The Knowledge and Innovation Network (KIN) is a members only community, however this blog reflects musings and interests of the KIN Facilitators and members that may be of interest to the wider world.
Thursday, 1 December 2016
The Hippocratic Oath - as applied to the modern learning organisation
Most of us have heard of the Hippocratic Oath - the 2,500 year-old text solemnly recited by newly qualified doctors. I had never actually read it until today. I was struck at how appropriate it is when applied to knowledge sharing and learning in modern organisations.
I have reproduced the oath below, adapted by me for workers in complex, knowledge-based organizations. I have substituted only a handful words (in italics). These replace a few specific medical terms and I have omitted three sentences that are wholly medical in nature.
I will respect the hard-won gains of those colleagues in whose steps I walk, and gladly share such knowledge as is mine with those who are to follow.
I will apply, for the benefit of my colleagues, all measures which are required, avoiding those twin traps of hubris and nihilism.
I will not be ashamed to say "I know not," nor will I fail to call in my colleagues when the skills of another are needed to solve a problem.
I will respect the privacy of my colleagues, for their problems are not disclosed to me that the world may know. Most especially must I tread with care in confidential matters. If it is given me to save a project, all thanks. This responsibility must be faced with great humbleness and awareness of my own frailty.
I will prevent decisions that are not based on evidence whenever I can, for prevention is preferable to cure.
I will remember that I remain a member of the organization for which I work, with special obligations to all my colleagues.
If I do not violate this oath, may I enjoy life and art, respected while I live and remembered with affection thereafter. May I always act so as to preserve the finest standards of knowledge and learning and may I long experience the joy of helping those who seek my know-how.
It is almost uncanny how appropriate the Hippocratic Oath is for those working in knowledge-based, modern organisations. However, I am under no illusion that getting knowledge workers to recite this at the time of their annual appraisal will not make the slightest difference.