Posts Tagged knowledge continuity
At Sageco, the men and women we call ‘sages’ are the experts and most senior executives in organisations, who have spent a lifetime – or at least a very long time (measured in decades) – learning, leading and applying their knowledge in the specialist areas they direct.
Facilitating them in the process of capturing and transferring their expert knowledge is an unusual and fascinating privilege. Their stories are unique, and in telling them you get some glimpses (often totally unexpected) into the complexities of how our very complex society works.
Stories are told in every technical and management realm:
- How to locate an inexplicable leak causing lower pressure in some small corner of a city’s huge water mains network.
- What can be done to ensure safety and balance the clearly conflicting demands of a railway line and its road overpass, built in unavoidably unstable terrain.
- The secret skills of negotiation that keep a large public utility operating and profitable, while avoiding strikes and meeting the increasing pay needs and conditions of its workers.
All those involved in capturing their stories and handing on the skills of the sages learn and grow: the people who will take over their work from the sages, colleagues from other areas linked to their output, administrators who keep the workforce operating. Often the sages themselves learn all over again lessons they had forgotten – or knew by intuition or implicitly.
And perhaps the most satisfying aspect is to see the sages thanked and acknowledged by colleagues who understand, often for the first time, how much they contribute to keeping the wheels turning.
For over seven years the Sageco Exchange program has been used by organisations as a catalyst for knowledge transfer. Contact Sageco to find out more.
Last month we surveyed our SageCentre community (an online ageing workforce resource) about their three top concerns regarding the impact of an ageing workforce.
• 75% nominated knowledge loss
• 48% nominated skills gap
• 28% nominated lack of expertise in mission critical roles
When asked about the most successful age management solutions they had experienced, only 25% nominated a knowledge transfer solution.
My hunch is that so little is done because we are overwhelmed by the task. Here are three questions to help you focus your knowledge continuity efforts.
1 What do we need to know?
Think about what knowledge and skills are core to your business – now and in the future. Start with your critical areas and work outwards.
2 Who knows what we need to know?
There are people in your organisation who know a lot. We call them Sages. You can call them anything you like as long as it’s respectful! They are your living, walking, breathing database of corporate knowledge. Do you know who they are? Make sure you know who they are and keep them close! Do what you can to influence their late career decisions and explore how they might continue a relationship with your organisation beyond traditional retirement.
3 Who needs to know what they know?
Whether it be through the more formal processes of talent management and succession planning or the natural result of working together, you will identify people who need to ‘sit at the feet’ of your sages. Create opportunities for them to have conversations and begin transitioning knowledge.
Knowledge is slippery. There is no sure fire way to keep it, capture it or ensure access to it. What we do know from our knowledge continuity programs is that solutions emerge once you start the conversation.
So proud of the sages we are working with at ANSTO, RTA, NSW Office of Water, Austrade and the like. These are people who are taking the time to contribute to the future of their organisations. We are honoured to work with you.
“We are made wise not by the recollection of our past, but by the responsibility for our future.”