If Only We Knew What We Know: The Transfer of Internal Knowledge and Best Practice

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9780684844749: If Only We Knew What We Know: The Transfer of Internal Knowledge and Best Practice
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While companies search the world over to benchmark best practices, vast treasure troves of knowledge and know-how remain hidden right under their noses: in the minds of their own employees, in the often unique structure of their operations, and in the written history of their organizations. Now, acclaimed productivity and quality experts Carla O'Dell and Jack Grayson explain for the first time how applying the ideas of Knowledge Management can help employers identify their own internal best practices and share this intellectual capital throughout their organizations.

Knowledge Management (KM) is a conscious strategy of getting the right information to the right people at the right time so they can take action and create value. Basing KM on three major studies of best practices at one hundred companies, the authors demonstrate how managers can utilize a visual process model to actually transfer best practices from one business unit of the organization to another. Rich with case studies, concrete examples, and revealing anecdotes from companies including Texas Instruments, Amoco, Buckman, Chevron, Sequent Computer, the World Bank, and USAA, this valuable guide reveals how knowledge treasure chests can be unlocked to reduce product development cycle time, implement more cost-efficient operations, or create a loyal customer base. Finally, O'Dell and Grayson present three "value propositions" built around customers, products, and operations that could result in staggering payoffs as they did at the companies cited above.

No amount of knowledge or insight can keep a company ahead if it is not properly distributed where it's needed. Entirely accessible and immensely readable, If Only We Knew What We Know is a much-needed companion for business leaders everywhere.

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Review:

Responding to the familiar observation that what you don't know can and will hurt you, American Productivity and Quality Center leaders Carla O'Dell and C. Jackson Grayson Jr. have countered with a contention that the "hidden reservoirs of intelligence that exist in almost every organization" can, with work, be efficiently tapped "to create customer value, operational excellence, and product innovation--all the while increasing profits and effectiveness." If Only We Knew What We Know is their detailed examination of the resultant groundbreaking but common-sense methodology they have dubbed "knowledge management," along with their analysis of several companies such as Amoco, Arthur Andersen, Buckman Laboratories, and Xerox that are successfully employing it today. By studying the execution and evolution of this practice in over 70 companies involved with their non-profit management organization, the two have observed how top practitioners are turning internal information that's already selectively available into dynamic improvements that are apparent throughout the companies. They describe how to implement knowledge management in your own firm and describe the "enabling context" (including infrastructure, culture, technology, and measurement) that help or hinder the process. --Howard Rothman

About the Author:

Carla O'Dell is president of the American Productivity & Quality Center and director of the Center's International Benchmarking Clearinghouse in Houston, Texas. Dr. O'Dell is co-author with C. Jackson Grayson, Jr., of American Business: A Two Minute Warning.

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Carla O'dell, C. Jackson Grayson
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