By: Mostafa Sayyadi
Executives today are more focused on strategic management decision-making due to the hypercompetitive global environment as well as public and private sector evaluation and opinion. Public organizations are attempting to function as private profit-wise, while public companies have the Wall Street analysts continuously evaluating their every strategic move. It is important for management consultants to build a climate of openness for individuals to exchange ideas.
Knowledge is accumulated by creating new approaches to gathering, evaluating, and disseminating information throughout the organizations. Consultants need to make deliberate attempts to inspire people to create new ideas and develop effective mechanisms to acquire knowledge from various sources such as suppliers, customers, business partners, and competitors. This is similar to a value-chain approach. Consultants need to first support this approach for the model to work because they play a strategic role in expanding knowledge accumulation through applying incentives as mechanisms to develop a more innovative climate and manage effective tools to acquire knowledge from external sources.
It will also be necessary for consultants to integrate knowledge internally. Knowledge integration focuses on monitoring and controlling knowledge management practices, evaluating the effectiveness of current knowledge, defining and recognizing core knowledge areas, coordinating expert opinions, sharing organizational knowledge, and scanning for new knowledge to keep the quality of their product or services continuously improving. Consultants can promote knowledge integration by creating expert groups or steering committees to enhance knowledge quality and evaluate knowledge assets. Follower’s diversity of skills and interpersonal relations that is based on trust and reciprocity can improve the performance of group cohesiveness. In the process of knowledge integration, knowledge enters organizational processes and provides valuable contributions to products and services. Consultants must have the desirable expertise to steer the organizational strategy facilitate this process, by undertaking initiatives that improve knowledge transfer, thus enhancing the performance of employees and the implementation of effective changes to maintain the quality of products and services. The burden of success when effective implementation of knowledge integration is concerned is heavily dependent on the capabilities of the organization’s management consultants.
Furthermore, it is important for management consultants to reconfigure organizational knowledge. When executives agree to share knowledge with other organizations in the environment, studies have shown that that knowledge is often difficult to share externally. One reason is that other organizations have too much pride to accept knowledge or are apprehensive to expose themselves to the competition. Therefore, executives may lack the required capabilities to interact with other organizations, or distrust sharing their knowledge. In addition, just the notion of creating an expert group or steering committee may be shortsighted because such groups may not have sufficient diversity to comprehend knowledge acquired from external sources. Consultants are aware that networking with business partners is a key activity for organizations to enhance knowledge exchange. Networking is a critical concern for management consultants in this process is developing alliances with partners in external environments. Executives and their expert groups and/or steering committees are the ones who can make final decisions about developing alliances with business partners. Consultants, therefore, need to understand what it is about the organization’s capabilities that allow the organization to develop alliances with business partners and interact with other organizations.
About the Author
Mostafa Sayyadi works with senior business leaders to effectively develop innovation in companies, and helps companies—from start-ups to the Fortune 100—succeed by improving the effectiveness of their leaders. He is a business book author and a long-time contributor to business publications and his work has been featured in top-flight business publications.