I spoke with a company the other day about a possible career move and I forgot what the question was, but I had brought up my 3 tenets in life and work. These are Education, Collaboration, and Non-Exclusivity.

Education has always been deeply heralded in my family, probably just like every other stereotypical Asian family. But my parents weren’t of the pushy kind since they hadn’t even a high school dimploma themselves. What they did do was promote it and hoped for the best. And how does this relate to work? I know that continuous education isn’t at the top of everyone’s priority but I do believe it should be highly promoted by any company that believes in the future of their workforce. This not only gives the employees a greater feeling of self worth but also contributes to the organization as a whole, invest in your employees and they will invest in you.

Collaboration is a fairly recent revelation of mines. I had always been a team player, played team sports, enjoyed working on group projects and surrounded myself with like minded individuals. But it’s only after graduating college and having entered the working world that I’ve noticed that there was a void of collaboration throughout all the companies I’ve been through with some exceptions. Of course, this is attributable to the diversity of any organization but I think the biggest contributor to this problem is again a company’s unwillingness to invest in itself. This may come in the form of education as stated earlier but also the tools that are available for the employees to use. So you say that’s what file shares and Outlook is for! I say puhahahhaha! There are a whole barrage of tools available out there now including Microsoft’s Sharepoint, Cyn.in, blogs, wikis, and the list goes on as Web 2.0 continues to proliferate.

Now my biggest pet-peeve of all – Exclusivity. This is especially a problem with a lot of last generation’s IT people. In just about any organization you’ll easily find pompous balls of knowledge that regard their every skill and thoughts as a personal trade secret. This tribal knowledge that is permitted to stew and collect in individual minds will be the death of any company that is seeking long term growth. Nowadays there are many knowledge management tools like the ones mentioned above, blogs, wikis, etc. And how do we take advantage of these new technologies? For any company it will always be an endless cycle of Education, Collaboration, Non-Exclusivity and its willingness to invest in its own future.

Clive Thompson probably sums it up the best if I had too much geek speak:

“- Secrecy Is Dead: The pre-Internet world trafficked in secrets. Information was valuable because it was rare; keeping it secret increased its value. In the modern world, information is as plentiful as dirt, there’s more of it than you can possibly grok on your own — and the profusion of cameraphones, forwarded emails, search engines, anonymous tipsters, and infinitely copyable digital documents means that your attempts to keep secrets will probably, eventually, fail anyway. Don’t bother trying. You’ll just look like a jackass when your secrets are leaked and your lies are exposed, kind of like Sony and its rootkit. Instead …

Tap The Hivemind: Throw everything you’ve got online, and invite the world to look at it. They’ll have more and better ideas that you could have on your own, more and better information than you could gather on your own, wiser and sager perspective than you could gather in 1,000 years of living — and they’ll share it with you. You’ll blow past the secret-keepers as if you were driving a car that exists in a world with different and superior physics. Like we said, information used to be rare … but now it’s so ridiculously plentiful that you will never make sense of it on your own. You need help, and you need to help others. And, by the way? Keep in mind that …

Reputation Is Everything: Google isn’t a search engine. Google is a reputation-managment system. What do we search for, anyway? Mostly people, products, ideas — and what we want to know are, what do other people think about this stuff? All this blogging, Flickring, MySpacing, journaling — and, most of all, linking — has transformed the Internet into a world where it’s incredibly easy to figure out what the world thinks about you, your neighbor, the company you work for, or the stuff you were blabbing about four years ago. It might seem paradoxical, but in a situation like that, it’s better to be an active participant in the ongoing conversation than to stand off and refuse to participate. Because, okay, let’s say you don’t want to blog, or to Flickr, or to participate in online discussion threads. That means the next time someone Googles you they’ll find … everything that everyone else has said about you, rather than the stuff you’ve said yourself. (Again — just ask Sony about this one.) The only way to improve and buff your reputation is to dive in and participate. Be open. Be generous. Throw stuff out there — your thoughts, your ideas, your personality. Trust comes from transparency.”

Oh and what did the management of the company think about my three tenets? You guessed it, of course they scoffed at me. Sigh…