Since the dawn of time...literally...all living creatures have been programmed to pass their knowledge on to their successors. For most lifeforms, that knowledge passes quite naturally through a reliably consistent strain of DNA. For more intelligent life - like, say, mammals - much of that transfer happens through observation, mimic, and a penchant for survival. And for even more intelligent life - like, say, human beings - it happens through a helluva lot of time in class rooms, in front of blackboards, with endless reels of audio and video; there are pop-quizzes, mid-terms, finals...reams of paper; there are curricula upon curricula; there are aides, teachers, and profs; there are late nights in libraries, countless boxes of NoDoz; and there is a lot time with one's butt in a seat.
if you already know it, why do i need to know it too
For humans, this never really stops. Just when you think you've taken your last class, you get a job. And then you spend a lot of time learning again. Sure, some of that learning is more experiential - on-the-job. But lots of it sure feels like K through 12 all over again. Learning is good...continuous learning is better. It's what makes us the "most intelligent" life on our planet: an innate desire to better ourselves.
Don't you think, though, there is a time in our lives when we should stop learning what everyone else already knows and start discovering what no one else does?
We, after all, possess the brainpower to speculate, wonder, imagine, hypothesize. We can grasp the abstract. We are curious. Yet we insist on spending more time telling people what we already know (like you're 'all that'). If you already know it, why do I need to know it too? Why not prep me for learning something new? Why not teach me how to explore..to uncover what we wish we knew? Why not arm me with the skills (and permission) to actually challenge what you dodos think you already know?
This isn't the Serengeti. Lions have been hunting, killing, and then eating their prey the same way forever...foooooorever. It already works (damn well) and there ain't a lot of lions coming up with anything new. Lions are o.k. with this. Survival in the human world and in the ecosystem of work, however, is increasingly about figuring out what no one else knows first.
laboratories, not lecture halls
Great companies do this already. They don't spend a lot of time transferring well-established knowledge. They may give you enough to get your sea-legs. But then they set you free, brother. They actually want you to teach them something. They put you into a laboratory...not a lecture hall. They want you to discover that shit on your own, thank you. Sadly, most companies don't do this. They put their wisest (oldest) people in front of the blackboard (and at the top of the org chart). And then they hold session. They impart their knowledge as if it were a gift to all.
It's no longer a gift, people. It's a commodity...a common knowledge. You can find this stuff anywhere. Any.Where. What you can't find...that's what we all really want to know. That's what will really rev your employees. And ultimately it's what's going to give your business the edge. So stop teaching and start finding.