Keith R Szewczyk

Generation X Leaders Must Focus on Capturing Knowledge

In Generation X Leadership on March 18, 2011 at 7:20 am

by: Keith R. Szewczyk

Knowledge management is an absolute challenge for the Generation X leaders to put on the top of their to-do list. With the Baby Boomers starting their exit from the workforce, the knowledge drain will create issues for companies. Compounded by the fact that there is nearly half of the Generation X population verses the Baby Boomer population. We as Generation X leaders are given the responsibility of capturing this knowledge and growing the Generation Y population by utilizing the benefit of this knowledge.

With the use of technology and leveraging the Generation X and Y technology savvy capabilities, Knowledge Management (KM) systems provide us great opportunities. KM is the key to the company’s execution engine. The proper capturing process and tools will allow the organization to:

  • Maximize reuse
  • Improve the value added to the customer
  • Grow knowledgeable resources
  • Innovate
  • Increase efficiencies
  • Lower cost
  • Improve quality
  • Reduce risk.

If your organization executes by heroics, or in other words counts on particular resources with all the knowledge, you must change this environment. This change is very difficult as your resources with all the knowledge will protect this knowledge in fear of losing their leverage. Therefore, communicate to the organization to remove the anxiety about knowledge capturing. It is very important to change the way knowledge in managed so the expertise within the Baby Boomer population is secured for future needs. Here are three critical steps to attack KM:

  1. Re-engineer your process to focuses on documenting this knowledge every step of the way through the lifecycle of the project. Your goal must be to stabilize the process and deploy tools that standardize the capturing, facilitates the process, and manages the data.
  2. Empower your less experienced resources to capture the knowledge. Assign these resources to projects with the senior resources and allow them to do the documenting. They will provide great details within their documentation due to the lack of domain knowledge, and they learn from the senior resources and gain experience. This important step begins the transformation of KM.
  3. Communicate, communicate, communicate! Communicate the importance of process and KM to the organization. Explain to the senior resources with all the knowledge that you do not want them doing the low value activities that come with not sharing the knowledge, but instead you would rather use them in a high value situation defining the high level solutions without implementing and adding low value. However, you need them to capture all their knowledge.

The exit of the Baby Boomers, which makes up the majority of the senior resources, is a critical piece of business today. Though KM will not replace or add the value that the Baby Boomers bring, it will allow the company to learn and improve. A KM process is something that all leaders today should take advantage of. Most importantly we must stick with KM and process improvements as time will provide a competitive advantage and growth!

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