There is frequently a disconnect between how management perceives their team to be doing a task and how that task is actually done.
You have probably seen this scenario many times.
This sort of incongruence between management and their team is very normal and happens for a variety of reasons. Often times a team member will stray from standard methods because they have creatively found a better way of doing the task.
This sort of innovation happens all the time in a variety of different ways and can be really great for your business. However, management often overlooks or loses track of the innovation from the lower level team members which can significantly affect the business when that employee turns over due to planned or unplanned circumstances.
This is where Upstream & Downstream knowledge sharing helps.
Traditional methods for creating systems and training materials are all downstream knowledge sharing. This is when management creates training systems and documentation based on how they perceive everything should be done with no feedback or contribution from the lower level team members.
Downstream knowledge sharing is great for getting new procedures and systems rolling, but the only way to prevent knowledge loss from turnover is by implementing an upstream knowledge sharing system.
Upstream knowledge sharing is when team members at the bottom levels of a company contribute their innovative “tricks of the trade” to the knowledge pool.
Upstream & Downstream Knowledge Sharing is when you empower team members at every level of a company – from the CEO to entry-level employees – to document what they know.
How to implement an Upstream & Downstream Knowledge Sharing System
How do you implement an Upstream & Downstream Knowledge Sharing System at your company? Successful knowledge sharing is well organzied and structured. Many find success through structure crowdsourcing. See this post on how to use crowdsourcing as a knowledge management strategy.