GLOBE October 2017 October 2017 - Page 20

GLOBE - Growth.Leadership.Organisation.Business.Education 19 4

4. Avoiding redundant effort

No one likes to spend time doing something over again. But they do so all the time for a variety of reasons. Avoiding duplication of effort saves time and money, keeps employee morale up, and streamlines work. By not spending time reinventing the wheel, you can have more time to invent something new.

5. Avoiding making the same mistakes twice

George Santayana said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”3 If we don't learn from our mistakes, we will experience them over and over again. Knowledge management allows us to share lessons learned, not only about successes, but also about failure to do so, we must have a culture of trust, openness, and reward for willingness to talk about what we have done wrong. The potential benefits are enormous. If NASA learns why a space shuttle exploded, it can prevent recurrences and save lives. If FEMA learns what went wrong in responding to Hurricane Katrina, it can reduce the losses caused by future disasters.

If engineers learn why highways and buildings collapsed during a previous earthquake, they can design new ones to withstand future earthquakes better. If you learn that 50% underestimated your last bid or estimate, you can make the next one more accurate and thus earn a healthy profit instead of incurring a large loss.

6. Taking advantage of existing expertise and experience

Teams benefit from the individual skills and knowledge of each member. The more complementary the expertise of the team members, the greater the power of the team. In large organizations, there are people with widely-varying capabilities and backgrounds, and there should be a benefit from this. But as the number of people increases, it becomes more difficult for each person to know about everyone else. So even though there are people with knowledge who could help other people, they don't know about each other. The late Lew Platt, former CEO of HP, is widely quoted as saying "If only HP knew what HP knows, we would be three times more productive." Knowing what others know can be very helpful at a time of need since you learn from their experience and apply it to your current requirements.