Grow Your Organization’s Knowledge Sharing Culture

On October 14, I’ll be presenting on Excellence in Executive Transitions: Retain Organizational Know-How for Continuity and Impact at the Maryland Nonprofits & MARFY Annual Conference 2020.  With that in mind, I’m posting today about the fundamental, transformative, and lasting benefits that organizations will realize from prioritizing a knowledge sharing organizational culture.

Chance favors the connected organization (Harold Jarche).

At the heart of excellence in executive and key staff transitions is the quality of your organization’s culture of collaboration and communication.   This is a prerequisite for any organization’s ability to grow sustainability and reduce risk. Conversational leadership, mentorships, open-ended questions and informal discussions about deep smarts cannot be optimized if cultural communication environments are not valued and nurtured. Starting down this path may seem daunting, but the successes and rewards of taking on this one ‘why’ touches on multiple building blocks of nonprofit or other enterprise operations.

Increase Staff Retention and Motivation

A huge benefit of enabling this kind of knowledge sharing environment is an increase in staff retention and learning. Staff feels more motivated, valued and connected to leadership that places a priority on communication, collaboration and problem solving.  Empower the organization with strategic reminders of how the organization as a whole influences the cause (“Be the Change..“) when everyone is engaged and focused on contributing to the bigger picture. Motivated staff and leaders have the capacity to multiply organizational stability and grow mission impact.

Organizational Culture for Stability

Cultivating a culture of knowledge exchange and learning mitigates loss of institutional expertise which in turn demonstrates organizational stability to funders and donors. Executive transitions can mean uncertainty in many regards, but establishing the deliberate and strategic operations for knowledge continuity and retention can go a long way to reassure stakeholders and funders of all kinds.

Embed Knowledge Sharing

An open culture of inquiry and curiosity enables leaders who care about sustainability to find lasting ways to support their own succession and leave a legacy to successors and staff.  This environment helps the departing leader leave well and pave the way for a more meaningful on-boarding experience for the new leader.

To onboard intentionally and meaningfully, the culture of knowledge sharing and communication promotes structured and unstructured conversations throughout your organization for deeper learning and problem solving. What simple but effective step could you make today to enhance a culture of communication and knowledge networks in order reap these rewards for excellence in transitions and succession?  Who can you enlist to craft or recalibrate your organization’s communication culture?