A knowledge worker spends a good portion of the day communicating – meetings, status reports, emails, phone calls, water cooler talks. Much of this activity is considered unproductive overhead; when you look at a calendar full of meetings you wonder when you’re going to get any REAL work done. And while many popular forms of communication may be inefficient and ineffective, communication is work; perhaps the most important work knowledge workers do.
Knowledge work is aimed at turning information into something decisionable and actionable; too often reports, presentations, survey results are mistaken for such. While they are a key part of the decision equation, they are not enough. They don’t provide insight. The only thing they’re good for on their own is filling repositories.
Knowledge, unlike the data and information contained in reports, is a living & breathing thing. It can’t be put in your enterprise content management system. It exists in the heads of employees (often referred to as ‘tacit’ knowledge), constantly being shaped by different stimuli: articles, blog posts, pictures, models, books, conversations with colleagues, etc… Communication is the process by which this constantly evolving knowledge is applied on data and information to a decisionable end. This process will generate insights on how to take advantage of the information you have gathered. Unless the reports, presentations and survey results are subjected to scrutiny and analysis through communication, no insights are created and decisions are delayed or malinformed.
Communication is more than just a block of time on your calendar. It’s an opportunity to share knowledge, gain insight, make better decisions and create for your company a competitive advantage.
What does communication look like where you work? Is it enabling the application of knowledge to data and information? Where do your company’s insights come from?