Expert knowledge strategy

Written by Grant Heinrich, 14 May 2020

The Challenge

Many fields of knowledge are evolving so rapidly that unless an expert aggressively updates their knowledge they can quickly end up working with outmoded concepts and practices. Master Experts make a habit of Knowledge Seeking – which includes routine learning of adjacent fields – not only deepening their subject matter expertise in their technical field. They will want to keep abreast of industry trends and other related matters – otherwise their authority can be eroded or their opinions out of date making the organisational vulnerable to better informed competitors.

If experts don’t masterfully curate knowledge, this can create an over-dependence on the expert who tacitly hoards all knowledge in his/her head. Not only does curation allow others to access relevant information but it also reduces the dependency on the expert who might leave the organisation or “get hit by a bus” whereby all the information previously available (through the expert) is now lost.

Master Experts routinely produce new knowledge – thought leadership – to assist the organisation and its stakeholders in leading the way in terms of next practice rather than playing catch up to other organisations achieving competitive advantage by performing better in their thought leadership practices. Experts are often best positioned to stimulate such innovation as they are typically less caught up in the status quo. Experts who complacently rest of their laurels may be culpable for any unanticipated disruptions that adversely impact the organisation for want of effective thought leadership.

A failure to adequately knowledge share keeps experts overburdened, limits other stakeholders’ ability to exercise greater self-reliance, autonomy and initiative and heightens the likelihood of single-points of failure. Even when experts have the instinct to share knowledge, they often lack effective knowledge transfer skills – failing to stimulate others’ appetite to learn or providing practical and engaging learning resources or experiences.

The Content

In this pod session, your team member discussed and explored with their fellow podsters:

  • Auditing current knowledge-seeking practices and sources and broadening their strategies in this regard.

  • Auditing current knowledge-curation practices and broadening their strategies accordingly

  • Identifying needs for and opportunities to increase their knowledge generation and planning accordingly

  • Exploring tools for conducting effective learning and performance needs analyses and designing learner friendly and practical learning experiences

The Punchlines

  • Master Experts don’t only continue learning more technical skills but also build knowledge of other essential fields which inform their work – e.g. Market Context, industry trends, business acumen, innovation skills, influencing skills, etc.

  • If, as experts, we fail to externalise our tacit knowledge then we are conspiring in our own being overwhelmed by requests where stakeholders might be resourced to become more self-reliant and autonomous. Whilst we might derive some pleasure in being needed, we are also exposing the organisation to risk if we fail to externalise our tacit knowledge, documenting and making it accessible.

  • If we’re not providing thought leadership then the organisation might be not be receiving the full value of our expertise.

  • With a little imagination, most areas of content can be made engaging and relevant – rather than dry and abstract. Many of our target learners will need an opportunity to practice applying the new skills and knowledge we’re sharing rather than being bombarded with theory. Rounded learning experiences include provisioning for practice, reflection, exploratory conversations and planning – not merely didactic lectures of “how to”s without clear understandings of “why to”s.