Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Managing Knowledge

Jim Lee shares his experience on how organizations fail to come up with a process to capture the learning of a senior experienced resource. Having spent 30 years as a professional in various capacities, the learning and insight of Lee is something which every organization would try to leverage .However do organizations have plans to capture his expertise acquired over the years?

The problem is worse yet when a company initiates a reduction in force. There, the planning horizon is probably a lot shorter, and the ability to capture and retain the knowledge of those being laid off is limited at best. Having been laid off twice in my own career, I know that those organizations simply wanted me out as soon as possible so as not to create a disruption among those who remained. What they also didn’t get was any benefit of my knowledge—learned at their expense. My next employers were the beneficiaries of that.

I think this need to be addressed in context of 2 major issues.

Organizational size and scale of operation: Organizations which are relatively small and have few important positions, handle such issues differently. They lack pre-defined processes to capture such inputs and are liable to loose in such situations. On the other hand large organizations do have processes and system in place and also have recognition system in place for such situations.

Critical nature of function/role: It also depends on the critical nature of the role the individual is performing. An organization may not require capturing all relevant expertise in case if the same is redundant in present context and the role is not critical in nature. So time and criticality of function is also important. What may be important skill today may not be relevant in the days to come with change in technology and business.

Perhaps critical functions and an understanding on future course of business trends and patterns may help in preparing organization to effectively capture the inputs and share some expertise in the days to come.

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