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There has been a massive shift in thought over the last decade or so , from when corporations were valued on their physical holdings. However it has since become clear that a corporates worth has more to do with its people than its other physical entities.
Billions of dollars are lost every year over something as simple as communication, and when i speak of communication i’m talking about sharing of information , knowledge amongst co-workers. There have been instances where companies having factories right opposite each other haven’t been able to share knowledge due to culture constraints.
So, the need of the hour was to create a framework that allowed best practices to be shared by everyone in an organization. The biggest challenges with creating a system like this unfortunately is the fact that a large portion of the knowledge being dealt with is tacit in nature.
Some of the major roadblocks to sharing best practices are listed below:
Ever been in a situation where you don’t know who the person sitting across your cubicle is? Well, thats a classic case of an organization working in a silo’d environment. The larger it gets, the more complicated its hierarchy. In some cases it gets so bad that you barely know the rest of the people working in your team. Its a classic case of your left hand not knowing what you’re right hand is doing, and in some cases it gets so bad that your left hand doesnt even know it has a right one. This is the single largest problem of sharing knowledge in an organization.
Sharing of knowledge and information is still considered foolhardy as traditionally your value in the organization is determined by how unique you are, and the expertise you bring with you. Expecting you to suddenly start sharing the very knowledge that makes you a valuable commodity is a tall order. So a serious culture change is required before actually sharing of knowledge takes place.
There has always been a huge reliance on explicit information, “unless i have it documented there isnt anything i can do about it”. This massive reliance on explicit information means a large part , over 80% , of your employees knowledge isnt being tapped. Companies have slowly come to realize this and steps are being taken to ensure that tacit knowledge gets an equal, if not more important place in the information hierarchy.
For a learning and sharing culture to grow it needs to be rewarded from time to time. Only when this is done will the actually transfer of knowledge and best practices take place.