Without a solid foundation, any structure will collapse. This is also true when it comes to managing your organization’s knowledge: without an in-depth understanding of your goals, stakeholders, and knowledge, your business-building initiatives are doomed from the start.
Your business can’t grow unless the right knowledge gets into the right hands. That means you need a knowledge management and transfer strategy that clearly outlines the following:
- Goals. What is your business trying to achieve? What are your focus areas for growth and differentiation?
- Stakeholders. Who impacts the success of your business and these goals (e.g. customers, employees, investors, regulatory bodies, the community, etc.)?
- Knowledge. What do those stakeholders need to know in order to perform the actions that help your business achieve those goals? (E.g. Do prospects need to convert into customers? Do customers needs to refer you? Do employees need to adopt a new process? These are just some examples of the actions stakeholders can only take when they are equipped with the right knowledge.)
If you do not have a firm grasp on these three components, you will develop tactics that fail to deliver. At best, you might achieve accidental — and limited — success.
Say, for example, you’re a commercial roofing company. You design a social media campaign to teach your target audience (for instance, building owners) about a new winterizing service you offer. You spend significant time and money on this campaign. You create amazing, high quality content. But it doesn’t get much engagement, nor does it boost sales. What went wrong? Your understanding of your stakeholders was off – and you sunk your energies onto channels and platforms they weren’t using. Essentially, you were blaring your message to an empty room.
Two Out of Three?
Imagine a tripod: what happens if one leg is missing? It cannot stand. Likewise, a knowledge management strategy with only two out of three of these components will not stand. It will not support your organization’s growth or its success.
On the other hand, if you operate in the center – where goals, stakeholders, and knowledge overlap – you can make decisions from a position of power. While tremendously beneficial to marketing or advertising initiatives, it isn’t limited to these areas. You can make strategic decisions about your sales force, sales tactics, recruitment, training, operations… anything. And you can make them with confidence that you are moving in the right direction.
Great strategy and smart, measurable programs are born here: at the junction of these crucial components. Operating in the center provides you with all the information you need to make decisions that are impactful, sustainable, and that have resonance.
Does it take an upfront investment in time to understand and clarify your goals, stakeholders, and knowledge? Yes. But it’s time well spent. You can use that framework again and again as you make decisions throughout your business that enable it to move forward.
Goals. Stakeholders. Knowledge. When your strategy comes from the intersection of these components, you create an unshakeable foundation. From there, you can build what you will.