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.

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