Unlocking the Power of Effective Knowledge Transfer

Unlocking the Power of Effective Knowledge Transfer: Scaling and Succession in Technical Industries

In this Treasure Tuesday,  I want to talk to you about power of effective knowledge transfer in the chemical and other technical industries. The three challenges I share here affect many knowledge-driven industries. These industries have in common that they need highly trained and experienced staff to succeed in business.

(This video is a recording of a live broadcast I did.)

I’m a chemist by training. I’m quite familiar with the environment where you have staff working in technical fields. If you’re not in a technical environment, it’s likely to pertain to you as well – because you have a lot of expertise, and there’s probably some complexity to that.

Let’s discuss three points that are important:

Knowledge-Transfer Challenge #1: Technical Complexity

The first challenge with transferring knowledge is technical complexity. Things you deal with are somewhat complicated. Even though the people you hire come with education in their field/s, they also need to learn about what is going on in your company and how you do them. There’s always a fair amount that most companies underappreciate. It is costly not to establish written processes and procedures, and training your team on them is costly.

An Example: A Glazing Company

A glazing company that often does complex projects hired an estimator with 15 years of industry experience. He came recommended. Sure enough, he soon won several projects. The joy was short-lived, though, because it turned out that he had massively underbid all of them. They realized: We assumed he knew how we bid. But we never trained him on it. In fact, all their estimators just “knew” how to do it, but they had never written down one cohesive pricing method.

When I suggested that they needed a cohesive method for estimating to avoid this issue, their first reaction was that it would be too hard to do because “it’s too complex.” But by breaking the task of estimating the cost of projects into modules, we accomplished it. We also agreed that everyone needs training in using the method, no matter how many years of experience they have in other methods.

Knowledge-Transfer Challenge #2: Engaging an Aging Workforce

Many technical industries, including the chemical industry, have an aging workforce. There are a couple of things to consider with an aging workforce.

  1. You have people who are way more experienced and people who are far less experienced.
  2. There is a generational gap to overcome. While senior people may have been okay with hours upon hours of “dry” training (or, at least, they tolerated it), younger people are seeking more engaging methods of being trained.

Examples: Considering the Generational Gap In Training Your Staff

  • No death by PowerPoint, please.
  • Give it to me, bite-size, please.
  • Make it graphically appealing.
  • Show me the big picture first – then dive in deeper.
  • Engage me with some questions but help me smile a little while doing it.
  • Give me some recognition for the training I have done.

Knowledge-Transfer Challenge #3: Private Equity and Scaling the Business

I want to touch on another point: What do private equity firms do when they acquire a technical company? They buy it thinking, “Wow, look at this company. They have done a good job of growing it to this point. We see an opportunity to grow it further, and then we can sell it.

There are two kinds of companies in the private equity space: those who are strictly interested in profitability and those interested in scaling the business in a sustainable way.

I came across an equity company that describes its values like this:

… formed the company based on their belief – and more than 100 years of collective business experience–that a “typical” private equity model, focused solely on Return on Investment (ROI) is insufficient in creating an environment where businesses can reach optimum scale and maximum potential.


I think this attitude is right on target. Effective knowledge transfer – and building a culture that supports it – creates an environment where businesses reach their optimum scale and maximum potential, and it results in an incredible ROI!

Brilliance Mining Is Revolutionizing Effective Knowledge Transfer

Effective knowledge transfer is especially important for companies that have complex knowledge. What makes Brilliance Mining so special? In a nutshell, you can transfer the knowledge you know you have AND pass on unconscious competence. That is the kind of knowledge someone has and uses automatically without being aware of it. At least some part of the unconscious competence is also referred to as “intangible knowledge.” It is typically very hard to capture and transfer – but Brilliance Mining solves this issue.

A Free Resource

There is a free Mini-Course available that introduces Brilliance Mining™.

I’m Curious

Which challenges do you experience? Drop me a line; I’d love to hear from you!

Live brilliantly,

Dr. Stephie

P.S.: I appreciate you commenting and sharing this Treasure Tuesday with others. Thank you!

Stephie Althouse

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