Monday, November 30, 2009

Know what you know

The tacit knowledge in your organization is a powerful strategic asset, but, being invisible, is often overlooked. Become attuned to your tacit knowledge and create new possibilities for products, services, methods and processes.

Knowledge gained from experience is “tacit knowledge”.

Your organization is unique. It is a product of the path it has followed and the people that are in it. No other firm has precisely what yours has. “What you have” includes your collective wisdom –knowledge and know-how. There is a hidden source of competitive advantage embedded in how you do what you do.

How can you become attuned to your firm’s tacit knowledge?

When you have finished a complex or unusual project, don’t just move straight on to the next thing. Debrief to see what everyone has learned as a result. Take a broad view of learning. It’s not just about information but also about methods, strategies, ways of working with clients, approaches to negotiation and other key skills. What made the team work well together? What could have been done better? How could the learning be applied in future matters or across the firm as a whole?

What do you know about the work being done by others in your organization? What interesting approaches have been developed? Could these be adapted for use in other parts of the business? Are there particular elements that could be usefully applied in other contexts?

Knowledge is not static but always increasing. As a leader, encourage others to reflect on what they have learned, and to become attuned to the collective wisdom in your organization.

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