There is no need to reinvent the wheel when working on professional projects. In fact, that is a really bad idea, especially if you are under pressure to finish a high-stakes deliverable, says global change manager Detlef Hold. But transferring knowledge to people who are working a new project isn’t easy. Hold has found that half of all workers tasked with a professional project have no experience actually working on that project.
This obstacle is multiplied by the reality of today’s professional environment in which workers on the same team may be spread across continents, times zones, and languages. As a solution, Hold’s team created a scalable system that transfers knowledge effectively from more experienced members of an organization to those who need the information immediately to work on a deliverable.
Detlef Hold: So, in general terms one of the things that's happening in organizations that we have a lot of smart people working together, we're extremely busy who have a lot on their plate while multitasking and who can find little time really to focus on learning, experience and change and knowledge transfer. What I've seen happening in the past is really that there's a power in making knowledge people have accessible to others. The ideal is not new, but let me give you an example in how we try to approach that. We saw that we have some global teams who have a very high stake deliverable and sometimes there are 50 percent of those people, the team members actually who are assigned to that new project who have never done that process before.
Imagine, you have 18 months to deliver something, you may be under pressure, you may be working remotely so some of the people you've never met before in your life and then you have high-stakes and need to work together effectively to achieve an outcome, which is highly observed by your senior people. When we saw that there's 50 percent of the people who have never learned that process before, we started building capabilities through a blended program. We took 70 subject matter expert's from our organization and partner functions, we brought them to workshops, we try to get their knowledge out of their head and then shape, first of all, an e-book, which is not the classical online, it's really an interactive multimedia solution developed by our people where our people appear in videos and share their stories. And then we developed a three day simulation program where we mirrored these 18 months the teams go through in an interactive process through scenarios where people are observed and they have feedback loops on an ongoing basis to understand how they can create common understanding, how they can better understand the challenges in the process and how they can actually best interact to have a good team experience but also achieve the outcomes they want in the time given. That combination of an e-book and the three day simulation, purely based on our subject matters input, their experience, their savvy in exactly that complex process, made a huge difference. And today that project is not only existing, it's been scaled globally to hundreds of people in our company. It helps them to accelerate their learning about the process and feel more comfortable really and prepared for being part of those projects and teams.