I was preparing for call with a senior executive client and found an article about retirement and passing along knowledge and maintaining motivation. In an earlier post I gave statistics on the baby boomer population and the impact their retirement will have on industries worldwide. This post continues along that vein about capturing wisdom, in two forms; Explicit and tacit.
Explicit: clearly stated and in detail, leaving no room for confusion or doubt. Explicit knowledge is certainly a form we use and expect when teaching. It is important and directive and strategic, but using only the explicit approach can leave out the personal experience and creativity that makes one unique.
Tacit: understood or implied without being stated. Tacit knowledge refers to experiences, stories, and creative solutions. How do you convey these to others?
Out the mouth of babes comes courage and imagination. Sitting at a small dinner party with a group of friends, the only child (10 yrs. old) wanted to interview an adult at the table. He began with a simple and innocent question;”What was your most embarrassing moment?” Then he asked everyone to go around the table and offer a question to that person being interviewed. The questions were loose and expressive ranging from; ” your first movie – leisure time activities – and an influential person in your life.” This captured the unique and tacit qualities of the person being interviewed. The things behind the personality. The experiences that mold each of us and give all of us character. The bonus is, those asking the questions raised the bar with each inquiry to go a little deeper.
So, try this sand box exercise out with those you are mentoring. Ask them, as a group, to interview you and mine for the inner wisdom and tacit knowledge that offers such great value.