In the previous post, we tried to understand the concept of Return on Knowledge (ROK), its relevance today, and why consultants need to focus on maximizing ROK for their clients. Essentially, ROK would be a way of looking at the knowledge already embedded in an organization and determining what value a company is capturing from that knowledge. So capitalizing on ROK would mean figuring out a way to determine how effectively an organization gathers, uses, and transfers its institutional knowledge (or employees’ collective wisdom). This post focuses on how consultants can convince their clients about ROK and lay the groundwork for measuring return on knowledge and maximizing it.
Understand the end goal
Begin by understanding that your end goal as a consultant is two-pronged:
- To figure out a way to determine how effectively an organization actually gathers, uses, and transfers its institutional knowledge (or its employees’ collective wisdom)
- To maximize your client’s return on knowledge
Understand the real challenges
Before measuring return on knowledge, it is essential to understand and address the challenges that come with the concept itself. Here are some challenges:
- As a concept, ROK is still new, and there needs to be wider acceptance.
- Knowledge by itself is intangible for the most part, except perhaps when you are tested on it and your test performance is measured. The intangible nature of knowledge often makes it difficult to measure in a business context.
- There needs to be an ideological shift (this is the toughest part) – ROK isn’t just about spreadsheets, numbers, and hard data about a business. This shift may be hard for people to understand in an increasingly data driven world.
Convince your Client
To overcome these challenges, all a consultant needs to do is talk about the relevance of ROK in today’s knowledge economy. We highlighted some copiously convincing reasons to measure ROK in our previous post. Apart from being relevant in a knowledge economy, the other reasons include cost effectiveness and better client satisfaction rates. Measuring employee knowledge and acting on this knowledge has also been proven to drive employee engagement rates.
- Let your client know that ROK can be measured at a team, departmental, or geographic level.
- ROK can be combined with hard data to make insights actionable.
- Ask your clients if they would rather have facts and figures that can sometimes be irrelevant and cannot easily be translated into action, or telling insights from the people who know their company the best – their stakeholders.
- Explain to your clients that their Organizational Knowledge is their best asset.
- More often than not, the answers to your client’s biggest pain-points are actually in the heads on their immediate stakeholders (employees and customers)!
By measuring your client’s ROK, you will be able to gather the answers to some of your client’s most pressing questions, organize them, and present a valid solution forward.
Create a Roadmap
- Map your client
Identify your client’s biggest pain points, and target departments from which you want to gather information. Focus on identifying gaps, blind spots, and misalignments – with the right questions and tools, this is easier than you think.
- Know what they know and don’t know
As you gather business insights for you clients, you will understand what stakeholders know and don’t know. You will also understand that they should know!
- Organize this knowledge in a better way
Once you have gathered insights from your client’s stakeholders, you can start organizing these insights in a logical way to understand patterns and trends. This is where a nifty software tool will come in handy. By organizing insights, you are in a better position to measure ROK and eventually maximize it.
Now that you’ve understood the value of Return on Knowledge for clients and how to lay the groundwork for measuring it, the next post will outline how you can actually go about measuring ROK for your clients.