“That’s out of my pay scale.”
“I don’t get paid to think”
“I’m not authorized to do that.”
“Hmmm … That’s a bummer … I’m sure someone will fix it.”
Chances are, unfortunately, you have probably heard one of these statements from someone whose job is to help you.
It could be the person at the motor vehicle department, the woman who works in accounting, or someone on your own team. People can be pretty stubborn and sometimes bitter about what they are willing to do (despite what they are actually able to do).
I’ve recently come across a communication and knowledge management model called DIKW that is about how we act at our jobs. The acronym represents: Data, Information, Knowledge, Wisdom.
DIKW expresses how we process information—starting with raw data and mastering it as wisdom.
Well-operated companies are run by people who know how to act and react in different business situations. They have a level of wisdom.
- They know how to swiftly remedy varying customer complaints.
- They know how to build a marketing promotions that successfully connect customers with products/services.
- They know how to create or change product and services to meet customer needs.
Presented below are the elements of DIKW–slightly modified to meet our marketing/business needs.
Data are the raw facts. A description of the pieces of the puzzle, but not understanding what the picture is. An employee notices something happening, but it pretty much stops there.
Information is data prepared/presented in a meaningful way–with context. Information involves understanding how different pieces of data connect to each other. An employee sees water (what) on the floor (where), drips (what) currently (when) falling from (where) the overhead pipe (what). They conclude there is a leaky pipe. Hopefully, they’ll forward this information to someone.
Knowledge is acting on information. Data and information are combined; understood and proper action is taken. The “how” is figured out and applied.
Wisdom is understanding “why” and instinctively knowing how to act and react.
As an employee becomes more seasoned, and grows in their job role they gain more wisdom. Unfortunately, as I started this article, some choose not to apply their wisdom (but that’s a topic for a different post).
What can you do to empower your employees and co-workers to do more than inform and apply knowledge to act? (Early in my career a boss taught me, “Don’t bring me problems. Bring me solutions.”)
How can you develop employees to use wisdom to prevent problems? How far along the DIKW scale are you, your employees, and team members?