How Do You Get Inside the Heads of People You Know?
In my previous blog, Discover How Knowledge Makes Strategic Objectives Achievable, I discuss how to find knowledge assets. In this blog, I focus on getting the story from the knowledge asset.
There are two quick and easy steps to follow.
- Describe your problem.
- Let a mentor tell you a story about how he or she solved a similar problem.
It’s easy to get inside the heads of mentors if you know how to get them to tell good stories. Getting someone to tell a good story is, well, another story and one which we will focus on in a later blog.
A mentor needs a well defined problem.
- A person has to be bold enough to ask for help.
- The problem statement must be well thought out and researched. You have to at least try to solve the problem on your own first.
- In addition, the right story teller must be found.
The mentor must personalize the story.
- The mentor must understand where you are coming from and be able to relate to you.
- Does the mentor know your background and level of expertise?
- Will the mentor be able tell the story with details at the right level – not too simple, not too hard – so that knowledge transfer occurs?
A good story has several parts.
- What resources were required,
- What did you expect to happen,
- What happened,
- What went well,
- What could have gone better, and
- What were the results?
Sometimes one story isn’t enough.
Several stories that occurred under different conditions are helpful to identify different ways to look at the problem.
- Did the same or similar problem happen more than once?
- Did you solve it different ways?
- Did you have different resources?
- Did you learn something different?
Determine when it is time to codify stories.
- Is it difficult for the mentor to be innovative and creative because he or she is solving the same problem over and over?
- Has the organization developed a methodology that needs to be stated explicitly or risk losing the valuable expertise if mentors leave the organization?
- Has the knowledge become transactional and critical to organization profitability?
- The first step to codifying stories is to collect enough to address a strategic objective. Model all of the stories at a sketch level. Find the similarities and differences in the sketches. Fill in details. Specify special conditions. Before going any further in the codification process you should have a clear understanding of how the expertise in the stories will be deployed in the organization.
In my next blog, Is a Designed Framework Required for Knowledge Flow, I will go into more detail on how Discovery Machine codifies stories. See 6 Steps to Boomerang Expertise for our full approach.