Is your business or organization leaking institutional knowledge? How much is it costing you every day?
Every kind of business, not-for-profit, government office and other organization has institutional knowledge. It's the information you share with new people joining your staff about how things work. It's the decisions you make at meetings or in conversations with your co-workers or volunteers. It's the bits and pieces of shared understanding that develop through email messages, memos and other printed and electronic material that you create.
But many organizations don't take steps to preserve this institutional knowledge, or to give their staff, volunteers or other stakeholders easy access to it.
I see a surprising number of organizations and businesses that suffer from the malady of reinventing basic business processes and rediscovering tools and resources they already had, at the expense of using up valuable staff time and straining relationships with their customers and constituents.
Sometimes this reinventing and rediscovering happens because there's been a change in staffing, sometimes it happens because people just don't bother to write things down. But I'm amazed at the "shortcuts" people think they're taking to work around those cases:
We couldn't find our username and password to manage our website domain name, so we just registered a new one and re-printed our business cards. Problem solved!
We forgot that our last IT person already had a Facebook page setup, so we setup a new one and then asked everyone to like the new page. Problem solved!
We're not sure where the source design files are for our marketing brochure, so we'll just design a new one. Problem solved!
Meanwhile you've lost a bunch of would-be visitors to your website who still have your old business cards, halved your population of Facebook followers, and wasted someone's week on solving a problem that was already solved.
As much as I enjoy Barack Obama's oratory style and presence, there were few things in last night's State of the Union speech that stood out to me as any kind of departure from the typical talking points of this event, which are usually: