The Critical Role of Knowledge Transfer

Sharing knowledge is paramount in the consulting world. Yet, there are instances when consultants either withhold information or mistakenly believe they know it all. This mindset can harm clients for various reasons:

  1. Undermining Client Staff: Consultants are there to assist, not overshadow. Intimidating client staff isn’t the goal. For instance, if someone hires a contractor to renovate a kitchen, the dynamic is different. But in consulting, cooperation and respect are essential.
  2. Avoiding the “One-Trick Pony” Label: No consultant can claim to know everything. By openly sharing knowledge and demonstrating a willingness to learn, consultants show versatility. Acknowledging that ideas can sprout from diverse sources is vital.
  3. Incomplete Delivery: Consider a new appliance without a user manual or a car sans its guidebook. Without proper knowledge transfer, consultants essentially leave a job unfinished.

Decades ago, knowledge transfer leaned heavily on written documentation. While developer conferences showcased vibrant discussions, attendees often depended on printed materials for in-depth understanding. I recall writing for the FoxPro Advisor in the late 90s and early 2000s. This era, with its focus on written material, presented challenges: technology seldom remains static, necessitating fresh documentation with every version or update.

Fast forward to today, and the landscape has evolved. Written manuals are less prevalent, replaced by online articles, blogs, wikis, and streaming conference sessions. AKSEL, with over twenty years of experience, has championed video tutorials, ranging from screen walkthroughs to animated content. Our YouTube-hosted and internal training videos, enhanced with SCORM quizzes, ensure a comprehensive understanding for our audience.

While the medium of knowledge transfer has transformed, its core essence remains. A consultant who withholds knowledge or doesn’t promote sharing tarnishes both their clients’ experience and their reputation. The “learn in public” ethos—embraced by many tech enthusiasts—is worth exploring. It promotes transparency, community, and growth. But the most gratifying aspect of knowledge-sharing? Witnessing clients produce their content, adopting and championing the culture of sharing.