What Are You Doing About Retiring Expertise? New Book and Public Workshop on Capturing and Transferring Corporate Knowledge

What are your plans for preserving your internal corporate expertise in 2017?

Join us for a public workshop in the Philadelphia area on December 16 based on the book Finding Your SMEs: Capturing Knowledge from Retiring Subject Matter Experts in Your Organization Before They Leave, where we will look at the kinds of expertise you need to capture and how to make those decisions.

Here are the details.

Topic: Working with Subject Matter Experts: 3 Clear Strategies for Finding, Capturing & Transferring Retiring Expertise.

Date: December 16, 2016

Time: 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Place: Malvern, Pa

Cost: $30 (lunch will be provided)

An additional session in January will be available to accommodate holiday schedules. Seating is limited. Recommended that you send more than one person from your organization to facilitate discussion within your company.

A nearly perceptible anxiety surrounds the retiring baby boom generation in corporate America today. Many thriving businesses began in the post World War II manufacturing boom. As those knowledge workers leave for the sunny golf courses of Florida, they take with them lifetimes of knowledge and skills that some businesses will never replace.  But it doesn’t have to be that way for your organization.

Join us for the workshop on December 16. Click here to register.

Our host for the event, AmpTech, serves as a provider of expertise for innovators, entrepreneurs and startups.

AmpTech Commercialization Center

As part of the Greater Philadelphia Entrepreneurship and Innovation Ecosystem, AmpTech maintains a collaborative environment where start-ups, service providers, investors, academia and local businesses can join together to get products and services to market FASTER. AmpTech bridges the gap for start-ups and corporate innovators by providing a place to develop products quickly and under one roof. AmpTech provides rapid prototyping capabilities establishing an opportunity to pilot various technologies before market launch.

31 General Warren Blvd, Malvern, PA 19355, USA
info@amptech.org   |   484-320-8938
http://amptech.org/

For more information about AmpTech, click here.

If you have questions, you can also contact me directly at workingwithsmes@gmail.com.

Public Workshop in the Philadelphia Area: 3 Clear Strategies for Finding, Capturing & Transferring Retiring Expertise

What are your plans for preserving your internal corporate expertise in 2017? Join us for a public workshop on December 16 based on the book Finding Your SMEs: Capturing Knowledge from Retiring Subject Matter Experts in Your Organization Before They Leave, where we will look at the kinds of expertise you need to capture and how to make those decisions.

Here are the details.

Topic: Working with Subject Matter Experts: 3 Clear Strategies for Finding, Capturing & Transferring Retiring Expertise.

Date: December 16, 2016

Time: 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Cost: $30 (lunch will be provided)

An additional session in January will be available to accommodate holiday schedules. Seating is limited. Recommended that you send more than one person from your organization to facilitate discussion within your company.

A nearly perceptible anxiety surrounds the retiring baby boom generation in corporate America today. Many thriving businesses began in the post World War II manufacturing boom. As those knowledge workers leave for the sunny golf courses of Florida, they take with them lifetimes of knowledge and skills that some businesses will never replace.  But it doesn’t have to be that way for your organization.

Join us for the workshop on December 16. Click here to register.

Our host for the event, AmpTech, serves as a provider of expertise for innovators, entrepreneurs and startups.

AmpTech Commercialization Center

As part of the Greater Philadelphia Entrepreneurship and Innovation Ecosystem, AmpTech maintains a collaborative environment where start-ups, service providers, investors, academia and local businesses can join together to get products and services to market FASTER. AmpTech bridges the gap for start-ups and corporate innovators by providing a place to develop products quickly and under one roof. AmpTech provides rapid prototyping capabilities establishing an opportunity to pilot various technologies before market launch.

31 General Warren Blvd, Malvern, PA 19355, USA
info@amptech.org   |   484-320-8938
http://amptech.org/

For more information about AmpTech, click here.

If you have questions, you can also contact me directly at workingwithsmes@gmail.com.

Available Now! Finding Your SMEs: Capturing Knowledge from Your Retiring Subject Matter Experts Before They Leave

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Pre-Publication copies of Finding Your SMEs are available today for $17.99. Click here to order.

If you’re like many companies, much of your expertise is getting ready to retire. Finding Your SMEs: Capturing the Knowledge of Your Retiring Subject Matter Experts Before They Leave gives you a methodology for working with your internal subject matter experts.
Make sure you are:

– capturing your most critical knowledge

– talking to the right people

– doing an environmental scan that considers your past and your future

You consider your company a forward-looking learning organization. You want to get knowledge management down to a science.

So you are you wondering…

What happens when the mass exodus of Baby Boomers leaves and takes their expertise with them?

Have we replaced our retiring workers?

Can we replace our experts?

What will happen to our core business if we don’t replace them?

How can we prepare younger workers to learn what our legacy employees know?

If you have asked yourself these questions, this book is for you.

Finding Your SMEs: Capturing Knowledge from Your Subject Matter Experts in Your Organization Before They Leave gives you a way to analyze your company and its value to your customers so you can identify your most critical assets that you must preserve for business continuity.

You will also learn:

·         where to find the places your experts reside in your company

·         which assets are worth spending your finite resources to capture

·         how to determine if you are capturing expertise correctly

·         what to consider when you project your future knowledge needs

·         why you need to consider technology options for preservation methods and training platforms for transferring knowledge from your experts to future generations
Pre-publication copies available today for $17.99. Click here.

For those who are local in the Philadelphia area, I will be holding a half-day public workshop on 3 Strategies for Finding, Capturing and Transferring Your Internal Expertise to help you successfully manage your internal knowledge to make it available for next gen learners. Please email me at workingwithsmes@gmail.com for details.

Dear Mr. or Madam President: The U.S. Needs to Be a Learning Organization

Today is probably the most important day in U.S. history in many decades. Unless you are living off-planet, you know most voters will go to the polls to elect a new president. We won’t be electing just any president this year. We’ll be electing a human to solve super-human problems. No matter who takes the Oval Office, they will be called on to solve crazy big issues:  gross overspending, slow growth, rising rates of poverty and disenfranchisement, and the immediate threat of a global nuclear war.

For the first time in decades, the electorate has a clear choice. While some call this year’s candidates divisive, I think it is a healthy sign that we have departed from traditional Frick-and-Frack politics. The stark differences between the two major party candidates goes well beyond male and female. Their vastly different styles and philosophies have given people in the U.S. clear, distinct paths to really think about the nation’s direction forward. The most important part of that sentence is that people are thinking about the path forward. People are thinking about solutions and they are passionate about their ideas. Nobody denies we are in need of a new direction and people are excited about it.

Now, to harness all this great energy to clear a path forward.

U.S. Department of Human Potential

Great organizations today are learning organizations. As our country thinks about how to solve our problems, we need to consider techniques used by the most successful organizations. Today, all great organizations are learning organizations – they preserve and manage knowledge, develop talent and encourage innovation. The U.S. is already doing some of those things with some innovative initiatives.

Just as companies appoint a Chief Information Officer to the C-suite, recently our country installed a national CIO to oversee the big picture and direction of our national IT infrastructure. Following that lead, the new U.S. president should consider creating a national cabinet level Chief Learning Officer to combine and replace the outdated Departments of Labor and Education. A national CLO would oversee our efforts to develop human potential as a critical national priority just as leading companies are installing CLOs in the C-suite. And by combining the Departments of Education and Labor, we recognize that our citizens are continually learning, growing and contributing at every stage of life.

The reason we need a U.S. Department of Human Potential is simple: Human productivity is the core of every nation’s wealth.

Gold Is a Proxy for Human Productivity

Some financiers might say the country with the most gold wins. That is only partially true. Gold is a proxy for wealth, and true wealth is the full development and use of a country’s human potential. A country might be rich in mineral wealth but that is usually concentrated among a few. For stable societies based on broad income distribution, real wealth is about people reaching their full potential. All people, and that includes not just factory workers and corporate executives, but artists and actors and software entrepreneurs. Everybody wins when all participants in the great human tapestry are able to fully contribute as value is exchanged among them.

The hard work and ingenuity of U.S. citizens and immigrants in the early 20th Century led to the largest social expansions of education, access to health and leisure time in history. The well-educated and healthy populace created wealth that it then, quite accidentally, squandered by offshoring too much of the work to other countries. The countries that accepted the opportunities to do the work have prospered and, in fact, have accumulated most of the gold as a result of their decision to maximize their human potential (see China).

This isn’t to ignore the low-wages and poor working conditions that often proliferated in those countries where sweat shops harnessed human labor like animals. Let me suggest that as hard physical labor is being replaced by robotics, those conditions can be corrected.

What I am suggesting here is that the countries that maximize their human potential also eventually become the most prosperous, which is why I stated that gold is a proxy for human productivity. And that is exactly why we need a national CLO to help direct the development of our human potential.

Science and technological advances will allow dangerous jobs under poor working conditions to go the way of the dodo bird. But first, we need to turn our national attention to building our most precious resource, our people.

From that, social stability, prosperity and peace can follow.

What is your company doing to preserve and enhance its expertise so you are part of the next great wave of prosperity?

 

Checklist for Finding and Working with Subject Matter Experts

10 Steps to Capturing Critical Information from Retiring Workers

This week, I will be speaking to a local manufacturers’ association on an overview about how to identify and capture knowledge from the mass exodus of retiring workers.

It forced me to break down the entire methodology of two books into a few slides. After coming up with 10 steps, I thought I’d share the 30,000 foot view with my blog viewers, as well. As those of you who have been following this blog for a year or more already know, the devil is in the details. However, the high level view is a very good place to start so the devil has context.

The 10 steps have three major divisions. They are:

Part 1: Identify Critical Areas of Information within Your Organizationt

1. Make a thorough assessment of your organizational chart

2. Don’t overlook the obvious

3. Don’t overlook the un-obvious

Part 2: Ask Them the Right Questions

4. People don’t know what they don’t know

5. Do a well-thought-out interview

6. Get them talking

Part 3: Assess Your Current Information Assets

7. Review current knowledge and training materials

8.Update material where possible, fill in gaps where necessary

9. Consider all information assets and connect them with trends in your company and your industry

10. Iterate regularly

Currently scheduled public workshop: I will be conducting a workshop on how to work with subject matter experts at the 2nd Annual AGXPE meeting in Annapolis, MD from September 25-28, 2016. AGXPE is an organization dedicated to best practices in the pharmaceutical and related regulated industries. For more information or to register, click here.

What to Include In a Full Knowledge Capture in Your Organization

As you work through cataloguing the knowledge in your company, it is easy to overlook some things either because they are so obvious you forget they are important or because they are so obscure that they may be out of your direct line of sight. In the interest of doing a full knowledge capture in your organization, you can run down a systematic pathway that can reveal items that you might otherwise overlook.

I started to assemble a list of places to look and things to consider as you run through a whole-house inventory of your corporate assets.Here is my first pass to help organizations identify corporate competitive advantages and assets.

  • Your patented products and processes
  • Trademarks and copyrighted materials
  • Proprietary lists of customers and suppliers
  • Personnel with unique relationships with individual employees, customers and vendors
  • Software and training programs developed specifically for your company
  • Contracts – real estate, insurance, employees, vendors/suppliers, equipment and machinery purchase, repair, lease
  • Labor – professional, full and part-time, contract, consulting
  • Capital investments – lease/purchase buildings, machinery, vehicles and craft, infrastructure (private roads, rails, airstrips, etc), including valuable locations near customers, sources of supply or transportation
  • Special circumstances – laws, exceptions, waivers, licenses, etc that allow you to do business in a certain way, in a certain location or under certain conditions.

Please feel free to add your input in the comment box below to make additions and even deletions from this list. What would you include? What would you consider irrelevant? Would something like this list be helpful in assembling your corporate knowledge base if you didn’t have one, or if you have one that needs revision?

I look forward to your comments!

 

 

In Favor of a CLO? When NextGen Learning Needs a View from the Top

When organizations do knowledge management well, it is usually because territorial battles waged. Someone with authority at the top made decisions and roles of responsibility in the training department realigned. That is why it is critical for organizations to have a chief learning officer sitting in the C-suite. Territorial battles need referees who have the big picture and no entrenched interests in preserving an individual fiefdom in the kingdom that is your corporation.

Knowing which knowledge to capture, retain or discard requires trainers to be part of the inner circle of business leaders in an organization. It becomes the role of the training expert to also understand business in general as well as their organizations and industries specifically so they can be at the helm with other executives to assist them in making these decisions. We are beginning to see Chief Learning Officers (CLO) alongside the CEO, CFO, CIO and, in medical organizations, CMO. As we think about successful businesses as learning organizations, it follows logically that the training department is an essential member of the team that determines the direction of the organization.

This critical role at the big kids’ table requires trainers to learn the business of business, as well as the industry in which they work. Without industry knowledge, programs lack context and this contributes to the fact that training programs often wind up as shelfware, never used or cast aside after a brief time. If the instructional designer has little knowledge of the business or industry in which they work, how can their programs have context or relevance to the enterprise? The answer, of course, is that they can’t.

The subject of knowledge management is now as much part of an organization’s success strategy as its sales, R&D and marketing strategies.

Here are 5 steps to guide your organization’s critical knowledge capture requiring a champion in the C-suite

1. Funnel all training and knowledge management through one pathway in the organization that ends at the top

2. Identify the expertise you need to capture by doing a matrix walk-through

3. Create a plan for working with your critical subject matter experts and conduct interviews that result in capturing critical information for your training programs

4. Develop a logical single system for storing and retrieving critical knowledge

5. Establish a review process to assess the ongoing relevancy and accuracy of critical knowledge stored in your organization

The final arbiter of the value of existing knowledge and its relevance going forward must be someone who has the widest possible vantage point in the organization. That person needs to have as few attachments to the way things are done as possible because it is their job to envision the way things need to be. CLOs,  or someone in a similar high-level, above-the-fray capacity, needs to be able to make the tough calls regarding which training is most effective and which consultants are adding value.

Does your training department have a strong voice in the executive suite?

Join Us 4/18 at 7 pm for a Free Working With SMEs Webinar

Do you want to talk about Subject Matter Experts? Then join us on Monday, April 18 at 7 p.m. for a free webinar on finding and working with subject matter experts in your organization.

The Eastern Pennsylvania Chapter of the Association for Talent Development (ATDEPA) is sponsoring this free, one-hour webinar where we can talk SMEs- why to find them, how to find them, and what to do when you’ve found them. You don’t have to be a member of ATD or our chapter to attend, although we’d love to have you as a member.

Our chapter wants to thank DeSales University for hosting this online event as we take their new Blackboard software for a ride. We played with it yesterday and the technology is a go. It’s got some cool functionality so you can pop in on your microphone, join us by video or call in from your phone.

Our host from DeSales University in Center Valley, PA is Eric J. Hagan, Ed.D., Director, Distance Education and Instructional Technology, who will be driving the webinar and also bringing academia’s perspective to the topic.

So if you’ve got an hour to spare from anywhere to talk SMEs and want to engage in some conversation, please join us by clicking on this link. It will take you  to the Eastern PA ATD website where you can sign up. You’ll receive verification of your registration from the chapter.

Here’s that link again. I hope to see you there.

Been On SME Blog Hiatus!

Yes, it’s true. I’ve been on a Working With SMEs blog hiatus. I started a second book, Finding Your SMEs, and it is chugging along more slowly than I had anticipated. So I am carving out time to attack it and finish it.

Finding Your SMEs is more than half finished, and has been for nearly a year. The webinar will cover some of the new material from the book and the live workshop under development.

One more time, here’s that link to our ATD Eastern PA chapter website where you can register to attend. We plan to record it and make it available later, so if you sign up and can’t make it, you’ll get the replay.

Innovation versus “The Way We’ve Always Done It”

For the last few months, I have been writing about the value of preserving your core competencies. If you’re GE or Kodak or Microsoft, or even if you are you (!), your core competency is the heart and soul of your business.

Where you are going and what you are building will happen on the bedrock of who you are to the public and your customers. At core, Kodak will always be about preserving images. GE will always be about great engineering and manufacturing industrial and commercial machines. Microsoft is about processing and storing information.

By connecting to the reason you are in business, you can make good decisions about where to place your focus now and in the future. If you want to drift too far from your core mission, consider starting a new business. But just because you stick to your knitting, as it were, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t embrace change. In fact, staying in business is all about the art of embracing life-sustaining change.

The Art of Embracing Change

Change for the sake of change is just so much wasted motion. Healthy change is very different. Healthy change is innovation and the life blood of your organization. It is knowing when the environment or external conditions require your response to stay vibrant. Healthy change can also come from inside your organization. The best kind of internal healthy change comes from developing new products, services and processes that set a new standard requiring others in your industry and the external environment to respond to you.

Living organisms are always changing. With rapid advances in technology and global 24/7 interconnectivity, nothing stays the same for more than a New York minute. To remain competitive, your organization will respond to this change, and perhaps even initiate some of it. That doesn’t mean that the core elements that define your organization don’t deserve the respect they have earned. Consistency is a good thing, especially in the midst of change.

Preserving Core Competencies is not Stagnation

Let me repeat that. Preserving your company’s core competencies is not about stagnation. It is healthy to preserve what works and how your customers know you. Play to your strengths.

Stagnation is different. Stagnation is that enemy of innovation: “This is the way we’ve always done it.” If something is the way you’ve always done it, it’s time to look at your products, services and processes and rethink it. When you rethink it, you may find you have already optimized the way it can be done. For now.

Due to the rapid changes in technology, and changes in education and (get this) people, the way you have always done things is probably not the best way to do things now. Real healthy change is about keeping things alive. Like a shark, if your organization stops moving, it’s dead.

BYOD, IoT and Embracing Change

I have been kicking around the tension between preserving core competencies and embracing innovation for a few months. An article from from CIO Insight last week gave me the clarity to organize my thought on this issue. In How the IoT and BYOD Increase Business Agility , author D.P. Morrissey discusses the vulnerabilities, inevitability and impact of both the Internet of Things and Bring Your Own Device on companies. Quoting a survey by Tata Consultancy Services, the article says:

“The topic has become the focus of passionate examination and spirited debate at the top-most level of a growing number of major companies around the world … The early IoT leaders are more likely to digitally reimagine their businesses and produce substantial value for customers, not just value for themselves.”

Like a Shark

Yes, the value of your business’s core competencies cannot be overstated. They cannot be lost. However, as long as your company plans to operate in the 21st Century – and perhaps beyond – it must keep moving.

Morrissey encapsulates the essence of this tension when he says, “There is little forgiveness for the slow in business. Just as evolution rewards the strong, businesses that embrace agility and IoT practices will be rewarded by leading markets and financial categories.”