The success of the famous crime-fighting duo Sherlock and Watson is dependent on their ability to share knowledge with each other. Do you think Sherlock ever solved a mystery by discovering a ransom note and forgetting to tell Watson about it? Do you think Watson ever found a footprint at the scene of the crime and thought, “You know, I think I’ll just keep this to myself.” Just as Sherlock and Watson depend on each other’s knowledge to solve the mystery, your employees rely on each other to solve the latest problem, create the best product, and stay ahead of the competition; this involves successful knowledge sharing.
Before we delve into the world of knowledge sharing tips and tricks, let’s review some basic terminology. Knowledge management is about getting the most from the knowledge that exists in your organization. Knowledge management means never asking the same question twice, never repeating research, and never duplicating a document. It means the most up-to-date knowledge is always right at your fingertips. Knowledge sharing is the ability to pull this knowledge from the cluttered minds and inboxes of employees and make it accessible to everyone. Both are crucial to the success of your company.
So, how exactly do you encourage knowledge sharing in your organization? First, you need to get the foundation in place. Follow these best practices for taking the mystery out of setting your team up for successful knowledge sharing.
1. Invest In The Right Technology
We are at a point in time when the discussion surrounding knowledge sharing success can no longer exclude technology. In order to stay in the race with the top performers in your industry, you must invest in knowledge sharing technology. Investing in the right knowledge sharing technology for your organization provides a solid foundation on which to build a culture of sharing and collaboration.
2. Prepare A Success Strategy
Although a solid foundation is crucial to the strength and durability of a home, you can’t live inside a foundation. Building a sturdy home requires extensive planning and preparation. So to build an organization that excels in knowledge sharing, the blueprints must be impeccable.
The best way to plan for future successful knowledge sharing in your organization is to structure your knowledge sharing platform in such a way that is conducive to collaboration and cohesive with the structure of your organization. Of course, determining the ideal structure is often easier said than done.
Many organizations struggle to agree on the taxonomy of information, but it’s important to recognize that it’s healthy to have competing viewpoints of the best strategy to organize information. Business leaders need to recognize that the information structure they start with will change over time as their organization grows and evolves. What’s more important than determining one “right way” to organize information is to have the people, processes, and technology in place to enable ongoing transformation.
Find a knowledge sharing platform that allows you to customize your content structure to fit your organization and that is able to adapt with your business as you scale. Such a capability allows employees to share knowledge within the platform just as they would in person, even as the amount of content and collaborators grows.
3. Identify How You Will Measure Successful Knowledge Sharing
No new initiative can be fully effective if you don’t measure and quantify its success. Here are some examples of key metrics to measure the success of knowledge sharing in your organization:
- Frequency of knowledge management syste (KMS) access
- Frequency of social interactions, such as comments and likes
- Amount of content being added
- Search engine usage
Metrics are all well and good, but how exactly do you collect this information? The best knowledge sharing platforms do it for you. Look for a knowledge sharing platform that provides reports on your key metrics.
4. Foster A Culture Conducive To Sharing And Collaboration
It takes hard work and planning to shift your company culture from knowledge hoarding to knowledge sharing. To create a culture where employees are comfortable sharing and collaborating, you must build an environment that is safe and rewarding. Encouraging knowledge sharing means encouraging risk, experimentation, and trial and error. Reward employees for sharing their ideas and taking risks; not just for being successful.
You’ve learned some strategies to lay the groundwork for successful knowledge sharing, so now what? Check out Part 2 of this post for tips on how to put these strategies into action within your organization.