Note: This article contains 1,036 words, with an estimated read time of 4 minutes.
While I can’t argue that knowledge isn’t essential, there is no power in knowledge alone. What you do with the knowledge is what truly matters. I offer nine insights to help harness knowledge for power in your business to increase profitability and productivity.
If Knowledge Isn’t Power, What Is?Knowledge is a critical component of what makes us human, and while it is obvious other species have intelligence, how humans use this knowledge is what truly sets us apart. Click To Tweet
So, while knowledge is essential to progress, both in life and business, it is not enough, it needs action. Consider it the first step on your journey to growth, improvement, success. Power comes from applying knowledge, and with this comes social and political power, helping you create healthier and more influential relationships.
Remove Barriers to Acting
As knowledge requires action to see productive results, removing barriers to acting in your business is the first step towards implementing your knowledge. Making it easier to apply knowledge is the first step towards seeing the true power of information.
- Reduce the number of minor decisions you need to make in a day to reduce decision-fatigue
- Carve out to time to learn and act on your learning. While it doesn’t have to be as extreme as Google’s previous 80/20 rule, carving out time for innovating, learning, and developing skills for the team is essential.
- Take risks. Changing behaviours that come from gaining new information is always a bit scary. But everything in life has risk; it’s only a matter of the level.
Provide an Empowered Work Environment
Often, the reason people don’t apply their knowledge at work is because of a lack of empowerment, a culture of fear or distrust.Often, the reason people don’t apply their knowledge at work is because of a lack of empowerment, a culture of fear or distrust. Click To Tweet
It could be as simple as providing more opportunities for people to speak up. Culture is a significant contributor to innovation and creativity. Creating a ‘safe’ place that people enjoy working at will help encourage knowledge application. Invest in your people to the best of your budget, provide support, and allow questions. Some tips to help with this are:
- Encourage and support employee development – listen to what they are interested in and help provide as many opportunities as possible to allow them to work on these skills. Not only will you signal to your employees that you genuinely care, but you will also gain from the learned knowledge they bring to the business.
- Provide an ‘open-door’ policy that works for your company that considers the need for deep work, collaboration, and client time. Keeping in mind the open door isn’t only for the employees to walk in, it’s also for the leader to walk out to them.
- Don’t believe that technology can solve all your problems. While it is highly useful to automate redundant tasks (and hopefully reducing these types of tasks for your teams), it cannot replace face-to-face communication. Take the time to listen to your employees and let them know you ‘hear’ and ‘see’ them. This will foster trusting relationships that encourage people to take a risk and share a new idea or solution to an issue facing the company.
Organize (Knowledge Management)
“Knowledge is a fluid mix of framed experience, values, contextual information, and expert insight that provides a framework for evaluating new experience and information. It originates and is applied in the minds of knowers.” (credit: Davenport & Prusak, 1998). How we manage this knowledge, therefore, is critical to how it is applied. While the better-known Information Management deals with improving and managing the systems that capture, store, and categorize and transmit the information, Knowledge Management deals with setting up your business to better support decision-management and innovation.
Setting up your business to capture better and more relevant information and creating an environment that makes it easier to make sense of the information, so that it turns into knowledge, which can be turned into power – that is, towards creating efficiencies, launching innovative products and services, and hopefully to get profitable.
Start thinking about how you manage and organize your knowledge today
Here are three ideas to get you started:
- Ensure you have a sound Information Management System. Look at how and where you capture your data, what assumptions you make, and how you categorize and store the information. Think of this as market or business intelligence. Information Systems will support the people who make decisions by making information accessible and easy to analyze.
- Hire the right people (expertise) and trust them. Invest in their skills and development. People are the most important part of any business. In fact, they are an asset, not necessarily an expense. While technology can store the information and even somewhat smartly categorize it (thanks to AI), there is still no replacement for human experience and our ability to derive the correct context.
- Invest the time to truly understand your strategy and culture. From this, make sure to create processes that support the strategic goals, rather than hinder it. Assess the current procedures and policies to make sure they work for the business today, not yesterday.
The Bottom Line
While I can’t argue that knowledge for the sake of knowledge has its benefits in broadening the mind and helping people think critically and creatively, to see true progress, you must act. By taking an active approach to gaining knowledge, capturing it, and creating a culture that respects the power that comes from using it, success will be easier to achieve. What do you think? Do you have any other ideas on using knowledge to achieve your goals?