Step Change Performance The Second Ingredient - Know How...

‘The sorts of action steps an organisation comes up with, the sorts of knowledge it seeks, the sorts of thinking it uses, are directly related to the size of the goal pictured in people’s heads’

John O’Keefe

As previously covered in our June article the start of Step Change Performance is in picturing the step change goal you seek and in fully understanding the statement above. Your people will utilise their brain power to come up with things that can deliver the goals you set – if allowed to do so of course. The problem is that, if your goals are just incremental, they will only come up with the things that can achieve these incremental goals and no more. This condemns your business to a future in the ‘box of incrementalism’! Your business really needs to break out of rote thinking and behaviour to even start to think of step change performance changes.

We apply a process called ‘Triangular Thinking’ when we work with clients and help them achieve step change results. Picturing the Step Change Goal is the first ingredient of the three involved. The second is what we talk about today ‘Gathering/ Harnessing Know How’. In today’s world of information overload there should not be any shortage of know how should there? Know how is simply knowledge and you get knowledge from accessing information don’t you?

This is true to a degree but a huge amount of time can be wasted pouring over masses of information that is of absolutely no use in what you are trying to achieve, so, how do you focus your search? Two things to remember:-

  • You only need to search for APPLICABLE knowledge
  • This is knowledge that is applicable to your GOALS AND NOTHING ELSE

This narrows your search down significantly. You can find lots of information on the web, from business news articles and many other sources but narrow your search based on the points above.

Knowledge can also be tacit or explicit. Tacit knowledge is that type that sits in someone’s head – often called practical experience. It makes sense therefore to find tacit knowledge sources that might help. Where to find these people with know how in their heads? What about your own organisation? Valuable tacit knowledge is not reserved for ‘position holders’ like the Directors. How much of the tacit knowledge possessed by your experienced people, who may have been with the business for many years in non-director/ senior manager positions, have you tapped into or tried to tap into? You may be sitting on a goldmine of knowledge which could tell you of something, for example, that was ‘tried before but didn’t work because…’. But it might work and be of value NOW if the things that caused its failure can be erased! What ideas have your team got for moving the business forward? If you have set a step change goal of, as an example, a 50% increase in profits over the next two years – ask the team what THEY THINK could help in achieving this. You might be positively amazed on what comes out.

Explicit knowledge is that type of knowledge that is written down in manuals, guides, text books and yes, on the internet. Make use of this of course but as above – make sure you are only seeking APPLICABLE knowledge at all times.

Summing up then, by getting the minds of your team, who may have significant know how, working actively on the problem alongside finding those explicit sources of (APPLICABLE) knowledge is a good start but the third and final element of Triangular Thinking is the accelerant that makes it all happen– we’ll talk about that in early August in the third of this series.

If you are serious about step changing your business performance and tired of incrementalism, contact us

or call us on 0116 232 5231

Alternatively, contact me directly using the details below.

David Turner

Managing Director

07747 023610

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