Knowledge plays a significant role in high-performance. Companies bank on the knowledge of people who build it. Capturing and using the knowledge of people gained through routine work and association with customers is not an easy task. A lot of companies make it their business to build tools for knowledge management. Routine practices within the company is a reflection of the shared knowledge and value system – the culture of the company. Practices evolve through applied knowledge of people in the company at all levels.
When companies focus on current actions and outcomes heavily, they tend to achieve results as expected. At the same time, the company and its employees tend to develop selective attention. People tend to ignore adjacencies, other possibilities and upsetting disruptions in their business. The knowledge acquired through experiences that is not routinely used becomes hidden, locked. These nuggets have to be unlocked for higher performance and business sustainability.
Unlocking the hidden knowledge within the company should be a key priority for business leaders to remain on top-of-the-game, to remain relevant in the changing dynamics of the market. One of the ways to carry out is to involve a cross-section of people in solving critical business problems and identifying new possibilities with the current resources and capabilities of the organization. Encouraging open-innovation and democratizing innovation within the company helps in routinely unlocking the hidden knowledge.
At an individual level too, you develop selective attention. The significant amount of knowledge you gain through work gets locked. Unlock this hidden knowledge periodically by participating in work away from your comfort zone. Volunteer in other functional areas. Challenge yourself in discovering and proposing new ideas and ways-of-working. Make the best use of it.
be a #dreamerdoer
Knowledge Management is expected to help a company navigate through future course of action via the collection of working bits from the past. At an individual level, knowledge acquired through training and experience is useful only when applied successfully in a practical context of the profession. University trained doctors are expected to translate their academic or theoretical knowledge of medical discipline into the practice of their clinic/ hospital. It works. Else, you cannot progress further in your career or profession. Even-though, it may not be well structured, you have an internal system that makes you learn and adopt.
At work, knowledge is expected to transfer successfully between departments, teams and people doing different work in different parts of the organisation and many a times – at different points of time. Since transfer over organisational interfaces and boundaries often fail to materialise, the need of managing that comes to play. You will see a lot of attempts to make this work through deployment of technology interventions – tools, techniques and methods. Supplemented by awards, rewards and recognitions. But, you will also notice that most of these become elements of tick-in-the-box, very quickly. Knowledge management slowly turns into Archives Management.
Making the knowledge/ learning systematically transferred into day-to-day practice is the key to increase the efficiency of transfer. Instead of building a knowledge management system and several costly interventions, change the way-of-working routinely. As and when new and important knowledge/learning is acquired/discovered. If the piece of learning can not be translated to an application in the routine work, chances of that fading away even in the memory of the system is very high.
The value of the knowledge is in the application of it in practice. Devise and support a knowledge-movement. The one that helps transfer of knowledge into routine practice without the-management. This will make knowledge management work for you.
be a #dreamerdoer