The Long Term Value of Current Content and Knowledge Sharing = Your Relevance

The future relevance of your organization and the value you can provide to customers and stakeholders is determined by your organization’s ability to share knowledge!

Making knowledge sharing a sustainable part of success is a vital component of long term organization success, particularly in organizations comprised primarily of knowledge workers.

Knowledge sharing happens when knowledge is voluntarily passed from one person to another, whether it is done so formally or informally, as part of the work flow. When an organization’s culture is built on knowledge sharing, there is often a high level of trust among peers. Collaboration then improves and the ability to seek knowledge to solve problems increases, as does the ability to find solutions to new challenges and problems, and subsequently, the quality of decision making also improves as does customer support. Having current knowledge to share makes a big difference.

Achievements in your ability to “connect-collect-collaborate” through enabling technology and content management solutions that you put in place provide a solid and effective base not only for promoting, but also for sustaining knowledge sharing and embedding a sustainable knowledge sharing culture. As you likely know, enabling technology and content management solutions are important, but not a standalone capability that can singularly improve your ability to leverage knowledge to continuously improve performance and promote the change behavior required.

Although the value of knowledge sharing is clear to many, we know from our experience that it is the rare organization that promotes and successfully sustains a knowledge sharing culture. In many organizations, knowledge hoarding happens a lot more often than knowledge sharing does.  Very often a reason for this is the lack of a current, evolving knowledge base and a lack of continuity across KM implementation activities.  Another is the decision of leadership not to connect its technology capability with its knowledge sharing capability often through a perception that there isn’t time to connect both. This is true when KM is viewed as extra effort and not part of the work flow of the organization.

With enabling technology and content management tools, a workforce’s ability to find the knowledge needed will improve, but the knowledge found may not always be current, or even there to be found.  The ability to capture knowledge born from addressing new situations or challenges is also necessary.

This also requires an ability to make sense out of this knowledge, and then the ability to characterize this knowledge for reuse in the context of your organization.  Enabling technology and content management solutions provide the “capability” by making knowledge (content) searchable, findable, downloadable, and reusable. The challenge is how to ensure that there is constant source of (new) current knowledge reflective of the ongoing operations and learnings of your workforce so that the workforce can seek, find, use and share knowledge.

Workers will search for the knowledge needed, and if they find it, more often than not, they will continue to use the enabling tools and technology you provide to them. If not, they will, as a minimum, likely revert to storing what they think they need on their desk tops and hard drives, in effect marginalizing any efforts to date invested to change knowledge sharing and knowledge seeking behavior, even with their new tools and technology capabilities.

For consideration and comment.


About Working KnowledgeCSP

Working KnowledgeCSP is a knowledge management consulting company.  We operate internationally, within the public and private sectors, to help organizations “Create Value from their Knowledge.”  Through our client co-delivery model, we provide practical, experience based knowledge management solutions and training from the simple to the complex.