Right idea, wrong thinking!

Yesterday, I received a solicitation regarding a “solution for transferring knowledge!” It included a link to the following video.


Problems with this:

  1. Bad name – Knowledge Harvest. It sounds like you are using a sickle or combine and lopping peoples heads off.
  2. Defeatist attitude. – It implies that there is no way to keep this people around, so you should just exploit them while you can.
  3. Victim mentality. – “It is not your fault we are leaving, it is just the way we are.” Again, there is nothing you can do.

Now, I did view their product page and the system itself seems like it would be helpful to collect and disseminate tactic knowledge throughout an organization. This is, in fact, something sorely needed in professional knowledge firms. However, I would suggest to them:

  1. That they change the name.
  2. That they emphasize the value of disseminating the knowledge throughout the organization. It will increase the overall value of the firm by increase the knowledge of the individuals because the knowledge will be shared rather than hoarded.
  3. That having this solution might even make the firm a better place to work because you can gain knowledge far more quickly than at other companies.

If any of you pursue looking at this further, please let me know what you think about it.

11 thoughts on “Right idea, wrong thinking!

  1. It sends a clear message to employers to not put any trust in people they hire. Or maybe, don’t hire anyone under 40 because they’re a bunch of slackers.

    Let’s perpetuate some more myths while we’re at it!

  2. I think some companies are best to leave, while some are great to stay with. It depends on the company’s culture.

    A PKF with a collaborative and collegial culture attracts great people. And a heavily hierarchical and internally competitive culture attracts short-term ego-driven hot-shots who come and go.

    I also think recruitment techniques define what sort of people are attracted to the ad. See the nameless companies advertising on Craigslist. Good people don’t even bother to apply to those junk companies. I think it takes two to tango, and bad companies magnetically attract people with defective moral fibres.

    On knowledge transfer. I think it’s more like information sharing. I think until and unless the information is applied by the receiver of the information, it’s only information. I believe it’s application that turns information into knowledge. But it may be just hair-slitting (not mine).


  3. Well, Tom, long time no hear! I was getting worried about you.

    You are right it is really all about culture. My guess is that the culture at Brain Harvester (or whatever) is very much like the advertisement. Also, your point on craigslist is dead-on!

    Thanks for contributing, I hope we hear more from you in the future.

  4. Hi guys,

    I agree the name of the product could be better. I also think that a more positive focus on the benefits of the product would add more to the message. Knowledge transfer is a real issue for many firms. I have been with Sage for ten years yet the longest I have lasted in a role is 2. These days it seems I take on a new challenge every 12-18 months. My point is, even if you stay in a company the need for knowledge transfer is still very important.

    I don’t think the video is as bad as everyone esle seems to think though. It IS true that Gen Y employees change jobs more often. I don’t think it is defeatist to acknowledge this fact. It has nothing to do with competence in my view.

    Gen Y see corporations as a means to an end. They have little loyalty to corporations because most corporations have little loyalty to them. They are very pragmatic. Once the job is not delivering what they want they move on.

  5. Hi Donal, thanks for your insights. Your points are well taken. I just feel that should have been at least some acknowledgement that this can be a positive tool for business as well. If this is implemented with the attitude of “we have to harvest the knowledge from people” it will backfire.

    Also, I think it would be better to also ask, “What can we do so that people want to stay with us longterm?” This implies that it is not ever worth asking that question.

    Your observation about Sage is a case in point, if you have been moved from assignment to assignment every 18-24 months perhaps that is a strategy for some companies to take.

  6. This reminds me of the old AICPA tagline – CPA: Never Underestimate the Value. Nothing like starting a tagline with two negative words! Good idea. Wrong way of saying it.

    I agree – the product is a good idea but boy is it being presented poorly.

  7. Ed, I agree with your 3 points. It will turn a “negative” message into a positive one. I also think that this is an area that many, many companies lack and avoid because they don’t have the tools to help.

    That video might be a good marketing message for an HR search firm. Your employees will be constantly leaving, so you will need our services to keep your company going….

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