Here at Redvespa, we’ve embarked on a journey. Actually – we’re always on a journey of some sort! As a Consultancy, we often talk of the extreme rate of change our clients and even our own organisation experiences – and have previously spoken about ‘Always On Transformation’.
While it can sometimes feel overwhelming, it’s the way of things in the business world today – so as an organisation with growth aspirations, we need to keep up with this competitive pace.
While it’s one thing to say it – to actually keep pace, we knew having a solid and consistent foundation for our organisation was vital. With that in mind a key focus was given to two key components, Culture and Knowledge.
Why the focus on Knowledge and Culture, you ask? Sarah Gibson, Redvespa’s CEO, has long believed in the value of a Purpose led organisation. Sarah says “Our core purpose and values connect us to our people and our clients because they identify with them. They guide our strategy; delivering to the purpose of unleashing potential and enriching people, business and communities. We’re belligerent in helping our clients and people reach their potential. We won’t be successful without building a simply irresistible brand and place to work, facilitating and growing our culture of knowledge.”
While research and anecdotal observations show that a focus on knowledge and culture was a solid approach – there were actual challenges within RV we were trying to overcome.
Redvespa is a Business Analysis Consultancy – at any one time, we have approximately 50-60 consultants working on our client sites full time. They are geographically dispersed, some on the same assignment, some on the same client, but different assignment, and some totally isolated with no other Redvespa colleagues with them. A very standard consulting scenario.
Over time, anecdotal feedback was that –
“Consultants feels disconnected and isolated from Redvespa”
The Impact of which is:
- Poor consultant/employee retention
- Poor consultant engagement with Redvespa. Consultant feels more aligned with client – and is sometimes inclined to go ‘Native’
- Limited sociability opportunities with Redvespa
- Consultants don’t know their Redvespa colleagues or their knowledge/experience
- A significant loss in Redvespa’s knowledge
- Significant unrealised potential in RV’s delivery to client
Anyone that has worked in consulting knows this is a common challenge, but it wasn’t one we were comfortable just accepting.
As an aside – while our challenge is a common one in the Consulting arena – as a Chief Knowledge Officer, I have also observed other, very common challenges facing organisations attempting to build a successful knowledge strategy – do any of these sound familiar?
- A lack of a culture of sharing, people ‘holding on’ to critical knowledge
- Little or no buy in of Senior Stakeholders, or a belief in the importance of Knowledge Management for an organisation
- Large and often siloed organisations – making the concept of seeking and sharing critical knowledge a significant challenge
And while RV weren’t experiencing these particular challenges – it’s something we remain mindful of as we grow.
But back to our challenge – and our focus on overcoming it!
Redvespa has a Vision – and a set of values that are guiding principles around how we operate. It allows us to remain focused on an ultimate goal. Similarly, Knowledge too has a vision and strategy and a guiding set of principles.
Redvespa’s Knowledge Principles are set-out below. If you want to know more about them and get the detailed picture, just email me – email@example.com.
So how are we actually applying these principles? One example, touching on ‘Knowledge is Social’, ‘Knowledge is Self Organising’, and a ‘Culture of Sharing’, is that we have implemented a new Way of Working (WoW) for our organisation, in particular for our Consultants, with some initial guidance from our partners Nomad8, and a lot of thinking from our own team of Consultants.
Six months in, and things are progressing well. Anecdotally, collaboration is up – our consultants are feeling more connected, and more knowledge is being shared now than ever before. We still experience challenges – the nature of consultancy makes it challenging sometimes to juggle the time required to deliver to our clients with our desire to seek and share critical knowledge. But with a solid culture, and two paid hours every month to allocate specifically to Knowledge Sharing – our consultants continue to think creatively around how they can make the most of that time.
As all good Designers do – we continue to evaluate how things are tracking, and adjusting our direction if we find something’s not quite right. Our journey continues, we have much still to do – and rest assured, our culture of sharing will continue, and we’ll keep sharing how we go – even the inevitable challenges – often those are the most valuable learnings.
Where are you in your journey to knowledge? What are the challenges you face? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org