As a leader runs an organization, it is important to hire people who have the domain knowledge of the business that they are in. These people are called subject matter experts (SME). They know the ins and outs of the business, and can help your organization traverse the landscape and develop new products or services that can help you increase your market share.
Like a typical lifecycle, when an SME leaves the firm, the organization suffers some form of loss of knowledge. Depending on the extent of the loss, the firm might lose its competitive advantage. The question to be answered is: how does an organization retain knowledge or share knowledge?
Here are some of the ways to spread the knowledge:
- Set up a Knowledge Management System -- All topics must be documented and stored in the knowledge management system as a reference for the future. The project's team is responsible for keeping the document up to date. There must be an audit process to review and ensure that things are current or still relevant.
- Lunch and Learn -- Lunch and learn is an effective way of sharing knowledge across a diverse audience. This can be done in a local setting or via Webex. This type of knowledge sharing is effective because you can do a demo of a particular topic. In addition, it allows your audience to have a question and answer portion.
- Show and Tell -- The purpose of such a session is to exchange information between two groups. This is effective in getting people up to speed. It is essential to demonstrate how things are done, letting the person shadow you while you're doing the work, then later letting them do the same job while you supervise them.
- Workshop -- This can evolve in two forms: sharing of theories, or group exercise that can immerse your team in group activities.
The retaining of knowledge is a competitive edge. Keeping the knowledge and your ability to evolve it are crucial to your organization's ability to create a sustainable business model that can retain or increase your market shares. Ultimately, each organization has to safeguard the knowledge of how they conduct their business. It is important to protect and keep your knowledge safe. Understand that the threat of knowledge being lost is a real issue that everyone faces on a daily basis.
What can you do to keep your competitive edge?