Give your team access to all the knowledge they need.

You’ve probably heard that old saying “knowledge is power.” It’s more than just a cliché. In fact, it’s incredibly relevant when it comes to how your team functions. Every organization has organizational knowledge, that is, the sum of the knowledge belonging to each member within it.

Organizational knowledge can also be broken down into key knowledge, which tells us how to create value for the customer; codifiable knowledge, referring to facts and routines in the company; and tacit knowledge, or beliefs and expertise.

Let’s take a closer look at why organizational knowledge is vital, and how it works.

Imagine you work in a call center with two other people, whom we’ll call Anton and Berta. Anton and Berta have key knowledge, but what happens when Anton and Berta are sick, and you receive a call from a customer named Tom, whose credit card has been stolen?

Somewhere in your company handbook there’ll be a section on credit cards: codifiable knowledge that might help Tom. But nobody told you where to find it. And, if you’re unable to contact Anton and get his advice, your tacit knowledge – that you’re 99 percent sure Tom’s money is safe – is insufficient, and probably won’t make Tom feel any better, and he definitely won’t think too highly of your company.

Clearly, there’s something wrong with this model.

So instead of each team member hoarding a specific kind of knowledge, the goal should be for tacit, codifiable and key knowledge to be equally accessible to each team member in your company.

How can you ensure this? The best way is to facilitate learning.

Structured learning methods, like manuals, customer research and videos, help everyone access codifiable knowledge. On the other hand, unstructured learning methods, like storytelling, role-playing or personnel rotation, increase the exchange of tacit knowledge because experiences get shared.