My Dad taught me as a child to count to 5 while watering each pot and before moving to the next one. 40 years later, I am still counting to 5 when I water. This small trick was Dad’s way of teaching me to water plants. It took the nebulous ‘how long do I water each plant?’ into something practical and simple.
I remember as a child being asked by another child how I hit the baseball so far. I shrugged and said, ‘I just swing’.
According to Wikipedia, tacit knowledge is ‘knowledge that is difficult to express or extract, and thus more difficult to transfer to others by means of writing it down or verbalizing it.’ And it is everywhere.
Whether it is watering the garden, playing baseball, digital transformation or something else. You and I have tacit knowledge in areas of our lives. Things we ‘just know’. And there can be immense value in trying to teach others what we know or want. By pausing and thinking about what we are doing, each little step, we not only can teach others, but we teach ourselves.
Often change is a lot about tacit knowledge. Letting some of it go and developing new tacit knowledge. This is one of the reasons it is uncomfortable. As a change maker, one of our jobs is make the tacit knowledge real, a bit more formal. We need to practice communicating it.
And we can get better at it by attempting to articulate what we know or why we do something we do. It won’t go well at first, but the only way to become better at something is to keep at it.