Leading by Supporting Team Knowledge

Here’s an interesting situation faced by a leader in the insurance industry: “One of our veteran employees—I’ll call her Helen—resigned last week to take a better position with another company. Before she left, she took time to write down a list of tips, suggestions, and shortcuts for her replacement. It amazed me to see how much practical knowledge of the business she had in her head—and how much she has now taken to our competitor.”

Employees like Helen are walking repositories of what we can call “embedded” knowledge. From her 20-plus years in the company, she has come to know techniques, tricks of the trade, and streamlined procedures that allow her to work smart (and perhaps hard, as well). But all that ...

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