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What Do You Know For Sure?

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We’re overloaded with data every hour of every day (do you dare to turn off your Blackberry at night?!) but what do we actually retain, let alone share?

Google Chris Rawlinson’s “Did You Know” video;  I was gobsmacked with the pace of change and how it continues to escalate.  David Derbyshire says:  “The amount of data sent to a typical person in the course of a year is the equivalent of every person in the world reading 174 newspapers every single day”.  No wonder people can’t sleep;  their minds aren’t able to shut down for long with all that stimulation.

Lisa Quast, contributor to Forbes Magazine (August 2012) says:   “This overload of data is making knowledge management increasingly more important.  Three key reasons why actively managing knowledge is important to a company’s success are:

  • Facilitates decision making capabilities.
  • Builds learning organizations buy making learning routine.
  • Stimulates culture change and innovation”.

As I meet with clients, more are at least talking about KM but few have yet to implement strategies for: tackling forthcoming Boomer retirements, retaining more mobile Gen Y-Zer’s longer, capturing data and information then sharing knowledge more efficiently and effectively. 

Conference Board of Canada’s paper “Bridging the Gaps:  how to transfer knowledge in today’s multi-generational workplace” confirms that most companies have no plan for transferring knowledge;  even fewer factor in generational challenges in business strategy.

Hubert St. Onge  www.saintongealliance.com says: “It’s critical that business, customer, organizational and knowledge strategies are fully aligned”.

Consider Google’s Vision:  “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful”.  

If you’re an employer of, say,  200 employees, you’re probably becoming weak in the knees just thinking where to start in your own organization.  

A new player in the KM market is Transition-Path Inc.  www.transition-path.com with its integrated suite of on-line solutions:

  • BroadScope:  extracts the framework of knowledge from the incumbent leaving the role, in partnership with the manager.  Proven methodology allows detailed and complex subject matter to be organized and delivered, both visually and in a written report, within 60 minutes.
  • Detailed Discovery:  probes more deeply for key insights learned over time through experience.
  • Organized Knowledge:  provides a framework for the manager to transfer the knowledge to the successor more effectively, efficiently and economically.

I recently presented this solution to the 16 member Board of Directors of a not for profit as they prepared to search for a new Executive Director.  The Board, in its wisdom, decided the actual cost of the solution was not in their modest budget.  They met as a group, 2 hours a week for 3 weeks (that’s 96 hours in opportunity costs…excluding any time individuals may have spent on their own!).  Even using a conservative $50.00 per hour per person (many of the Board members are professionals who bill $200.00-$300.00 an hour in their day jobs), they spent $4,800.00 in opportunity costs…and still didn’t have a Role and Responsibilities document in place.  A BroadScope could have extracted the knowledge they needed and wanted from the Board Chair and incumbent in about an hour for significantly less money!

So the challenge is for more employers to:

  • Identify knowledge holders within their organizations
  • Motivate them to share what they know
  • Find an appropriate sharing mechanism;  it isn’t necessary to re-invent the wheel! 
  • Execute the process with excellence
  • Measure the results and return on investment
  • Transfer the knowledge 

These days, knowledge is every organization’s competitive advantage.  Being strategic about capturing it and nimble in transferring it is critical to success!