I was having a conversation with a client last week on the incredibly important topic of transferring knowledge. We were discussing the concept of “organizational amnesia” from my book Unleashed Leadership, and the upcoming development program I will be conducting for his company. Here is the crux of our conversation:
Organizational amnesia is best avoided when a company can successfully transfer organizational “smarts” to new employees. Development of skills – be it tactical, leadership, or proprietary – through a process of transfer from the veterans to new employees assures that a company doesn’t simple lose it’s memory when employees transition out.
While that all sounds fine, the transfer mechanism is a little more complicated.
I’ve witnessed organizations trying to transfer skills through infrequent seminars, trainings, and lectures. The information gets stored somewhere and made “available” for future use. Here’s the problem: the newer and younger employees don’t retain and retrieve knowledge that way. I’m sorry to tell you that the plethora of thick binders in your resource library are useless. When someone needs to get information quickly, especially in a crisis, the last thing they will do is seek out a binder and start looking for the answer. This process is as outdated as encyclopedias.
What organizations need to do is find how employees (especially the ones that are now being hired) best learn and retrieve information. The answer is quite simple: this generation and future ones use their mobile devices to quickly get information. They utilize videos and checklists stored in a place they can access without thinking twice. The solution is to assure that you are maximizing your investment in knowledge transfer by making certain it will be utilized in the future in the fastest and easiest way possible for the employee.
Stop using 20th century tools for 21st century employees. Make your knowledge basis easy to access and avoid organizational amnesia.
Quote of the Week:
”We first make our habits, and then our habits make us.”
~ John Dryden
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