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Knowledge Is Power. Are You Recording Your Business Knowledge?

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Knowledge Is Power. Are You Recording Your Business Knowledge?

As a kid brother, there’s no greater challenge than trying to find and read your sister’s diary.

You don’t really think through what you’re going to do with the information you find, but you know for sure it’s going to be valuable. Valuable for the threat of disclosure. Valuable for bribery when you need an alibi. Valuable knowledge for leverage you don’t even know you need yet but somehow you instinctively know that its value is priceless. Knowledge is power, and a little brother knows it.

Reading a diary from front to back also plots a story over period of time that gives a fascinating insight into a person’s life. What they’ve learned, mistakes made, opinions that have formed and feelings that evolve and change. Some of the most intriguing and compelling books and movies have been based on diaries. The Diary of Anne FrankUnder the Tuscan Sun and Virginia Woolf are just a few of the titles that have made their mark on the world through the transparent, self-reflective honesty of their authors.

How much of your business life do you record?

How easily can you look back at what you’ve learned to avoid making the same mistakes twice? Mistakes in business are quite often the quickest way to learn and the things that can steer us in the right direction.

It’s easy to remember the big mistakes but what about all the little ones along the way that cost us time, unnecessary cost or stress? Remembering and reviewing these experiences will make sure we don’t fall into the same holes again.

Store it and make it searchable.

Recording our experiences creates a wealth of valuable information. The challenge, like in all information stores, is to actually find what you’re looking for. Fortunately, in a digital world, this is entirely possible. There are many ways to record knowledge electronically using a plethora of software applications.

Personally, I use Evernote, but there are many others available. Evernote, for example, lets me record text, images and even upload documents into tagged and ordered notebooks. When searching through the database of notes, Evernote will search not only the text I’ve written but any words written on the images or pdfs attached to notes. A search for ‘marketing’ gives me all my musings or examples of marketing ideas for review or action on one page. Getting to the knowledge we need doesn’t have to be complicated.

Create a knowledge base.

If you take time to think about it, there are so many ‘how to’s’ in our business. How to use our IT systems, how to process an order, how to deal with customer issues and a million other ‘how to do what we do’s’. Write these things down or better yet, record them as video. Put all these things together online in a learning management system, so they are indexed and easily accessible. Over time, you’ll build up an invaluable array of training courses filled with what you know and what you’ve learned.

Recording knowledge is great for us individually, but its power is amplified when you consider the ability to pass it onto others. As we grow our teams, one of the most significant issues we have is, how to guide our employees to think like us, act like us and own the high standards we’ve worked so hard to cultivate. Imagine having a list of courses available to train your people without needing you even to be in the room.

What you know now is your greatest asset and what you learn tomorrow increases its value even more. Protect your asset by recording your business life diary. My sister and her blond haired, blue eyed, guitar playing, Year 8 crush, Brett, would agree with me.

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  • Rosemary
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    Justin – this is absolutely correct. I have not thought of it as a diary before, rather as a list of learnings. But I kept diaries faithfully as a teenager that were perfectly unsearchable – real live diaries, written by hand, and hidden (yes) from my siblings. Although I haven’t read them in full since then, the very process of writing those diaries assisted me to understand the world better, to think, to become my own mentor.

    The same applies to business. Keeping a diary is a way of learning from your success and mistakes, and making it searchable? Yes, brilliant. I do keep a success board, thanks to Mayor Andrew Griffiths, but a diary is going to be next on my agenda. Thanks.

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