We recently posted a new white paper, entitled Knowledge Transfer: Preserving Your Secret Sauce, to our website (see the Executive Summary and the full white paper download). I wrote this white paper to explain—and shape—how I see the field of knowledge transfer developing. I crammed in practical ideas, busted many myths, and showed applications to common problems. I also laid out some predictions for the future. Since the 20 pages are pretty packed, it may be helpful to call out three parts of the paper that should be particularly useful to senior executives tasked with managing talent and mitigating workforce risks.
Real-Life Scenarios Illustrating 10 Common Business Problems Solved by Knowledge Transfer
The white paper’s Executive Summary only briefly touches on this section, but the ten scenarios given in the full white paper should be very helpful to executives. The scenarios help to quickly assess if knowledge transfer may be the answer to challenges they face. I’ve personally seen each of these scenarios play out in the business world. Through knowledge transfer, businesses have cut costs, increased productivity, and fostered innovation.
Dispel 8 Common Misconceptions about Knowledge Transfer
In short, learn what you don’t know so you can avoid the mistakes of others. Of the listed misconceptions, I find the most prevalent are: “our workers can’t transfer their secret sauce to coworkers because this stuff is ‘un-transferable’” (not true, any wisdom—explicit or tactic—is transferable, as long as the apprentice has the capacity to learn it), “our workers are too busy for this” (the process is quicker than you think—and can you really afford for your secret sauce to remain siloed or to head out the door?), and lastly, “our experts don’t want to mentor”(in 20 years I’ve found fewer than 5 people for whom this was true; instead, your experts need clear direction, tools, and accountability).
A Call to the Community: Who Is Solving These Problems?
The power of this blog and the community we wish to create will come from sharing ideas, news, information, and wisdom. We mean it when we say that if you are actively solving any of the ten business problems listed in our white paper WITHOUT using knowledge transfer, we want to know about you and your process. And if you ARE using knowledge transfer, we want to learn about the model you are applying. Or, if you feel you are facing a truly unique situation and knowledge problem, and you don’t know where to go from here, let us know that, too. We love a challenge. Together we can explore new approaches and innovations and get the word out.
Up Next Week: Competency Models … and the Emperor’s New Clothes.