If you read my previous blog about eLearning, then you already know that I have been creating software tools for knowledge capture and sharing (i.e. SCATE Ignite) for over 15 years. Once a college adjunct professor and the Director of Engineering for a large automotive supplier, I have always been amazed by the disconnect between college education, formal corporate training, and on the job knowledge sharing.
All three of these approaches are required to produce the best employees, but unfortunately, due to our culture of empire building, bridging the gap between these elements has been quite difficult.
In addition to running a company I also coach team sports. So let’s for a minute compare a company to an athletic team (i.e. football or my favorite ice hockey). To build a strong team, a coach must first find highly trained athletes that possess the fundemental skills. This is like hiring gradutes from college with good grades. Then these players are trained within a system, similar to learning a business process within a company. Finally they are expected to perform as a collective unit, passing (sharing), scoring (completing tasks) and finally winning (closing).
Unfortunately, many companies especially in the US do not run in this manner. It seems that we try to hire the best from college, train them on the business processes and then provide an environment where they build their own little empire. In many cases employees are afraid to share their knowledge with others due to the insecurity of losing their job. I have worked within many environments where one department would not provide adequate information to others just for the sake of losing control. This will kill a company’s efficiency and productivity.
Let me ask you this, how many athletes that don’t pass the ball or puck make the pros? This is simple..NONE. Successful teams do not often win on the shoulders of one person. It requires working together for the collective success of the team.
So if a business is exactly the same as a team, then how do we get people within a company to work together and share knowledge?
Well first you need to change the company mindset. This needs to be mandated from the top, just like the Coach of any team. If the Coach doesn’t push the issue of passing (sharing) the ball (knowledge and information) then the players (employees) will not respond in a coordinated team effort.
Secondly, once mandated, a company needs a process and system where employees can easily share knowledge. Wiki’s and Learning Management system’s (LMS) are good, however, with the emergence of social networking technology like the knowledge and media sharing sites igniteCAST.com, chrysler.ignitecast.com, the industry is raising the bar.
Finally companies need to recognize and reward employees that make conscious effort to contribute and share their knowledge.
Funny concept..rewarding people for working together, instead of just for their individual accomplishments!
I welcome your comments.
SCATE Tecnhologies, Inc.