Forward-looking HR executives and chief learning officers know that their job is not only about facilitating the delivery of operational knowledge to their organization’s employees, consultants, and suppliers. They also realize that they can increase the overall operational efficiency and performance of their organization by identifying and leveraging the paid-for knowledge that has been neglected or lost within their organization. It’s the age-old question: “How do we get more for less with what we have?”

This simple question has deep implications that, if answered, can result in HR’s and CLOs’ having a permanent seat on the board because the answer to the “more for less” question directly relates to the advantage and survival of an organization in a globally competitive world.

What is “paid-for knowledge”?

Paid-for knowledge includes two basic groups of knowledge. General records knowledge includes sales, customer service, inventory, accounting, and other records management that is aggregated during an organization’s daily activities. Deep knowledge is that vital, enduring knowledge that requires specialized training to define, understand, and use. These two groups of knowledge operate together, but deep knowledge transcends general knowledge in several different ways.

General knowledge tends to be rule-based and more routine, requiring users to know how to use specialized data and the applications that manage that data. Deep knowledge tends to be more intellectual and results in the development of intellectual property, trade secrets, operational know-how, and the lessons-learned knowledge that produces or enhances products, services, or operational functions and processes.

Once conceived, deep knowledge is gained through a trade-off process that involves planning, evaluation, refinement, and, ultimately, implementation.