The greatest impact you can have on a project outcome is in the early phases, where during the concept design thinking, you create some of the success frameworks for delivery through which your project will evolve.
By the time you’re at the pre-construction, execution phase and beyond, it’s likely there’ll a whole lot of inefficiencies built into the project which result in many different types of waste.
Taiichi Ohno, whose founding role in the development of the concepts of Lean birthed the concept of Lean Manufacturing, identified 7 key types of waste all of which are very relevant but mostly invisible or ignored on large / major projects:
Mistakes or defects;
Overproduction of parts, raw materials, steel etc;
Stock or Inventories waiting around for a next stage in any given process;
People waiting for things to happen, materials to be available etc before they can proceed;
Unnecessary processing, doing things which are actually not even going to be required;
The mobilisation of teams where they are not required; and
Transport of goods that was not really required.
The same basic wastes occur just as much in most major projects as they do in manufacturing, causing expensive losses of time, money and negative morale.
The quality of the thinking and planning work done at the outset can however greatly reduce waste, but how do you do this, if the systems in place are already inefficient?
Lean Manufacturing, Lean Construction and Lean in an Enterprise, is all about the elimination of inefficiency and waste with a focus rather on high-performance cultures and efficient processes. The results include improved profitability, more engaged clients, more motivated teams and in many cases increased environmental sustainability.
By changing your up front thinking and the way you engage with your key clients, stakeholders, JV, Alliance, PPP or other project partners you can have a really positive influence around the success or failure or projects measured off the traditional time, cost, quality safety parameters we all ultimately live by.
A simple video description of some of the Lean Construction concepts can be found here:
Imagine if you could build continuous improvement (CI) into your business simply and easily? Since I’ve been seriously involved in performance improvement I have seen so many organisations get themselves all “Lean, Business Process Re-engineered, or Six Sigma’d up, then the teams who are now qualified go out and get few if any results. There are so many organisations who have so much potential but for many different reasons just never get the results.
Continuous Improvement vs Top Sports People
As an ex sports person (I’m now a has been!) I remember jumping in the pool at 18 and not being able to swim two lengths. At the time my aim was to be a decent triathlete, I asked my squad coach how long it would take to get my 1500 meter time down under 23 minutes in the pool. The coach was a nice guy and also trained the commonwealth games swimmers, bizarre I asked given at that point I couldn’t even swim two lengths. Anyway, the coach told me probably 3-5 years, so I set a goal to break the initial time asap, and nine months later I had broken it then within two years had my time down under 20 minutes.
Follow a proven process…
So how does this relate to CI, well like sport what’s crucial is you have a process you are going to follow that’s a proven process. This can be incredibly simple though, for example in a business it might just be that from this point on we are going to run a whiteboard system that tracks production performance week on week. We will have meetings with the key leads, on a monthly basis set specific stretch goals and do a lessons learned on the prior month. In the pool knew I needed to swim better and that it was going to take some time, once I had a process, action was really all that was needed. In the pool there was actually very little I knew about what would speed me up, I just needed to trust the process effectively following the rules on the whiteboard our coach put up each morning. Most other starters actually never did this, they made up their own rules and or often varied from the process as they felt they “Knew better” etc.
Jack Welch (ex) CEO of GE and the man that really put his money where his mouth was around CI, shares 2 mins and some simple thoughts about CI -and keeping it real…
How about just starting?
Don’t wait until you have qualified people, don’t wait until you have all the answers, start a CI process now ASAP. The number of organisations I see trying to build the perfect CI model, and or a strategy for CI that will at some point (once the function is fully built) bring massive results. Just Start!
One example simple 5 step model for continuous improvement is the DMAIC process, its simple, the steps include:
Define – identify, prioritize and select a specific area / project to work on Measure – key process characteristics, the scope of area you want to enhance Analyse – identify the key causes and process determinants of the current state Improve– change the process in order to optimise performance Control – if/once it works lock in the changes by creating a new process
Okay, sure there are books 1700 pages and longer on DMAIC and related process improvement methodologies. However, like swimming if you follow a simple version and, use it consistently it will actually still work. You already have your subject matter experts SME’s – (Like the swim coach) and they already have the answers. Most people that came to the swim squad were not consistent, they were lazy or focused on too many different things. When one guy came and was worse than anyone he’d seen in ages, but coming back his performance improved much faster than most others.
We all need to improve our game…
Major benefits of a process like DMAIC include the fact that improving key process & or business issues is something every team member is faced with sooner or later. DMAIC’s logical approach can make it a simple backbone of effective process improvement initiatives. Having a simple structure like this is good for high-risk areas, without structured implementation, issues will likely return when people decide to do it their way either because it suits their project or it is the ‘way we have always done it’.
A process like this helps find root causes, so effective countermeasures can be formulated and it is designed for creating sustainable results. (See future article on finding root causes) It also makes improvements part of how we do our business as usual work.
In conclusion like the Triathlete who couldn’t swim but wanted to, often it’s just about about getting on with it not necessarily waiting until you have all the answers. Serious improvement and results are possible in many areas in most organisations and on major projects. I’m continually surprised by what people in organisations put up with. It would be great to hear your stories about teams that took action, and saw change occurring fast through the use of a process that was proven and with consistent effort.
What successes have your teams had?
Why have you had CI failures and what lessons did you learn?
Collaboration is a funny word, and ironically many of us are not to good at it.
Think about it – when someone cooks dinner at your place, who does it, do you share the duties? Often one person will do all the cooking and another all the washing up. Often one person becomes great at one of these two things. In business you often have a similar occurrence.
John is great at the Project Management schedule but never gets it together around creating solid relationships. So his assistant becomes great at doing it, and does it so well John never gets out to see his people when part of his role was to be out on the work front. So how could you use collaboration in a way that it would absolutely revolutionise a team’s results in your business? Being able to identify and management your talent in such a way that the transfer of “What they know & do” starts to occur organically within your organisation.
Look at how often you setup specific learning tasks for the people in your team who are not at the top?
When you have meetings with the team what are the expectations you set?
Do you have a selection of your team sharing the things that made the biggest difference to them across the past month, censored by you
Do all team members leave the meeting with structured things to improve on based on where they are at?
How do you then meaningfully sit with all these people in order to ensure the skills, behaviours and attributes that matter are being learned? By consistently considering these factors organisational change can occur faster.
If some of the above is ringing bells also consider the %age greater sales or production & productivity your best people create against those struggling, and consider what changes could you make to your own style of leadership around knowledge transfer and collaboration.
Are you the delivery manager or project director on a major road, rail, mine or other construction project in Australia? Have you been hearing about how Lean Construction techniques may be able to significantly help your teams on site improve the way they do things?
Are you sceptical Lean Construction sounds like a BLACK BOX solution
Have you heard about it from several people who’ve not been able to “Pinpoint” exactly what it is or how and what it might do for you on your project? Does it seem to you a lot like TQM or other improvement methods you may have experienced across your career?
Lean Construction or LPD explained in one paragraph.
Lean Construction is a process to change the way workflows occur on projects so they are more predictable and reliable. On every construction site there are wasted resources e.g.: People standing around at times doing nothing, too much inventory sitting around on site, machinery not being used but being paid for etc. On work sites the average work complete each week verses that scheduled by teams sits at 40 to 60%. In other words most weeks work teams should have achieved 40 to 60% more productivity BUT THEY DON’T.
This results in project finish dates and budgets that continuously blow way over what they should be in costs and time.
Lean construction is a set of tools that enables major projects to streamline workflow reliability and predictability on sites. Its core focus is around optimising the project not the individual pieces, and it does this through making changes to the way project managers, superintendents, engineers, designers, procurement teams and others do some of the following:
Schedule using new methods
To increase performance
Have meetings that work
Track and monitor project costs
Use metrics on site that motivate
Lead in a new way
To collaborate with all teams
Spend (or not) spend time at sites
See the value of integrating supply chains into their processes
Use Continuous Learning Methods
Use continuous improvement in construction
Map value streams in to improve fabrication methods
Capture and transfer learnings through technology
Quality check without paper
Use CAD & BIM in new ways
Having spent time with some of the Co-Founders of Lean Construction I became intrigued by how easily major projects can benefit by training their teams in these methods. This is not a one size fits all methodology but is one where almost every single project can find benefits.
Hunter with Greg Howell one of the Co-Founders of Lean Construction.
I have not yet in this post mentioned the actual tools that have made Lean Construction famous like Pull Planning, Last Planner, Weekly work plans etc.
If you are interested and or are a sceptic like I was, then now may be the time to start looking into this field.
There are almost certainly some people in your business who if you were to loose them you won’t cry about it. There are others who are the life blood of your business however, perhaps in Project or Executive roles and when they go, it can be a big problem!
In many businesses, succession planning for high performers and talent management is done through a process like making sure you have where possible, at least one off site a ¼ then having drinks with those people you’re a little worried about, to find out what the true story is around their ambitions
The problem with this kind of process and it may not look exactly like this, as it might be a six monthly thing, or you might get one of your team a person you know really well to find out things for you.
Consider four ways of ensuring you know exactly where people are up to on your team, so you don’t get nasty surprises.
Setup agreements with your people so that you’ll let them know if you were ever going to make a move somewhere else with some decent notice and be specific. Ensure in this moment that they also commit to letting you know if they were getting itchy feet or wanted new opportunities, and make sure they commit to giving you the same notice period.
When new people start after 4-12 weeks consider having an up front “Performance Management” style type meeting, this is not to tell them they need to pull their socks up, but more to set the scene for the future, and yes you might even address some tiny niggles early.
Keep the dialogue open between all your team members and understand where your market is at. Are there many opportunities and head hunters calling daily in order to try and snap up your best people. Or is the market really quiet in your neck of the woods.
Find out what your best people value most and make sure you are delivering them what they value. In Sales environments part of this might be about money, but ironically often it may be more about recognition, and often people miss this, until it’s too late.
Have a look at what Jack Welch from GE says about the treatment of people, and just have a think about whether
1) You Agree
2) If you do, is your business treating its people like this? If you don’t, do you have a process that’s really working?
If you are in a business where you often have your people leaving and whether they are good or bad start to look more carefully at what you are and are not doing to mentor your people.The true cost of most team member losses is hidden in many monthly financial reports, why is this?
Well in the past financial reporting has not been smart enough and even today is not able to track the “True cost” of losing a person. Below are some things to consider, the numbers are rough but start to have a think, if you are losing people its probably costing you far more than you imagined! Below the salary is only $70K and being conservative true costs might look like.
If we were to track the true cost to the business of people leaving you would need to consider things like:
Person Leaving Average Salary $140K = $12K per month
– Cost $16K
The time it took to get them to full competency (4 months)
– Cost $48K
Time other people “Internal Trainers” spent to get them confident
– Cost $30K
The time peers in the business spent with them (2 months)
– Cost $24K
All the Managers time $200K Salary spent (2 weeks across a year)
– Cost $10K
Loss of productivity from down time while you the role filled
– Cost $20K
HR Team member costs
– Cost $10K
Total Cost $168K
Now that’s only on the outgoing person who may have only stayed 12 month’s to two years, you will now need to incur all these same costs on retraining the new recruit and if you get it wrong again…
The key to talent management is one organisations face every day. How do you go about:
Developing it, keeping it?
Working out what and who it looks like?
Finding where the talent lies?
Figuring out if your internal talents are flexible enough to be able to send where and when you like?
A good brief on where we are as regards talent and organisational change in the market was posted by Peter Cheese from Accenture – see below.
High performers are at times also high maintenance; and you can’t just string them along because often if you do, they’ll walk! In the past 10 years, we have seen several times that high performers in organisations are the least liked by their CEOs, senior managers and sometimes even peers.
This can occur for many reasons. Some of the common ones are:
They are so focused on getting their own results that they don’t care about others
They have no need to prove themselves to others and hence do what they like
Often they are happy to speak their exact mind and do, sometimes leaving a trail of blood
So what can or should you do to manage your organisation’s talent and how?
Work out what you are measuring with. Some organisations use Psychometric Tools to analyse and draw conclusions as to who is the best. Some of these tools actually specify behaviours 1-7 as good and 8-10 as bad. Or “this” works, and “this” does not, hence Joe is better than John.
Understand where your workforce is ultimately headed. Have a workforce planning model that works for your business needs. At times, organisations don’t even know where they are headed with regard to recruitment. How many people who are talented are about to leave or have just arrived? There is little knowledge on where the best recruits are going to come from, and hence it’s tough to plan for the future.
Make sure you have a formal process of recognising who your best people are and where they lie. Have this process be one that is not one-dimensional, e.g. It should not rest on a high-level manager saying, “Great, that guy is talented.” Decisions should be made scientifically such that it takes several different internal opinions, stakeholder reviews from different divisions, and external client feedback to recognise who is “really talented.” The ability to road map the exact distinctions around why high performers have been so successful should be based on your organisation’s specific context and not necessarily on broad-based “Role Success Maps” that often have gaps in terms of your industry.
Have ways of replicating how you are going to find more and more of these people. Consider that often the industries where they may be working may not be the same as your own. How can you behaviourally interview these people in a fail-safe manner? For example, when Microsoft recruits senior managers, they may interview candidates 5 or 6 times, including one-on-ones with 5 different people, and then panel interview them at the end, putting candidates under such immense pressure during the final phase that they know who truly is talented under pressure.
A formal and scientific model of Talent Management in big companies is essential to make sure you keep, recruit, develop and retain not only high-performance individuals, but also high-performance teams. One of my long-term clients is considered an expert because he knows his people inside and out. Long ago, my client recognised the best performers and what they offer, having mapped what they do best and where they can then mentor others. This person’s ability to subsequently replicate these talents, which of course lie in different areas across the team, enabled him to gain significant and continuous improvement.
Good technology roll-outs really count. Many people I have worked with over the past few years often face the tough experience of having to make decisions around new technology that will fundamentally affect business results. In the years, I have noticed many clients have been pushed into situations where things must be upgraded urgently (due often to a merger).
Often this technology is something like a new platform, a best-of-class project management system or a set of core capabilities the business has never had. At times, these needs arise from a system that was put into the business 20 years ago and since then the IT team have been building bolt-on solutions. Eventually it reaches the point where there are so many workarounds for the users that everyone just considers the system a massive handbrake. Organisational change has to occur, as the focus for increased performance is greater than ever.
A good example of this kind of new technology is how Schneider Electric approaches its ambitious goal of bringing energy to everyone on the planet in a way that is safe, reliable, efficient, and green. By using what was at the time of implementation a new technology Salesforce, Schneider is much better able to connect with customers, provide greater service and speed in the field, and now leverage artificial intelligence (AI) to connect products and users around the world. A great example of high performance technologies making a difference http://www.salesforce.com.
The general solution is to spend many millions on new technology to consolidate workflows, reduce time taken to get information, or find the right information etc.
What often actually happens though is this:
The project goes over time and budget and the change management process fails
Only specific users get the new technology right and they were the high performers anyway
The strategic planning done prior to implementation was nowhere near robust enough & so major gaps appear with the implementation & roll out to users
The final product offers only 60% of the capability promised and the system workarounds continue
If these were the only blocks faced after implementation, funnily enough the situation would actually not be too much worse. The problem is that this is only the start often there are many other implications. Like while implementation is occurring, sales and/or service levels drop and sales managers start to get punished for their lack of results.
Many users get disillusioned and they start to either leave or look seriously for jobs in competing businesses in the same vertical. This causes increases in staff turnover and a need to then recruit more people at a time when training and reducing the time to competency for new team members is not the highest priority. Finishing the implementation and knowing the systems core capabilities actually collect “all” of the data accurately and can be used to get results is the priority.
So what’s the answer? Consider the following:
Who is on the roll out project team and why are they there?
Who is missing that should be there? E.g. possible managers of users who know what functions have to keep on going not matter what
Have you looked at who your absolute best talent is and how they can add value to the project?
What kind of mini pilots have you or are you intending to run prior to getting serious about the roll out?
If you have gathered groups of high performers to do the testing, have you then ensured these people are trained in knowledge-transfer and work-place training techniques to get your population back to its core results capability ASAP? How is this behaviour change actually going to occur on the ground?
What kind of knowledge-capture processes do you have around the more “tacit” or informal smarts the high performers have? How do these apply in the “New” technology platform or world? How are these to be transferred? How is your talent management process taking this into account?
Making sure you have covered off the above at the very least will enable you to keep leveraging your best people to transfer their results across populations. Sometimes you may need to bring in technology providers you have never thought of prior to the project. In fact, this might not become apparent in any of the project design phases and might only be discovered during implementation.
The field of knowledge management is about how organisations can use specific methods to capture, store and retrieve the core information, intelligence and expertise of their people. It includes the ability to identify, represent, create and adopt the specific experiences, core capabilities and insights held by high performers. Some of these assets may already be captured in formal explicit procedures, while many others remain informal or tacit. The field of knowledge sharing and knowledge management enables organisations to set up frameworks for capturing the most important lessons learned on projects and in the field.
1. The purpose of knowledge management
The purpose of knowledge management is to improve the performance of organisations and teams in order to provide greater leverage of the knowledge and experience held internally. Progress may come from the way an organisation manages projects, uses new technologies, mentors and trains new employees, and how people at all levels of experience learn to improve. Ultimately, knowledge management is about creating cultures of continuous improvement that are supported by the most senior leadership while often being led from the bottom up.
Organisational Change Collaboration and Learning
Organisations embarking on serious organisational change may start out by asking questions about the process and benefits of internal improvement like.
If a team currently learned something of value today, how likely is it the team would still be using it in 6 months?
How might new recruits on other projects learn those same things?
How do organisations embed know-how for the long haul?
How do they ensure lessons learned stay learned (for as long as they remain useful)?
Who inspires, empowers and energises knowledge leadership within the organisation?
Progressive organisations understand that being able to transfer learnings significantly increases performance, lowers risk, reduces costs, saves time, develops people faster, and provides higher quality, swifter innovations.
2. Successful knowledge management strategies
What makes a knowledge management project successful? The answer has changed a lot over the years as technology itself has changed.
Keys to successful Knowledge transfer projects:
In order to roll out a successful knowledge management project, standard factors need to be present. These include:
A clear purpose and set of objectives
A focus on improving performance and value in the organisation
A formal technical structure
A knowledge-friendly culture that is motivated to change and improve
Different channels that can be used for transferring knowledge
Senior executive support
Methods enabling the organisation to capture tacit or informal knowledge assets.
Organisations that have the ability to capture context-specific knowledge held by its experts and that can transfer these key project learnings across large populations of employees can create significant competitive advantages in their industries. In most cases, organisations can use technology already existing in their business or online to significantly enhance current operating methods. Other areas of significant value include new methods of running toolbox meetings, workgroups and case studies. A world-class knowledge management system today is a hub for formal and informal business intelligence.
3. Understand your knowledge objectives
What are your objectives?
Is your program going to be focused on the creation of more collaborative work practices? The better use of lessons learned?
Continuous improvement methods?
Knowledge sharing systems and social networks?
Other kinds of know-how and expertise?
Who are the internal champions pushing for change? Are you working with the CEO, CIO and/or COO or is the program being driven by specific project managers? The areas listed below are contributing factors to any organisation’s success in building a strategy for knowledge management.
Use of lessons learned
Ability to upskill new employees quickly
Capture of major project learnings
Use of informal workforce conversations
Codifying and capture of knowledge
The use of technology
Finding and searching for answers/findability
In your organisation, you will currently have:
Project management systems
Learning management systems (LMS)
Document / Knowledge management systems
Intranet capability / Social media and add-ins
If these systems are used strategically and effectively, they can completely transform the way business processes occur within an organisation.
4. Capture organisation experts intelligence
One of the toughest problems faced by organisations changing the way they do business is the ability to capture the key intelligence or “know-how” of its best people. Over the past 20 years, smart organisations have realised that cultures focused on continuous improvement create significant business value.
Toyota’s use of knowledge sharing and performance improvement techniques have led to extraordinary advances in production facilities. Toyota have managed to consistently decrease the number of defects coming out of their factories and have also created knowledge sharing techniques, across their organisation and suppliers.
Organisational knowledge distinctions
Some knowledge is explicit and/or documented procedurally. Most knowledge, however, tends to be tacit – informal ways of doing things that people have been told or learned over time. If an organisation has powerful methods of collaboration and innovative learning processes, and if informal learnings can be captured, stored and used on other projects and teams, these methods can quickly then be transferred into more formal procedures.
NASA are taking this into consideration now with their rocket launches, it really is Rocket Science. This 3 minute clip will make you think about your own business and what Tacit Knowledge may not be known about.
5. Understand your current environment
It is important to understand the current status of where your organisation sits. Understanding the current landscape with regard to leadership, systems, people and culture has a large impact on the kinds of objectives that can and should be set.
Is your environment one that encourages learning and the dynamic flow of information and know-how?
Do you work in an environment that is collaborative or authoritative?
How are mistakes dealt with? Are they swept under the carpet and kept quiet or are they used as lessons? Is the organisation focused on continuous improvement?
Do you use collaborative toolbox meetings that always facilitate what went wrong, what went right, and what can be changed immediately to improve on the current project?
What level is your organisation at today?
Level 1 – Fragmented or ad hoc type structures with regard to knowledge.
Level 2 – Content-based structures with some position descriptions with regard to knowledge ownership, but only a little training.
Level 3 – Process-based view where knowledge is a process and systematic efforts have started to identify and share knowledge within the organisation.
Level 4 – Capability-based structures where the organisation uses knowledge for capability development and demonstrates an understanding of simple, complex, tacit, explicit internal and external knowledge, with diverse knowledge flows between external and internal parties. Demonstrates the use of and implementation of reward systems, involvement at all senior management levels and training across all aspects of knowledge management.
Almost all major global organisations are changing the way they operate to better share knowledge through some kind of peer groups, cross-unit networks often based on shared interests. Large organisations are focusing more and more on the transfer of best practice and improved decision-making by seeking advice from peers across the business.
6. Conducting knowledge systems audits
Many people generalise about how things work within their own organisation. Therefore, the ability to conduct a formal knowledge systems audit can be a valuable method of understanding exactly how people learn in your organisation. This process may take the form of online surveys, face-to-face question-and-answer sessions, and group facilitation on key projects.
Its purpose is to find out what kinds of methods, processes and systems are being used within the organisation and how these functions are enhancing or obstructing the ability of internal teams to learn, gain new technical information, understand the best way of doing things, and transfer best practices across the team.
An audit or knowledge mapping process looks at how knowledge flows – by project / by department / by sector or by segment – are working to leverage performance within the organisation.
Where is knowledge in the organisation captured?
What knowledge systems are used in different key roles?
Where do the greatest transfers of knowledge occur?
Who leads collaborative learning environments (if they exist)?
What projects already share information between teams/projects/segments/countries?
What specific online tools and technology are used for collaboration?
Formal versus Informal Learning
How are formal learning systems used?
How are informal groups used in mentoring?
How is knowledge currently being lost?
What kinds of succession plans are held?
How does staff turnover relate to learning methods?
What are the kinds of learning used in staff inductions?
7. Setting up collaborative frameworks
One of the most challenging areas to master is the final piece of any strategy – the rollout. The selection of a series of champions, people with much experience who truly believe in the value of transferring knowledge is essential to success. These people can become leaders of specific core knowledge areas. They need not be the people who run specific workshops or systems, but they will be the facilitators of knowledge transfer within the business. There are many ways that projects may be piloted and then rolled out across organisations. A couple of them rely on the use of more tacit and informal knowledge being captured, leveraged and used across multiple teams in environments. Based on the objectives you have set, it is then possible to select specific areas you can implement improvement on a trial basis. The methods described below are used by some of the most successful organisations in the world.
Nucor Steel has used many strategies to help their experts become more comfortable sharing their tacit knowledge. Some of these include:
Building efficient knowledge transfer channels
Specific workgroups set up to transfer best practice
Transferring key staff between sites for concentrated learning periods
The creation of a culture that enables people to feel comfortable taking risks and sharing knowledge
Investing in methods of codifying tacit and informal knowledge
Some of the collaboration techniques used at Toyota include:
Creation of project charters
Sets of operating rules
Projects often being driven by the teams bottom up
Communities of Practice
Communities of Practice (COP) are another knowledge management process with great practical value. They bring together people who have a similar set of interests based on a business process, project, or some kind of theme in order to exchange or share personal, public, or organisational knowledge to increase the value of that knowledge within the community.
The use of online information and schedules allows information held on the system to be used in such a way that it actually can become knowledge. There are many hundreds of other strategies used by major organisations that effectively transfer intelligence from their project teams across distributed environments, sectors, and countries.
8. Best in class conclusion
What does best in class knowledge management look like in a large global organisation? Technology is changing so quickly that accomplishments we could never even dream of are now completely possible. New technologies now enable us to capture project details in 4D and 5D models, thereby allowing people on site to see and use the information moments after it has been updated by designers in the office. We now have the ability to access with the touch of a fingertip all of the information once held in paper folders .
World-class knowledge management today enables a new starter to watch a series of videos filmed on site showing people working where they will be working, doing the things they will be doing. On major projects, swipe cards can now show project managers who was on site, what qualifications they have, where they had past experiences and if issues occur, team members can be trained on site immediately through video footage in the form of learning objects.
New knowledge capture techniques enable organisations to use workgroups, toolbox meetings, and prestart in new ways where safety is a much higher priority. Best practice can be conveyed much more quickly and in a much more compelling manner. Sophisticated knowledge management also considers different learning styles. An essential part of knowledge transfer is acknowledging that many people on sites do not want to look at computers or read procedures. By using a combination of new technologies, face-to-face workgroup environments, and informal focused communities of practice, key experience can be built and shared much more effectively.
In organisations with powerful learning-centric environments, new employees are able to upskill much more quickly. Staff turnover tends to be much lower when transfers do occur, which is increasingly because project teams are able to capture and understand past lessons learned. When a leader has an issue, answers are much more simple to find, either in the form of learning objects online or by being able to contact the right person much more quickly than before.
The design, build and rollout of knowledge management programs within major organisations enables real competitive advantage. By using a mix of new technologies and different meeting formats, and bringing together experienced teams, some of whom offer diverse opinions and experiences, organisations can enhance performance on projects and the ability to leverage internal intelligence. By populating technology with the right information from the people in the organisation who have specific competencies that in past have never been able to be effectively captured, organisations can gain significant competitive advantages.
As part of a personal aim to see the performance of any business team continue to increase in different business verticals. I’ve decided to contribute to the area of Expert Knowledge Management EKM.
What does that mean, well given my expertise is not in English, it means this blog will be exploring everything to do with you getting more out of your people. That includes areas where I have been working for the past 10+ years around talent identification & management, the value of internal collaboration on team performance in both sales & productivity/output based environments, performance management. It also includes areas like how to get value from the use of past cultural transformation, sales & L&D programs that may have worked in some but not all pockets of the business.
A clear distinction to make up front is that this does not mean the team have to work harder, probably teams do however need to start thinking differently and with more focus on collaboration, performance, strategy, innovation and what it is their best people internally are doing already.
Expert Knowledge Management EKM is a subject few organizations even understand let alone use.
A major part of this blog will be about exploring what the world’s best organizations are doing in this area to ensure that when the markets are falling faster than ever and the “World” is in trouble you have solutions in order to replicate what is best practice not from another country but in many cases within your own organisation.
We will also be looking at how interventions occur in the worlds largest organisations around Human Resources, Talent Identification, Performance Management, Human Performance, Change Management and other related areas.
If you have other questions on these topics that are not answered here, a good research resources can be found at www.hunterdean.com.
How do Pat Cash’s comments on Roger Federer’s tennis style changes help your teams performance?
How do you transfer knowledge within your business? Its funny I had a client the other day who was speaking about how some people in the organisation were no good at learning.
In fact you could spend serious time with them in specific situations and they would come back the next day having not retained a thing.
I had read some days before an article by Pat Cash on Roger Federer: Pat was commenting on how Roger had made some significant changes to his tennis style, here is some of what he said:
Roger is ”Now hitting the ball earlier and stepping into a more advanced position on the court. He is hitting his shots harder, courtesy of his fantastic racket-head speed. That’s a great bonus here in Melbourne because this year the court surface is sticky, which makes the balls fluff up quicker than normal and consequently sees them coming more slowly onto the racket.”
So how does this effect the way you are training your people to perform. Well what I like about Pat’s description is that he really breaks down some of the things, most people would have no clue about what so ever. Things that are crucial to Rogers performance, in fact it was only a couple of weeks after the article was written that he won the Australian open again.
In your business how are you transferring the knowledge that is crucial to the success of your highest performers. Do you have the ability to break the crucial things down to a level that actually anyone could understand them?
There are many different ways of training like:
On the job training
In front of a room
Being tested via online tests or surveys
Getting the individual to be buddied up with experts on site and having them work together then be tested afterwards by the same or other people.
Knowing, what you need to break down how and why can be a big link the chain of success.
Pat goes on to say about Roger:
“By taking the ball earlier and hitting it harder he’s in effect shortening the length of points. Also, by playing that little bit further into the court, he’s not covering so much ground. Somebody such as Nadal who plays way behind the baseline might need seven or eight paces to get from one extreme to the other but being more advanced to take the ball almost on the half-volley a lot of the time lessens the effort.”
Consider the following scenarios:
1)You are a project manager and have no idea how to bring up the topic of continuous improvement with your team.
2)You work on a project where you continuously see one of the team produce more output then three others put together.
3)Your team on the factory floor have one member who is able to produce more than 200% more than the others.
What questions might you ask the performers, how would you then record those things, to get significantly better results from the changes you then have to make?
How can you bring it to life so that as performers get better this new knowledge is captured?
What process could you use to transfer this knowledge?
How might you educate the masses?
Where would you store the data?
There are very good answers to all these things, some of which lie in the technology. Others need to have been thoroughly designed as business processes which then become part of the “Way things are done around here”.