Knowledge Loss Due to Workforce Turnover:  “The combination of changing law, policy and regulation, coupled with turnover in both our workforce and leadership diminishes our ability to effectively capture and then to adapt and reuse our critical knowledge.”

Knowledge Loss Due to Workforce Turnover:   “Losing our smart people is a challenge at both the workforce and the leadership levels because it is hard to find skilled and experienced replacements who can easily step into their “shoes.” Challenges exist due to changing demographics and generational differences that encompass skills, cultural norms, and work expectations.  Employees with the particular knowledge required for a given task or situation are not always available when we need them. This results in losses in productivity, poor cycle time, and errors that could be avoided with more effective ways of retaining this essential knowledge.

Poor Delivery Quality: “We don’t regularly take the time to learn from our mistakes so we often do the same things wrong again and again, especially with the new employees. It really impacts our quality and our customer’s view of our value.”

Adapting to Change:  “We don’t do change well and it impacts our ability to adapt to changes in the marketplace — we lost our competitive advantage.”

Adapting to Change:  “We had a ‘critical event’ impact our company. Very quickly we had to focus on the major and critical changes that had now become our most complex strategic and leadership challenges because they had the clear potential to impact the future of the entire organization. We needed to make some very quick changes in how we operated so that mission achievement and customer support were minimally impacted. There was some really important knowledge that we needed that we couldn’t get.”

Finding Knowledge:  “My workforce complains that they can’t find what the information they need to get their work done, to take care of their customers, and to get the tools and techniques they need to be successful.”

Business Process Analysis and Mapping:  “We don’t have any maps of our critical organizational, operational, or business processes so it’s hard to explain to new employees what we do or how they should do it much less making any changes in these processes when we do something wrong and have to fix it permanently.”

Aligning Process, Execution, and Training:  “We send people to training on our processes so they can learn what they need to do their job but when they finish training, it often isn’t the way we actually are doing the work.”

Strategic Plan for Knowledge Management:   “We view ourselves as a sophisticated company but what it comes down to is we don’t have a “strategic concept” for making our knowledge accessible and reusable as part of  the way we
do business.”

Leveraging Knowledge to Ensure Continuity of Operations:  “Frankly, we have an incomplete plan for business continuity planning.  We have been focused primarily on the protection of physical assets and the continuity necessary for the physical assets of our critical infrastructure to operate. What we now realize we need to do but have not done is focus on the people in our company and what they know that we all need to know to survive a catastrophe and support recovery. For example, most companies affected by the attack on the World Trade Center in 2001 had backed up their data, documented their procedures, and established contingency plans for physical facilities, telecommunications, IT, and emergency operations. Few, if any, were prepared for the loss of human capital in the form of critical talent, expertise, experience, creativity, and business judgment.”

Knowledge Management Assessment:  I can see the value in capturing and reusing lessons learned. We already do some of this. How do I know if my organization is ready to really move forward with a knowledge management program?

KM Measurement and Return on Investment:  If I invest in a knowledge management program, how can I convince my organization that it is not a cost but an investment that will help us do what we do better. . . I need to show a the value of this.”

Leveraging your critical and relevant knowledge as “part of the way you operate” is a strategic investment essential for any organization’s success.  It requires you to plan, develop, and sustain a lifecycle approach to capturing, adapting, retaining, and reusing critical individual, team, and organizational knowledge.