Lew Platt, former CEO of Hewlett-Packard, once said: “If HP knew what HP knows, we would be three times more productive.”
Whilst talking to a leading global consultancy last week in San Francisco about the role of content, it was apparent that there was clear opportunity for both business development and internal knowledge transfer for the long-term sustainability of the business.
Below is a great example of how The World Bank realised that their team could benefit from other colleagues expert advice and knowledge.
On another tangent, Marc Zuckerberg's first project at Harvard was an internal knowledge transfer platform for his Art class so that they could all share expert insights on specific pieces, thus educating each other at scale. The outcome was the highest marks recorded in the course at Harvard (I heard about this on Masters of Scale Podcast last week - highly recommend!).
What this demonstrates is that leveraging the expertise of your team to educate and inform others has a positive impact on external business (or exam) outcomes. This is not new, but it is hard to do.
If you are a consultancy looking to become the leader, it is important that you do this externally (through marketing) but also make sure you can 'walk the talk' by having the best team internally receiving and distributing knowledge.
Here are few reasons why:
1. Increases customer happiness - since they will be getting the best in class insight from all areas of your team. This is proven to grow your business (Aberdeen Research).
2. Improve decision making - speed and quality can be improved by simply having the senior experts showcasing what they know and the junior team with less experience leveraging.
3. Reinventing the wheel - by making expert insights available your global team are less likely to waste time on topics that are well known elsewhere in the business.
4. Educating the next generation - the future of any business relies upon junior employees being able to demonstrate expertise to their clients. Bringing the new members of your team up to speed is hard. Enabling your current experts knowledge available to new members of the team will efficiently allow this - at scale.
5. Efficiency and growth - A study by McKinsey & Co found that collaborating through blogs and online tools has improved business processes and organisation performance in general. In addition, Edelman PR and LinkedIn have found that the content needs to be from the experts, timely and relevant.
6. Influence at scale - decisions are made at all levels of a business now and if all your team are aware of the expertise, they can easily disseminate this to their peers and thus make them and the firm the 'go-to'.
As mentioned above, it is hard to execute this at scale and my recommendation would be to make sure you have tangible business outcome motivators to your team i.e. the content produced is available to be used externally and internally.
And of course, to reiterate, the creation of expert content delivered to your target audience directly from your team drives business growth. More on why that moves the needle for your b2b business here.
One remedy implemented by some organizations is to create “communities of practice” for people who could benefit from one another’s advice—as the World Bank has done to help the 100 or so of its planners who focus on urban poverty to facilitate discussions on projects to upgrade slums. The communities feature online tools to help geographically dispersed members search for basic information (say, member roles and the specific challenges they are addressing) and sometimes use the latest social-networking tools to provide more sophisticated information, including whom the members have worked or trained with.