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Knowledge Works: The Handbook of Practical Ways to Identify and Solve Common Organizational Problems for Better Performance by Jane McKenzie, Christine van Winkelen

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Chapter 7

RETAINING AND DEVELOPING EXPERTISE

Snapshot

Many organizations are concerned about losing professional expertise. Here, three broad approaches for retaining and developing expertise are described that complement each other, together with a wide range of associated practices and techniques.

Two of the approaches focus on facilitating the handover of knowledge from individuals. The first is about maintaining continuity for the business by supporting knowledge sharing in a variety of ways at the time the expert is leaving. The second concentrates on retaining and deepening expertise by helping experts make visible their own thinking processes, as well as encouraging them to provide colleagues with opportunities for deliberate practice and reflective learning.

The third approach takes a longer term perspective and considers how to develop a learning culture. Here the emphasis is on thoroughly integrating knowledge sharing and expertise development into the business model of the organization.

Why this Matters

With rapidly growing global competition for professional workers and a generation of baby boomers about to retire, many organizations are concerned about losing professional expertise. The knowledge and expertise of experienced staff are critical to organizations particularly in challenging business circumstances because expertise, by definition, is about knowing how to handle the more difficult problems in a field.

For some organizations, the threat of knowledge loss they ...

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