One of the top issues often encountered in strategic management is developing a competitive advantage over competitors. This has led to a lot of research being conducted on this topic. The results found several theoretical perspectives. Out of them all, we’ll focus on a strong contender, knowledge sharing as your competitive advantage.
When it comes to strategic management, a resource-based understanding of the organization and implementing a knowledge-sharing platform are two valuable assets. These are strategies that show that the way companies approach the problem sets the course for the results they obtain.
How knowledge sharing impacts your bottom line
Using knowledge efficiently can significantly improve your competitive advantage. Not to mention, it also increases the overall organizational success.
Taking this into consideration, knowledge management becoming increasingly important over the past years, doesn’t come as a surprise. After all, we’re discussing a resource that provides the ability to innovate and simultaneously respond to fast-changing customer expectations.
To stay competitive, an organization should only have resources and assets. Possessing strong knowledge management capabilities is also a must for developing and supporting healthy work practices and routines.
We’ll be looking at some of the best tips on how an organization can efficiently use knowledge sharing as a competitive advantage.
How to use knowledge sharing to your advantage
A report from Harvard Business Review claims that in 2015, top US-based companies were losing a combined total of $31.5 billion annually. The report concluded this was a result of employees failing to share knowledge efficiently.
$31.5 billion annually. Let that sink in.
On the other side, numerous studies confirm that, in contrast, organizations can benefit from their employees’ knowledge in defining a serious competitive advantage. To be more specific, we’re referring to better positioning to innovate and develop new products, new services, and new approaches. Or, simply put, sparking innovation and change.
Let’s get straight to the point. What should you do to use knowledge sharing as a competitive advantage in your organization?
1. Observe the situation in your team
First of all, you need to identify who retains what type of knowledge in your organization. Then you need to come up with ways to retain it for the whole team. However, this is just the beginning.
Not all knowledge is useful for the company, so the next step would be to determine what knowledge is critical, according to the top priorities. If you’d like to read more about types of knowledge, read our previous article on scalable learning and how to help employees create knowledge.
2. Use a knowledge storing method
Having access to significant amounts of information is great, no doubt. But in order to use it properly, you also need a good knowledge management solution. In this case, your job is to ensure that all information can be centralized, stored and made accessible for the entire team.
There are plenty of solutions for this, starting with a knowledge sharing platform, which the entire organization can make use of. This will make the organization’s best problem-solving experiences reusable. It will also enable better and faster decision making stimulate innovation and growth, improve delivery to customers and reduce the loss of know-how.
3. Facilitate knowledge sharing
There will be times when employees are reluctant to share information and it will be your job to find out why. Some of them may fear losing authority, while others will be afraid of losing some form of recognition.
A healthy approach would be to make it clear to everyone from the beginning that knowledge sharing software organizes everything in one place. Not only that, but it also allows you to reward the best contributors. In this way you are acknowledging their efforts in front of the entire team.
4. Combine knowledge management with competitive intelligence
CI, or competitive intelligence, consists of gathering usable knowledge about the external business environment and turning it into intelligence required for strategic or tactical decisions. Just like knowledge management, this system is designed to enhance the information resources an enterprise possesses. But it targets different information sources and types.
By combining CI and knowledge management (KM), you can obtain the right mix of information and deliver it to the key decision-maker at the right time. This can prove to be a solid competitive advantage.
As the traditional structure of companies evolves into more diverse forms, more managers develop awareness around structuring the knowledge available in their organization.
Knowledge sharing can have a favorable impact on the performance of an organization, as long as its factors are clearly defined. The correlations between performance and knowledge sharing have to be measured to make the most out of any KM initiative.
Looking forward to trying a knowledge sharing solution? Find out how to choose the right knowledge sharing software in 7 steps. Or you can simply send us an email. We’re happy to help with whatever questions you may have.