has the perfect solution to your extremely particular problem. And, they make any team seem a little more sophisticated too!
And, everything is pitch-perfect until this expert decides to jump ships or head out into the horizon. When they leave, experts create huge voids that companies struggle to fill immediately, or adequately, triggering a bout of chaos that could have been avoided.
Why Concentration Of Information Isn’t Smart
It all boils down to information that a specialist knows and the rest of the team (or company) doesn’t. Their knowledge of a niche not only sets them apart, but also makes them tough to replace. But more importantly, their leave creates a knowledge drain that leaves teams scrambling and the management anxious.
However, both these issues can be easily avoided if leaders realized the merits of spreading technical know-how among team members; and, the short lifespan of “critical” information. Very often, company managements feel wary of sharing information and technical knowledge with employees who aren’t “experts” because they’re afraid such access will cause “leaks” that competitors may cash-in on.
Spoiler: Leaked Information Expires Fast
But, if leaders were to really rationalize these fears, they’d understand the illusory quality of such worries. Because the real world doesn’t operate upon “leaked” information. Such information expires real fast because they’re relevant for a very short window of time.
Simply put, companies will be digging their own graves if they were basing their next move upon leaked information from their competitors. They will always be one step behind and soon nobody would remember them.
Besides, if someone decides to encash such sensitive information, it’s nearly impossible to stop them today, thanks to the sophisticated technology that anyone can access now. In the end, sharing niche technical knowledge with everyone in the team ensures that the company’s never left groping in the dark when someone decides to leave the company.
Equip Others To Fill The Expert’s Shoes
The idea is to prevent the concentration of technical and critical information (or knowledge) in the hands of a few experts in the company. When every person on the team is aware of such knowledge – albeit to varying degrees – it levels the playing field when it’s time for someone to bid goodbye. Their exit won’t affect the team’s work as much because there are others who can fill in the gaps.
It also removes the anxiety that managements typically feel when a technical expert leaves the company – especially to join a competitor. The chances of them “leaking” important or sensitive information, like details of the company’s next product launch or the secret formulae they’ve been developing, is very minimal. And that, in turn, removes the need to sever ties in hostile ways – like using security personnel to search and escort people outside the office when they decide to jump ship.