Does your company face a Triple-Threat that will cause the loss of your company’s lifeblood – customers?
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“Science is organized knowledge. Wisdom is organized life.” — Immanuel Kant.
Whenever your employees leave for any reason — even just to go home — they take all or most of your company’s most valuable assets with them.
Every time they walk out your door, you say good-bye to:
your trained employees who possess…
your intellectual capital and conduct …
your proprietary business processes.
And when you l’ose any part of those three assets, you risk losing customers.
I’m sure this is not news to you.
But, the question is: What can you do about it?
You can protect yourself from this Triple-Threat by slaying one of your company’s worst enemies – undocumented (tacit) employee knowledge (your intellectual capital).
Here’s an example of what I’m talking about: I recently met a couple in a restaurant.
Sam was in real estate, and Betty worked for PeopleSoft. Betty was losing her job due to the Oracle/PeopleSoft merger.
Betty’s boss asked her to go to India to train her replacement!
Well, I suppose her manager had nothing to l’ose by asking. But, you can imagine her answer.
OK,n0w multiply this problem by 5,000 employees! (As I recall, that is how many will be laid off in the merger.)
Baaaaad timing! As a manager, you must not wait until your employees are packing to leave to ask them to document their positions and tacit knowledge.
MURPHY’S LAW OF THERMODYNAMICS “Things get worse under pressure.”
Too busy to manage knowledge?
I have helped companies that were moving all or part of their company out of California. Some employees were moving with the company, some were being “let go.”
The employees who were moving to the new location were “too busy moving” to document their work. Besides, they already “know their job.”
Worse, most people being laid off were uncooperative to-the-max when it came time to document their (lost) positions!
They had virtually nothing to gain and little to l’ose – except maybe a good recommendation (except management couldn’t really make that threat).
Really, during good times, it is difficult to get employees to document their positions and divulge their tacit knowledge – unless management provides an incentive. In fact, I recommend that you make it part of their position contract.
“Even in the best of times, it’s a battle to convince employees to participate in knowledge management programs. But in tough times, the tendency is for employees to horde what they know.” — Lauren Gibbons Paul
How to use your employee’s knowledge to help your company.
Knowledge Management experts agree that tacit knowledge is the most valuable type of knowledge to a company. Thus, the value of most companies lies in their knowledge assets!
However, knowledge does not eliminate the need for skill – knowledge must be backed by skillful application of that knowledge.
As a manager, your success depends on your ability to capture and manage those assets. Don’t rely on random emails and documents. Instead, foster a culture of sharing knowledge.
One of the best knowledge management systems you can implement is to develop operations manuals (before it is too late).
Knowledge alone is not enough – it takes management support for employee satisfaction.
A label has emerged for employees who are hired for what they know: “Knowledge Workers.”
The management of knowledge workers boils down to a marketing application, where management asks the question, “What do the knowledge workers want from us?” Instead of, “What do we want from them?”
Most knowledge workers want management’s support. And they derive job-satisfaction from using their special knowledge to solve problems and make a contribution.
“People have to see tremendous immediate benefit from knowledge management. They have to see, smell, touch and taste how it’s going to improve their work lives. — Barbara Saidel, CIO, Russell Reynolds Associates
Questions to ponder
As a manager, what “knowledge” are you more interested in – theories or how to apply them?
Why do you hire a knowledge worker?
What is your key resource today – m0ney or knowledge?
How could you use m0ney to leverage special knowledge? How could you use special knowledge to leverage m0ney?
As an employer, how much, (if any) of your employees’ intellectual capital do you “own?”
What’s more important – the intellectual capital or its effective application?
What did you learn today that you found most beneficial?
How will you apply what you have learned at work?
Any other comments are welcome:
The brain is a wonderful organ. It starts working the moment you get up in the morning and does not stop until you get into the office. — Robert Frost
Until next week…
Mike Hayden, Principal/Consultant Your partner in streamlining business.
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(c) 2005 Mike Hayden, All rights reserved. You may use material from the Profitable Venture Tactics eZine in whole or in part, as long as you include complete attribution, including live website links and email link.