Knowledge is power says the well-worn cliché. Knowledge is often hard won; it may take a workgroup months to uncover some fact, some technique, some technicality, that can rightfully be considered a breakthrough.

So, what does this workgroup, the ones with the knowledge, do? Do they rush to share it with the rest of the organization as usually happens in the scientific community? Or do they hide it away and decline to share it with others?

You may have observed the phenomenon in your organization where two (or more) workgroups are working on similar projects, but there is little or no sharing of information. Why? Enter the unspoken rule. If we know something that they don’t, doesn’t that make us more powerful? Even if it is not to the common good, it is to our good to keep our knowledge to ourselves. The unspoken rule is:

Keep hard-won knowledge to yourself; it makes you more powerful.

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