Knowledge is no longer power, because knowledge is everywhere – or at least knowledge is accessible everywhere.

We live in a world where information is at our fingertips. All we need do is Google a question on our gizmos to find the answer. Or perhaps YouTube it to see how we should do it. Or join an online community at arm’s length to air, share and gather the information we need.

The problem is that the opportunity cost of spending more time online means that we communicate less in person. While our fingertips do the talking our relationships do the tumbling. We have more information but less face to face interaction which leads to a deterioration in our human connection with others. Therefore those individuals and teams that frequently get together to actually talk with one another are more likely to develop a behavioural edge in this Information Age.

But why is this behavioural edge so important?

Because your clients and customers most likely already have access to the answer themselves – before they even meet you. Indeed they probably have as much, if not more, information at their fingertips as you do. What they are searching for now is the reassurance of someone who can deliver in line with their values. But what they might struggle to find is a partner or supplier with strong interpersonal behaviours – someone who can hold a conversation with them, who has the presence of mind to really listen and then the honesty to act not just ethically but morally. To be present and give undivided attention at a time when attention spans are short and shrinking; to ask relevant and mindful questions; drill down into the finer details that often make a difference to peace of mind. Create space and time to think. Add value that transcends information. Such nuances are being lost in the vortex of cyber space and creating a void or black hole in personal and professional relationships.

Content and therefore knowledge is accessible everywhere twenty-four seven. There is no longer power in information. The answers are already at our fingertips. What sophisticated clients are looking for now is a behavioural edge – not one that is bound by statute but one that is embodied by those human values of courtesy, decency and service beyond selling or self-interest. This more mindful approach is one that we are helping our own clients to think about and develop.

Behaviour is now trumping knowledge. But don’t take my word for it. When you’ve finished reading this article, ask the person next to you . . . if you’re not alone.

Author: Thomas Chalmers

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