Having worked together on an exclusive new Field Service News White Paper, Kris Oldland joined Martin Knook, CEO of Gomocha, to discuss the various layers of knowledge transfer and the art of information.
In this engaging long-form discussion, the two cover a vast range of topics relating to the importance of knowledge transfer, including why developing a culture of continuous learning is critical and what technologies need to be in place to make putting the correct information where and when it is needed the most.
Here in this excerpt from the full-length version of the discussion, the conversation turns to the important role that corporate culture plays in establishing continuous learning that is vital to establish ongoing knowledge sharing and knowledge transfer.
This interview is part of the FSN PRO library of premium content. It is available in FSN’s free subscription tier FSN FREE. Make sure you log in to view the complete whitepaper and videos.
Kris Oldland: I often referenced a book by Charles Duhigg called The Power of Habit. And it’s about culture and changing culture. A very similar example, I am trying to remember the guy’s name now. But he took over the aluminum company in America, came in, and wanted to change corporate culture. And so he said, I won’t make this the most profitable. I’m not going to make us the lock. I’m going to make some safest build companies in America. That was his mission that he went in with. But everyone in the shareholders got terrified, as you can imagine, a CEO making a statement. But every single time there is an issue, you think about aluminum manufacturing, a lot of injuries, big machinery, hot metals; make a recommendation, everyone’s got my email, everyone makes a recommendation, you don’t have to go to your manager. Fast forward a few years, and the company was the most profitable. And he explained why he took that approach. He said I wanted to change the culture. But I knew that I couldn’t change it with language. That wasn’t anything the guys would buy into. So that’s why I wanted to change the language around that. And the reason I referenced it is they closed the loop of conversation. It’s fascinating.
I was at a conference, and somebody referenced something similar. Product engineers and service engineers, you put them together, and they’ll stay away from each other. And there’s this mindset unless somebody crosses the divide. And when they do, they suddenly realize how much knowledge is in the field. And they realize how valuable for the engineers and design engineers, and vice versa—and bringing that together. And we often think about knowledge transfer and the art of information as based on technology or process. But it’s the people. Isn’t it?
Martin Knook: Yeah. And to your point, it is the creativity side because you bring in ideation and suggestions on improving it. So, if we have an example of the librarian with problem-solving, and your example here on ideas on the creative side, thinking out of the box, and if that can be addressed with the feedback loop, that is knowledge transfer. If you got your higher 20 new field techs, how can you apply those? What do you need to do? Do you capture that knowledge from ideas and problems? And how do you transmit that to someone new on your team? That’s where training can come in. Because that’s consolidated facts, you can train; the training will not bring the experience or knowledge you can structure. That’s experience.
Kris Oldland: I just started a thought. I would say that thinking in circles, the other flip side of that is when your engineers are there, and they have this understanding, something that we talked about quite a lot is active and applied learning. Our frame of the game was designed for Field Service Management. The same happens when you see that you are a valued team member and a stakeholder in that knowledge journey. You’re far less likely to want to go elsewhere suddenly. And that’s a big challenge not just because field techs, engineers are a rare commodity. But also, we have always to acknowledge that it can be a lonely gig. You don’t necessarily feel like you’re part of a team when you’re not going into it. But if you feel like you’re contributing to that knowledge journey and feel that there is that valid circle, and your input is as valid as the guys in design, engineering, and everything else, that helps you buy into that.
Martin Knook: That brings me to feeling honored and relevant to your team. Based on the reputation or the knowledge that you have. But one of the things that I made a significant change in one of the organizations I run was a service organization going out to customers who were away from the office daily. So we were not connected, which is one of those foundations that need to be established for knowledge transfer. I claim success because it was my idea. I suggested the entire team of 100 people, every Friday, so not a huge deal, but big enough to have a financial impact. I want them in a centralized location on the last Friday of the month. And we’re just going to talk about our knowledge. There is no agenda. So that’s how it started. And the CFO was against it because he saw the major cost of that offsite location. Everyone getting there; the lack of productivity on that day, but we convinced them to do it with only half a day at first. And that turned out to be a cornerstone of knowledge transfer.
Just bringing people together reminds me that most senior people saw that event as their podium to share knowledge. It was not planned for that but more for guest speakers, team building, and fun ideas. But it was a full day sourced from internal knowledge, and everyone loved it. That is something that you brought in. How can you reward people who are the most knowledgeable or experienced? They are proud people and benefit from their pride. You have to find the right match there. And this came to mind about how creative ideas are applied. And the business did better than ever.
End of Transcript
You can view the full white paper, Knowledge Transfer: The Art of Information.
This blog was originally posted on the Field Service News blog.