Reading time: 4 minutes | By Maarten Jansma, Account manager at Berkeley Bridge
More and more organizations acknowledge the fact that knowledge – and the people in which it resides – is the most valuable strategic asset they possess. Unfortunately, there are still a lot of organizations that put little effort in capturing this knowledge and making it available to fellow colleagues. Even though this so-called tacit knowledge has proven to be a key success factor for organizations. Enough reason to give it some serious thoughts, don’t you think?
Last week I shared the importance and the advantages of capturing tacit knowledge. This week I will share the three most fun ways of actually sharing tacit knowledge. Because most of the time organizations perceive the process involved as very time-consuming and costly, while it can also be a fun activity which helps organizations bring colleagues closer together.
Perhaps not exactly the first thing you might think about when talking about sharing knowledge, but the coffee corner is perhaps the place where most tacit knowledge is being shared in offices. Talking in a relaxed and comfortable environment creates an atmosphere of open communication between colleagues and encourages them to share creative ideas.
Think about it: wasn’t it while you were waiting for your coffee to be ready, your colleague started talking about the project he had been working on and explained how he managed to successfully deliver the project objectives? And do you remember the coffee talk you had with that new hire? You shared some valuable tips and experiences that could help him improve his sales conversations as well.
Tip: Go and grab a coffee! Start a conversation with someone you wouldn’t normally talk to and be surprised how much valuable (tacit) knowledge is shared with you. In the worst-case scenario, you will end up getting to know a colleague better and having a nice conversation!
Role-playing appeals to everyone’s imagination and often results in surprising results and feedback. Because of this, the use of role-playing games is one of the most fun ways of sharing tacit knowledge with colleagues. It is also considered to be the most effective learning method: knowledge and skills are taught in practice so most of the time they are directly applicable.
‘I hear and I forget.
I see and I remember.
I do and I understand’
You will often hear people say role-playing games are ‘awkward and uncomfortable’. That’s very unfortunate. Because, if well prepared and done in a familiar environment, participants should quickly feel comfortable enough to share their valuable knowledge and experience.
Tip: Surely there will be some laughing and giggling during role-playing games, but that shouldn’t be a problem and could even contribute to a good atmosphere. However, just to be sure, make sure a laugh jar is placed in the office. Observants laughing unnecessarily can then contribute to the drink afterwards. Who’s laughing now, eh?!
Storytelling allows experts to share their experiences in a narrative way and shows strong similarities with role-playing, in terms of results. Most stories will be recognizable for colleagues, which makes it easier for them to remember, and the shared knowledge & experience is often directly applicable for colleagues. Therefore it has proven to be one of the most effective and appreciated ways to share tacit knowledge among colleagues.
Tip: For the sake of maintaining the interest of your audience, you could consider making your story a little more spectacular and exciting. However, please bear in mind ‘dragons’ and ‘spacecrafts’ will quickly reduce the credibility of your story about successful IT project delivery.
The last two weeks I have shared with you the importance and the advantages of capturing tacit knowledge, as well as the three most fun ways of actually sharing it. But it doesn’t stop here, as you might understand. Now it’s time to document the retrieved tacit knowledge (making it explicit) and make it available to your organization.
As I told you earlier, there are a lot of tools available that you can use for this purpose. These include FAQs, Wikis and CRM systems. You could also consider knowledge-based systems that use decision trees and allow experts to translate their (tacit) knowledge into interactive applications, without the help of computer experts.
Are you interested in finding out more about getting the most from knowledge within your organization, do you have any suggestions in regards to this article, or would you like to further discuss the possibilities of tree-based applications? Please feel free to drop me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.