In a previous blog, we talked about how we can use knowledge transfer to mitigate talent risk by creating an ecosystem of experts who can provide backup for a departing executive. I mentioned that one of our clients was preparing to replace a retiring executive. They had identified his
I’ve been meeting with a lot of executives lately dealing with top leadership transitions. In the next few blogs, I’m going to talk about how knowledge transfer can help executives manage talent risk at the highest level. We’ll start off with the need for developing a strong team approach or “ecosystem” that mitigates the risk to the enterprise when an executive moves on.
For example, I was recently approached by the head of HR for a multinational corporation that specializes in the manufacture of imaging and optical solutions.
How do you recognize and reward successful knowledge transfer? Over the years we’ve seen managers get pretty creative in how they publicly celebrate mentors and apprentices for their achievements together: awards, events, gifts—you name it.
Not only can these programs be fun, but good managers understand that recognition also serves a critical function: helping to drive measurable results and embed knowledge transfer in your culture.
HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT PROGRAM
Choosing the right way
A structured knowledge transfer program intentionally moves critical knowledge and skills from employee to employee on the job. One marker of a good knowledge transfer program is versatility—the process should work in all types of business environments. For example, my knowledge transfer consulting firm was recently asked this question by a potential client:
How might your 3-step knowledge transfer process work with a firm that runs on billable hours to their clients? Making time to train people and/or transfer knowledge is a challenge.
DEFINITION: A mentor is an expert (“subject matter expert,” “SME,” “domain expert,” “pro,” “guru,” “go-to person,” “rock star,” “buddy,” “genius,” etc.)—in any industry or line of work—who has unique, business-critical knowledge and needs or is asked to teach that knowledge to others. The knowledge can be explicit or tacit. And, a mentor can be any age and have 50 years seniority in an organization or one day. The essential factor is that the mentor knows something that others in an organization need to know in order to be successful.
There’s a common misconception in business that many subject matter experts are unwilling or unable to transfer their knowledge to coworkers.