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Mine knowledge the new-fashioned way

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in Career Management,Leaders & Managers,Management Training,Workplace Communication

If you’ve taken the trendy paths to “manage” the knowledge within your team or organization, give up. The corporate knowledge-management model has gone bust, largely because it’s based on a publishing model: Somebody extracts information from people and puts it in writing.
The problems:
First off, people don’t always share what they know because they want to remain valuable. Second, you may assemble mountains of data but you can capture only snippets of what people know. It’s also time-consuming. Finally, it’s all hindsight.
The solution: Instead of fighting people’s natural impulse to control information, exploit it. Stop trying to extract knowledge. Instead, leave knowledge where it is, and create ways for employees to collaborate.
Example: One new IT solution, called “brokering,” constantly trolls people’s e-mail and network folders for keywords suggesting who’s working on what. It also fields queries. Whenever someone offers or needs information— whether anybody has ever used a particular vendor, for instance—the program privately asks those who have if they’re willing to share. It’s anonymous, like a dating service.
If that’s too “Big Brother” for you, do the same thing by networking among your staff and going outside your unit to find out what’s going on. Then approach the movers and shakers privately to see if they’ll work together.

— Adapted from “How to Fix Knowledge Management,” David Gilmour,

Harvard Business Review.

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