It should go without saying that knowledge is at the heart of every organization. It’s what differentiates your products, drives departmental interaction, and keeps your business thriving. But knowledge can also be a bottleneck when not utilized to its fullest potential.
Knowledge can fall into two categories, explicit and tacit. Explicit knowledge is the kind that keeps companies thriving and makes life easier for everyone involved in your business structure. It’s the knowledge that can be readily articulated, codified, accessed, and verbalized. It can also be easily transmitted to others, meaning departmental interaction – and interaction with your customers – is made easier.
On the other hand, tacit knowledge cannot transfer easily from one person to another, and is sometimes referred to as hidden knowledge. It is knowledge gained from personal experiences and can be very difficult to articulate. Chances are that your organization, like most, has more tacit than explicit knowledge living inside of it.
Think of it like an iceberg of knowledge. Only 10% may be explicit and easily shared across the organization and to your customers, while 90% is hidden deep in the minds of your employees. How can you avoid the iceberg concept and share that important 90%? Begin with these six steps:
First, you need to identify the audience’s need for knowledge. In a customer service approach, the audience’s need could be a question in your support ticketing system. In an internal sense, the need of your employees may be a centralized space where they memorialize and access knowledge to increase efficiency and productivity.
You understand what knowledge is needed, but who has it? You must identify the experts – internally or externally – who could best answer questions and provide insight. Here are some tips to get you started on ways to avoid letting good workers hoard knowledge.
Documentation is key for transforming tacit knowledge into explicit knowledge. The information needs to be codified and memorialized for reuse. Capturing knowledge, together with organizing knowledge, makes reuse possible.
Another key for a thriving KDS system is the organization of captured knowledge. This ensures knowledge is easily accessible and searchable. Without making the knowledge easy to navigate, your audience will remain frustrated with their support experience.
Knowledge is everlasting as long as it is reused. Without having the ability to access prior information, precious time and productivity are lost. The goal is to keep information alive and thriving and the only way to do that is through the recycling of knowledge.
Just because knowledge already exists on a topic doesn’t mean that it should be left untouched. Times change, audience needs shift, and documented information must be updated.
Don’t let the iceberg of knowledge sink your company. Make it a priority to convert tacit into explicit knowledge to increase efficiency and boost productivity. Check out the ebook, Success from the Ground Up: Building an Effective Online Community, for additional tips on building a successful knowledge-sharing community.