What Leaders Need to Know About Knowledge Management
Delighted to host this guest post by knowledge management expert and author, Emil Hajric, CEO of Helpjuice
Leaders in any field should appreciate the value of a well managed, easily accessible knowledge base. However, the processes involved in accumulating and curating mission-critical information might either be entirely unfamiliar to you, which is entirely understandable given the intricacies of the systems and solutions involved. To get you up to speed, here are some of the crucial knowledge management processes that it makes sense for every leader to comprehend and acknowledge.
Before you push ahead with plans to generate new knowledge and tap into fresh fonts of information, it makes sense to take stock and ensure that you are able to detect and harness any existing resources that may already be at your disposal.
Delving into and extracting value from data which is already available in-house requires a proactive approach. You can look for explicit knowledge of this kind using tools designed to analyze documents and search for relevant information according to the parameters you set.
Benefiting from tacit knowledge, specifically, that which is possessed by specialists within your team or wider organization is a little trickier. You need to think carefully and pay attention to individuals to work out what specialized types of information each employee might possess. This can be achieved most effectively through the use of broad tools like surveys or targeted solutions like interviews and group observation.
Another important process involved in discovering knowledge is carrying out an examination of the practices and routines that are embedded in the organization itself. Unless you step back and ask why it is that particular aspects operate in a given way, you may not be able to learn anything from this, for good or ill.
Once you know where information is available and where it might be gathered from, you need to settle on the processes and solutions that will give you the best opportunity to collate this.
There are generally two options here; the aforementioned knowledge base, which can be centrally managed and contributed to by a small group, or a corporate wiki which is open to submissions from all parties.
A wiki is an accessible, albeit chaotic way to organize knowledge. It may lack structure and central oversight, but it can be a suitable solution in some settings.
A knowledge base is arguably more appealing for a number of reasons. The ability to administer it directly and ensure that all information which is added has your seal of approval can improve consistency and eliminate any potential ambiguity.
Leaders must make sure that information is disseminated among team members to avoid common mistakes recurring again and again, and also keep levels of productivity on an upward trajectory. It is no surprise that poor knowledge sharing processes can cost large firms up to $47 million annually.
Having suitable solutions in place to allow for swift, unrestricted sharing of knowledge will not just be effective in a training context, but should also catalyze collaboration between colleagues. If everyone is on the same page with regards to information and practices, a lot of the obstacles that can hamper progress with projects will be overcome.
Of course, another aspect of a leader’s role in this respect is to ensure that once the facilities for knowledge sharing are in place, they are subsequently pointed out to relevant parties and harnessed in the right way. If these resources are available but remain ignored, then the potential benefits they offer will be lost.
Ultimately the advantage of successful knowledge management is the ability to stick to your goals as a leader and ensure that every member of your team and organization is focused on a relevant aim. With unfettered access to information, you should stifle inefficient aspects of your operations and makes sure your business is running like a well-oiled machine going forwards.
Image Source: Pixabay
Emil Hajric is the Founder of Helpjuice, a leading knowledge management platform used by large and medium-sized enterprises. He is an expert in knowledge management & author of Knowledge Management: A Theoretical and Practical Guide for Knowledge Management in Your Organization