Competing Through People  |  January 2013 Edition
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MAC 2011

Knowledge Transfer: Baby Boomers are Creating a Knowledge Bust


Baby boomers are retiring in hordes.  For many companies, that means that years and years of knowledge and experience are walking out the door.  We recently co-sponsored a Knowledge Transfer summit to share best practices and find out what companies are doing to address this challenge.


Here's a just a few of the things I learned :

  • Knowledge transfer shouldn't be viewed as a stand-alone process.  It should be linked to other talent management processes like workforce planning, performance management and success management.
  • Defining what knowledge is critical is key.  Not all knowledge is created equal or has equal relevance to the future of the organization.
  • It is more important to capture why a decision was made than what was done or  how it was implemented.
  • A standard process with a variety of supporting tools can help.
  • Technology isn't the sole solution.  Building connections and relationships between people is more important that what software you use.
Leadership Development on Steroids: Leadership Cohorts


You've probably heard the mantra "70-20-10" used to describe the research on what it takes to develop leaders; 70 percent of development comes from varied and challenging experiences, 20 percent involves learning from others and 10 percent relates to self study or training.  When we work with an organization to develop its leaders, the development plans focus on those components.


We've found that identifying the "70" and "10" components of an effective leadership development plan are often easier than programming the 20 percent people portion (say that 10 times fast).  There are good role models out there but they are busy and not everyone has the skills to be a good coach or mentor.


So what can you do to build "learning from others" into a leadership development process?  We recently found success with a client by creating Leadership Development Cohorts.


We created the cohorts by placing leaders in similar career stages in small teams. Recently promoted High-Potentials in one team, Emerging Leaders in another. (The placement was based on the results of a robust talent assessment.) The cohorts participated in developing competency models for their roles and then completed assessments (self or 360) using the models to gather targeted feedback.  They then attended a workshop to learn about effective leadership development and converted the feedback into detailed development plans which they shared with each other. 


The cohorts really helped accelerate the development process.  The Leaders shared development ideas, successes and failures.  They held each other accountable.  Those working on common competencies were able to support each other.  They also had someone to talk to about their issues and challenges that wasn't their boss.  We supported the cohorts with one-on-one coaching and follow up team sessions.


Looking for something to take your leadership development process to the next level?  Try Leadership Cohorts.

What Are You Up To?


More Michael Couch & Associates recent projects.


Challenge:  A privately-held business serving the gas industry is experiencing  rapid growth and would like to address the challenges this creates so that it can assure its future. 
What We're Doing: We designed a three stage process process to target the issues from the employee's perspective, assess the capability of the talent to handle growth and improve a core business process. 
Challenge:  A regional health care nonprofit is experiencing a significant change in the demands in its marketplace and must change dramatically to keep up.
What We Did:  First, we designed and facilitated a strategic planning process the identified the most likely future scenario for the organization and the strategic initiatives it must undertake.  We than implemented a talent assessment process to assure the organization had the capability to achieve the strategy.
Challenge:  The leadership of a privately-held technical services business was having a difficult time agreeing on a design for an incentive compensation system that would drive the performance of the business.
What We Did:  Designed and facilitated a Compression Planning session that accomplished in a few hours what the leaders were unable to do in several meetings over weeks.
In This Edition
Addressing Knowledge Transfer
Leadership Development Cohorts
What Are You Up To?
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