My mother told me a great story about baking (if you don’t know already, I love to bake!). When she was a little girl, she decided to make a cake. She put together all of the ingredients: flour, salt, baking powder, eggs and milk. After 30 minutes in the oven, the cake was done and ready to cool. When she served the first piece of cake, she was surprised by the reaction. She had done everything right – the baking time, the ingredients… Then she realized that she had not added any sugar.
Knowledge-sharing practices are a critical ingredient to our processes. That’s because sharing knowledge isn’t something separate from what we do every day. It’s a part of our processes, and it’s what connects our processes together. What moves our processes along (and moves our work through separate processes) are deliverables. A deliverable in this context is something that is produced by one team member (or team) and reused as an input for another team member’s process. Knowledge is almost always a part of this deliverable. Too often, though, we don’t share knowledge effectively. We build and share knowledge based on our needs, not the needs of the person who is going to consume or reuse it (which is the way we should be sharing our knowledge).
So, how do you start improving the way you are sharing knowledge?
It starts with the realization that your organization is sharing knowledge differently than other organizations, even inside the larger company or division in which you work. You need to know how effectively you are sharing knowledge now and what your organization’s specific challenges are that keep it from flowing.
Take the assessment
Get started by understanding what ingredients you have in place to effectively share knowledge. The place to start is with the Klever Assessment. In less than 5 minutes, you can see how well your organization is sharing now (we’ll show you where you are in one of our four quadrants).
You’ll receive an immediate report that tells you how effectively you are sharing and some of the roadblocks you might run into as you try to get better. Klever research uncovered four groups that organizations naturally fall into when it comes to knowledge sharing readiness and adoption. The trick is to understand your reality and determine the best path forward – to avoid getting stuck in the sand, or worse yet, abandon the idea altogether.
Reality check. Organizations in this category typically fall into one of two groups: 1) They’re new to knowledge sharing and aren’t quite sure where to begin, or 2) they tried knowledge sharing before but they’re stuck. Why? Often it’s the lack of ongoing commitment after the excitement of the launch, or perhaps the executive sponsor got distracted by the latest “shiny object.”
All Talk. Some people on your team may believe that KM is all talk. Organizations in this boat typically have a strategic vision, but can’t quite deliver on the tactical side. In other words, they have a plan but they’re struggling to execute. The difficulty may be a gap between knowing and doing, a lack of resources, or perhaps management gets distracted by the latest “shiny object.”
Self-aware. Maybe you – and the rest of your team – are pretty self-aware and committed to the mission. Organizations in this group execute fairly well on tactical objectives. You probably follow procedures properly and take care of escalations and crises after they erupt. However, you fall behind industry leaders (the enlightened group) by not doing as well on strategic stuff. For example, do you take the time to step back and think about how to prevent crises from happening – especially the ones that happen again and again? Have you communicated your organization’s big picture to your own group?
Enlightened. Organizations score in this rarified category for one of two reasons. This usually means either that there is a strong leader who is experienced and informed about knowledge sharing or that you are a relatively small organization. Congratulations! There’s still work to do.
Chances are high that your team falls into one of these groups. Chances are higher that some individuals in your organization will size up your situation differently than you do. Four different team members, potentially four different results. Have everyone on your team spend just five minutes to take the Klever Assessment online, simple, unique, and free.
If you’ve got a bigger team and want a fast assessment without waiting for two days of onsite consulting, contact Finula Darwin (firstname.lastname@example.org). We can customize our assessment for you and provide an hour-long, action-oriented benchmarking report and plan with one of our experts. All in less than one day.