Fundamentally knowledge management is about making the right knowledge available to the right people at the right time. So why is it many employees and employers fail to share valuable information that could save someone else time or win someone else new business. Also, I strongly believe what goes around comes around, so share knowledge how you would like knowledge to be shared with you, don’t hoard it away like a squirrel stashing nuts.
Many would say the purpose of knowledge sharing is to help your company meet its business objectives. However, knowledge is often seen as information, but I read a great article recently that is spot on. It used a cake as a metaphor. It stated that the ingredients was the information. It then stated a good cook would probably be able to make the cake and a good cake, however a not so experienced cook may not. The reason is there is no recipe. The knowledge is the recipe. Now the good cook will make an excellent cake.
There is also a lot of information on the internet today, however they say 70% of statistics are made up, so what do you believe? Therefore the success of knowledge sharing between peers is crucial, but it can depend on the habit and willingness of you and your employees to seek out, and be receptive to, these knowledge sources. It also relies heavily on implementing and using the right tools to share knowledge.
Here are some key areas where knowledge sharing can aid the business;
1. We are in a world of accelerated change these days, so keeping knowledge up to date is just as key as starting it in the first place. Staff turnover. Knowledge doesn’t walk out the door when staff leave and when new staff join, knowledge gives your new employees a much better chance to get into the flow of day to day work at a quicker rate.
2. Knowledge sharing can save time. Think how much time you spend searching for information in many systems, and how many times do you find nothing relevant or you question the validity. Knowledge sharing by the people you know and work with should build trust in the information.
3. Competitive advantage. If you aren’t doing it you can be damn sure one of your competitors are. Why would you turn down the chance to gain competitive edge?
In conclusion, you need to be creating the right knowledge sharing culture. To do that, the right knowledge tool can make all the difference, and companies that centrally collaborate are far more successful than their not so open counterparts.