Simply stated, Knowledge Management is the practice of capturing and then making available the tacit and explicit knowledge that exists within an organization. It’s taking what has been learned and sharing it between members of a team in a systematic way. It’s about collecting information and connecting people.
“Good knowledge management is about building an environment in which direct communication and joint problem solving can prosper” (Knowledge Management in Non-Profit Organizations, by Andre Heggli, 2011).
Why should you care?
Because managing your organization’s knowledge more effectively can unlock solutions to many of those niggling, frustrating problems that perpetual plague your operations. While traditionally, Knowledge Management as a field has been developed by and focused on large multi-national corporations, the problems they face are not that different to the problems faced by nonprofits both large and small.
Developing a system to capture knowledge and having a Knowledge Management Strategy to ensure you maintain it can help you:
- Ease Transitions and Improve Succession Plans
- Shorten the learning curve for new employees
- Eliminate elaborate on-boarding
- Improve overall efficiency of your operations – stop reinventing the wheel!
- Leverage expertise across departments
- Raise the level of the conversation – by capturing the core functions and making them easily accessible, you free up time for discussions in the workplace to focus on the complex rather than the mundane problems.
- Empower your team to make better decisions by having the information they need reliably at hand
Knowledge Management won’t immediately make you better at what you do – but it will mean that over time, you will be better able to sustain and improve performance as you weather inevitable changes and transitions.
How does your organization approach knowledge management? Let me know in the comments below!