One bad decision due to a lack of knowledge can break not only a company but a person’s reputation. In the world of modern finance, there’s arguably no one who understands this concept better than John Antioco. Antioco is the former CEO of Blockbuster Video.
He is the man who’s widely credited with refusing Reed Hastings’ offer to purchase Netflix for $50 million back in the year 2000. Long story short, Blockbuster no longer exists, and Netflix pioneered the streaming boom that we’re living in today. To add insult to injury to the Antioco story, he’s personally worth only about $5 million, while Hastings’ net worth is in the billions!
It’s impossible to really know what went down in those meetings, but one thing is clear: Antioco did not have the foresight to recognize the potential of Netflix. The point we’re trying to make here is not only that knowledge can help people work together, but that a lack of it could lead to a major downfall.
Information is power at every level. At the highest levels of business, it can give executives better “tools” to make decisions that will impact the future of the company. Employees in charge of the daily operations within the business can also benefit from the clarity that knowledge brings to boost things like customer experience.
What Knowledge Gaps Are Holding Your Teams Back?
This is one of the toughest things to figure out for any business. In truth, you may never really figure out the full story, but with the right type of information, you’re more likely to find these gaps. Suppose that you’re running an online store and you’re getting plenty of hits on your website.
However, those hits are not converting to as many sales as you’d like. There are a couple of things that you can potentially explore in this type of situation, which can be “knowledge gaps.” The first thing that you’ll want to look into is the time on page.
If you’re getting visitors, but those people don’t stay on the page longer than 5 seconds, then the issue could be your page’s loading speed or where you’re getting hits from. It’s better to have fewer hits from better traffic sources that are more likely to convert. The biggest mistake that you can make in these situations is jumping to set up promotions or lower prices.
Your company’s issue may not be the prices; at least, there’s no tangible evidence behind that in the previous scenario. Nevertheless, a lot of companies are quick to jump the gun and alter their prices when they want to generate more sales. That’s a clear indication that they’re not using the data available to try and interpret their situation.
Another important element has to do with client interactions. It’s essential that whoever is in a client-facing capacity is constantly relaying information to the part of the company that’s in charge of developing the product. If you’re selling clothes and clients keep complaining that the sizing isn’t right, yet no one tells the manufacturing department, then that issue is never going to be solved.
Building Bridges with Knowledge
There are always going to be blind spots, particularly for people in certain branches of the business. That’s why knowledge sharing such as the sizing example that we mentioned is so important. In the other example, about the hits that don’t convert, the tech team should be able to explore the problem to present the situation to the part of the business that can decide to run promotions.
It may not be realistic to expect someone who is part of the product design team to understand that the low sales numbers are coming from the fact that the online store is getting traffic from poor sources. This is where a lack of clarity of information can lead to poor decisions. The design team could be thinking about changing the product to increase sales when that’s not part of the problem.
However, the situation would be completely different for this online store if they did, in fact, have users spending considerable time on their page, but they still don’t get many sales. In that scenario, it could make more sense to try and run a promotion to increase purchases.
If you don’t build those communication bridges between your teams, however, you’ll likely be throwing darts in the dark. In these situations, even if you find some type of temporary success, you could be back to square one just as quickly. Since you made decisions without proper information, it’s going to be much harder to replicate those short-lived positive results.
How Knowledge Transforms & Improves Productivity
Each organization is going to have its own elements that are key to improving productivity. One of the common ways that knowledge transforms and improves productivity in the modern workplace has to do with properly teaching employees to use the tools provided to them. Understanding how to troubleshoot some of these tools can also go a long way toward helping the business move along quickly.
In many offices, if something goes wrong, the directive is to leave everything as it is and call the IT guy in. If that person is busy on another project, that could mean that an entire branch of the business won’t be able to work for potentially a third of the day. However if the entire team had a repository of knowledge with records of similar issues and solutions that were undertaken in the past, they can easily consult this internal knowledge base to look for potential solutions.
Teaching these people to solve their own technical issues can, therefore, greatly increase productivity.
This is, of course, a very basic example; however, companies can certainly benefit from upgrading their training courses. At the same time, they may want to rethink the type of requirements they’ll want to feature on their next job post. Employees with prior knowledge of particular systems can be an asset to the company from day one without the need for extensive training.
Learning to Implement A Knowledge-Driven Teamwork
Creating a communication flow chart can be one of the simplest and most effective ways to help the different branches within a company cover the blind spots that they may have. People in customer service need to let product designers know if clients are complaining about sizing, as we mentioned.
Having people within the organization who can interpret data, such as the aforementioned multiple visitors’ low sales, scenario is essential. At times, people who have a more traditional retail background may find interpreting this data more challenging. Once things are broken down for them, they may be able to provide a set of actionable solutions.
There are times that, as the saying goes, you just don’t know what you don’t know. It could be worse, however, to try and guess the solution to your problems without consulting data. Thankfully, there are more tools than ever to be able to collect information in all industries.
Now, perhaps the most important part of the whole process is being able to interpret that data and create strategies based on that information. There are certain parts of the organization that may not need to be in the loop about everything. In general, however, the more context that you can provide employees with, the better.
The Bottom Line
Collecting data is not the only thing that’s going to make a business successful. Knowing how to distribute that data, particularly to the parts of the company that need it, is really what’s going to make all of the difference. This communication can be as simple or as complex as you need it to be.
Going back to the example about the sizing issue that gets reported by customer service, they could make a call back to the product design team and inform them that way. Another thing that they can do is enter these complaints in an internal database so that the design team can look at all of the complaints that clients have. That may be a way more effective way to communicate.
If you really want to get the most out of your internal data, use Klutch to streamline all your knowledge base needs.