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FCW : June 15, 2015
A fully realized knowledge transfer initiative requires substantial resources — financial, time and personnel. Yet the need for expertise to be passed on, and the costs of not doing so, must be recognized. Most organizations do not have knowledge transfer built into their operations. Instead, they need to make special efforts to transfer know- how. (In our survey of CIOs, CTOs and HR executives, only 23 percent indicated that their organization had a specific program dedicated to knowledge transfer.) Inthefaceofalackof resources, your temptation will likely be to resort to lectures by the experts to the learners as the most expeditious mode of transfer. You know that you can’t possibly re-create expert decision-making and diagnostic capabilities in learners’ minds that way. Yet those deep smarts are what your organization truly needs. And allowing the learner to actively discover the knowledge can be a very effective strategy. An example of discovery in action The U.S. Army’s Leader Challenge embodies active discovery in the classroom. An experienced military leader (usually through video, but sometimes in person) poses a dilemma that he or she has personally experienced in the field. Here’s an example: In Iraq, the U.S. platoon leader has been on an extended patrol and is returning to base when an improvised explosive device (IED) kills one of his soldiers. After personally carrying the dead soldier to the medevac helicopter, he receives an order from the company commander. The leader presents the challenge he faced to a class as follows: “Coming back from an all-night foot patrol, Sgt. H. was hit by an IED. He didn’t make it. After getting him medevac’d out, I began thinking about what I was going to tell the platoon once we got back to our base. Then, the commander called and gave me a direct order to clear the nearest village, where the guys who put in the IED could be located — a mission that would easily take eight hours. My guys were out of food and water, were already physically smoked, and they were pissed off about Sgt. H. He was easily the men’s favorite team leader, and there’s no way those people [Iraqis] didn’t know about that IED. Then my trusted platoon sergeant tells me, ‘Sir, there is no way we can do that mission. Look at the guys!’ At that point, my company commander called again to find out why I wasn’t moving to the village. What do I do?” The classroom of learners now has the opportunity to discuss what to do, including thinking through potential second-order effects, both in the moment and long term. After exploring the possibilities and potential consequences of each action, the participants watch the second part of the video, which reveals what the platoon leader did. He occupied a building in the village where he took a tactical pause Knowledge transfer through discovery BY DOROTHY LEONARD, WALTER SWAP AND GAVIN BARTON Rules and data are relatively easy to share, but capturing an organization’s deep, experience-based knowledge requires special effort 22 June 15, 2015 FCW.COM Bookshelf Most organizations do not have knowledge transfer built into their operations. Instead, they need to make special efforts to transfer know-how. 0615fcw_022-024.indd 22 5/26/15 3:58 PM
May 30, 2015
June 30, 2015