Most employees think of knowledge management as the old “knowledge is power” slogan. However, few know how to harness it to “power” a career.
The management of your knowledge involves three specific approaches that will power your career success:
1. Capturing your knowledge
2. Sharing your knowledge
3. Refilling your knowledge
Let’s look at each and see how to easily use knowledge management to energize your career!
Capturing your knowledge is a most overlooked aspect of the career-minded professional. Typically, you gain new knowledge or experience and you’re off to the next task or project. Taking the time to stop, reflect and document your knowledge does two things. One, it demonstrates deep learning when recounting it in this way that you can draw on later. Two, it emboldens you to take on greater challenges in the future knowing that it’s always a learning experience.
Sharing your knowledge will prove developmental for your career. As you share your knowledge, you wrap your wisdom around the lessons and experiences you’ve gained. When you find opportunities to share your knowledge with co-workers, your manager and your organization, you deepen the wellspring of your knowledge by taking in their insights and feedback from what you’ve shared. And it doesn’t hurt that it spotlights you for career opportunities, right?
Finally, refilling your knowledge is all about being a lifelong learner. Knowledge isn’t limited to the training, reading and tasks you perform on the job. It includes the life learning you experience and how that informs the perspective you bring to your depth of knowledge. There’s the old adage of being “well-rounded” as an employee, able to be agile, resilient and ready for new opportunities. Refilling your knowledge creates that well-rounded wellspring that serves your career success.
Many of us thought that a focus on gaining knowledge ended after formal education and now it’s just about the work. That kind of “formal” training now takes on a different look and feel. Instead of having a curriculum, teachers and grades to motivate you, you’re left to your own devices. That’s both scary and exciting. Scary, because you think you must make the “best” choices for training. Yet we know “best” really doesn’t exist, since all learning is of value. Exciting, because you finally get to choose what you want to invest your time and energy into learning. Remember, all learning contributes to your wealth of knowledge and by extension your career success.
But what if you’re thinking you have no knowledge to capture or share? Let me assure you that you do. Then the next question may be, where to start? Here’s a tip. Journals were used by many great leaders to capture the dates, times, important meetings and conversations they experienced daily. It proved to be a rich source of learning for future generations. Yet, when they kept their journals, they likely thought it wouldn’t be more than a way of letting off steam. Letting off steam, in a useful way, is a good thing in a career, right?
If you begin today and use this tip of keeping a journal of what you’ve learned, how you’ve used what you’ve learned and who would benefit from that learning, you will easily become what some call a “knowledge worker” actively acquiring and sharing your knowledge, thereby increasing your power as an employee and advancing the organization as a whole.
You now have the keys or practices to make knowledge your superpower and use it to power your career. Before we leave this discussion, let me drop a bit of wisdom from someone who kept journals which have been both inspiration and a clear roadmap for success for many years. Benjamin Franklin once said, “An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.” Use that interest to create your career – and life – success!
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Christine “Chris” Makell has worked for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for over four years, having held positions of increasing challenges and responsibility in that short time. She is currently a Program Analyst in the Knowledge Management & Transfer office. She joins federal service after a 28-year career in the private sector and six years as the owner of Chris Makell Consulting/Coaching working with individuals and sales teams to achieve greater success.
Chris spent most of her corporate career in global leadership positions, leading teams in global knowledge management education and leadership/skills development initiatives.
She hangs out in Austin, Texas after moving west from the colder Northeast, saying a hearty farewell to the cold and snow.
You can connect with Chris on LinkedIn.