Death and taxes aren’t the only two certainties in life. A third is retiring from your last job. So, like most things, it’s good to prepare in advance and have a plan for succession.
A key part of this is ensuring that all your corporate knowledge doesn’t walk out the door with you. This is true even if you’re not wanting to retire or leave your job just yet. We all have a responsibility to ensure that the corporate knowledge in our heads, also exists outside of us and in the business. This enhances performance and will greatly improve your own productivity, since others can access key information independently and in a timely manner, leaving you with less ‘priority interrupts’ and more able to get on with the rest of your job.
To achieve retention of corporate knowledge in the business, first identify that information which is critical for the business. Then consider the best ways for it to exist within the business. Here’s few things which may help:
- Record processes and procedures. If your knowledge includes processes and procedures, they should be recorded. Can you leverage any existing methods of recording these? Does the business already house some processes and procedures in a shared repository, for example, that you can use? If not, think about creating a shared repository and, also, about a sensible structure for the knowledge that will be easy for others to follow.
- Mentoring your team. If you manage a team, have you identified where they may lack skills or knowledge? Are you able to mentor them to close any gaps? Mentoring is another way to ensure your knowledge stays within the business and external to you. Focus on key staff, especially any likely successors to your role.
- Promote knowledge sharing. Do you encourage your team to share their own corporate knowledge and, if not, can you make it one of the priorities within the team moving forward? For example, can knowledge sharing be a standard agenda item at meetings? This will prevent it slipping off the radar. Where something arises that should be shared, task a meeting participant with the responsibility of seeing that actioned and reporting back next meeting.
- Institute continuous improvement. Do you conduct debriefs after large initiatives, projects or jobs so you instil a continuous improvement mentality? The debriefs should be focused around what can be improved next time. You can close the knowledge sharing loop and prevent these being nothing but a talkfest by, again, remembering to have someone tasked and responsible with documenting in your key policies, procedures or processes, any improvements that come from the debriefs.
These are just a few ways that you can ensure that your knowledge doesn’t disappear in the ether, along with you, when you leave the business. At the same time, it enables you to create improved performance for you and your team.
If you’d like to find out more, come along to Ken Goldberg’s interactive session at the IPWEA Fleet Conference on ‘Mentoring for Better Outcomes’ where you can learn how to:
- Build your team;
- Maximise staff performance; and
- Prepare for succession.