Tuesday, 4 August 2015

A 'beloved' NHS wasting taxpayer's money, brilliant John Pilger, the bloody Khmer Rouge, tragic Cambodia and knowledge loss

The risk posed by an ageing workforce is a huge issue for many industries. As experienced staff retire, so critical knowledge will leave with them, which can leave the organisation highly exposed unless that knowledge can be retained and transferred to more junior, less experienced staff.
Where people leave to join competitors the impact is doubled, since you now not only lack key knowledge but your competitors have gained what you lack.
A Knowledge Retention and Transfer (KRT) Strategy is an effective KM approach to reducing this risk.

Few organisations employ KRT strategies. Perversely, most appear content to see knowledge walk out the door and accept that paying top dollar to regain what was once theirs is just what they have to do.

This article highlights a key symptom of this issue. A British National Health Service (NHS) Trust has let an employee with essential skills and knowledge leave and then had to hire them back because it lacked any sort of transition or handover plan to potential successors. Such a stark absence of effective KM should concern those of us that care about the management of knowledge as a key asset. Those of us that are British tax-payers should be irritated, to say the least.

In his astonishing 1979 documentary, ‘Year Zero: The Silent Death of Cambodia’, the journalist John Pilger described how the Khmer Rouge killed most doctors, intellectuals and anyone with a degree, to facilitate their efforts to create an agrarian communist state. Deliberately depriving the country of its knowledge reduced challenge to its barbaric rulers, strengthening their grip on power.

In this chilling clip, Pilger narrates: “This was the national library - almost as a symbol, the KR converted it into a pig-sty and burned its books and archives. From Year Zero all past knowledge was illegal.”

Shocking, yes and brutal too, no doubt.

But is what the Khmer Rouge sought to achieve through deliberate policy really any different from what thousands of organisations do every year, albeit through neglect?

For help in working out your organisation’s critical knowledge areas, and then starting to protect them, please contact me direct or via the Knoco website.

Monday, 3 August 2015

10 things you've been doing wrong

I came across this little video online today, explaining how most of us have been doing some everyday tasks all wrong - or, rather, simply haven't cottoned on to smarter ways of doing them.

I reckon this is because many of us like to come up with the ideas ourselves, and don't like being told how to do anything, by anyone. Such attitudes are commonplace, and are often one of the reasons why knowledge management (KM) takes a while to catch on.

Wanting to create our own solutions to problems is an essential part of what makes us human but we can all think of examples where this approach is inappropriate, perhaps even dangerous.

Fancy learning how to handle a weapon? Mate, here's a rifle...crack on.

What's that? You want to operate the drilling equipment on an oil rig? Sure, fill your boots, sport.

Good KM implementation requires patience, energy and judgement - knowing when and where it's right to be creative and to 'empower learning' and when we simply have to follow current best practice. There are times and places for innovation and neither the rifle range or operational rig are one of them.

For a conversation about how to get the balance right between innovation and best practice, visit the Knoco website.