By E. Brown

I have been reading a lot about knowledge management and knowledge wealth lately. A favorite quote of mine regarding this topic is:

A burden shared is a burden halved; an intellectual asset shared is one doubled.

I love that! Talk about a return on investment. Who doesn’t want that kind of action?

Yet, it never ceases to amaze me how companies allow their knowledge assets to slip away. That is like throwing money out the window.

How many times have you heard (or experienced) this story:

An employee, called “Alice”, works for an organization for 3 years, 5 years, 10 years or more. Finally, it is time for Alice to move on. Maybe it is her choice, maybe it is not. After Alice is gone it takes 2-3 people to do her job. Not only that, but it takes the 2-3 people 3-6 months to come up to speed.

Sometimes this is done in the name of a reorganization. Sometimes it is due to a cut in the budget, personality conflict, or change of management. In today’s market of the “Knowledge Worker”, it may be due to the lack of challenge or responsibility for the employee. However, it almost always boils down to these two reasons:

1) Lack of foresight

2) Poor knowledge management

Knowledge is leaking from companies left and right. Some of it an organization may never be able to recover from.

Is the leader willing to put his or her finger in the dam?

I recently learned of a major government organization that peered into the future and realized that they would be losing a large part of their intellectual capital in the next three years.

Kudos to the group for having the foresight to see the potential disaster coming and for having the guts to be willing to do something about it.

Over the next three years they are going to put together a knowledge repository so that none of the current intellectual assets are lost. New employees can quickly learn what was known by their previous peers and build upon it for the continued success of the organization. They are going to double, and in some cases triple, their knowledge wealth.

What about you in your company? Is your knowledge pool leaking or overflowing? What are you doing to stem the tide? How are you teaching, training, and equipping next generation workers to build on the capital of those who came before?

Here’s your chance to double your investment and secure success for the future.

Don’t waste it.

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