by Tim Kidson.

In recent years, the impact of the global knowledge economy has started to change things in just about every single organisation, be they in the public, the private or the ‘not for profit’ sectors.

This change is happening whether people and organisations realise it or not and it is having a direct impact on workforce development.

In this world it is directors who are prepared to adopt a different paradigm of leadership whose organisations are most likely be successful. We all need to be able to think differently, to do things differently and to behave differently.

The reality is that the (fixed) assets on the balance sheet such as land and buildings, plant and machinery, fixtures and fittings are declining in their ability to generate profits in the market place. The effective use of space, energy, vehicles and people necessary to move ‘things’ is paradoxically, a liability in an age when information and knowledge moves at 186,000 miles per second.

In the global knowledge economy, it is how organisations identify and develop their Intellectual Capital that will add value to their product or service. This in turn will generate and sustain a competitive advantage. In this sense all organisations no matter what their competences are, are offering a service. This fact will have a profound effect on workforce development.

All organisations are increasingly accountable in terms of measurable outputs. These outputs are invariably expressed in terms of:
1. How we add value for our customers, and/or,
2. How we are reducing costs in the way that we do things. In other words, delivering more for less.
Furthermore, online, we are what we deliver.

Intellectual Capital can be broken down as follows:

– Human capital
– The are three elements. The skill (how to do), the knowledge (what to do), and attitude (the wanting to do) of everyone on the payroll, starting with the directors. Excellence in people and /or organisations is the habit of getting all these three consistently right over time.
-All organisations need a bull’s-eye. This is a measurable statement of excellence about what they would like to be (products and services), how much of it (profit and cash), for whom (customers), and by when (say, 2010). As a bi-product of this work, the steeper the flight path towards the bull’s eye the greater will be the need for a new marketing strategy.
– Structural capital
– This is the processes, patents, databases, networks, software and documents that an organisation uses to manage its’ knowledge.
– The value of explicit knowledge, which lives online, on discs and in books is declining. The value of tacit knowledge on the other hand, which lives in peoples’ heads, is increasing.
– Successful organisations therefore, need to find out how much almost worthless knowledge they are guarding and storing. More importantly they need to find out how to identify and leverage the priceless knowledge that is being neglected. Knowledge mapping is a process for finding out exactly who has what knowledge and what to do with it. This will be a crucial part of the workforce development of the future.

– Customer capital
– This is the measured relationships that we have with our internal and external customers, suppliers and ultimately all stakeholders.
– It is only by getting closer to all these people that we can find out what they really want. This work requires different types of intelligences than those that were required for the ‘old’ manufacturing economy.
– Our development points as individuals or as an organisation come from the things that we could be doing better. For many this mindset requires a different way of thinking and a different way of behaving.

When our customers are looking at our website, they are just one click away from our competitors. That is why the knowledge economy increasingly requires us to be transparent about our intellectual capital and our expertise online. We need to ensure that our workforce development is in line with transparent organisational objectives too.

[b]Tim Kidson[b] works with CEOs who wish to change their thinking, change their behaviour and change what they do in order to develop and sustain competitive advantage in the global knowledge economy. I seem to have an intuitive talent to get to the root of issues, especially people issues, in order to put together strategies for performance improvement. I am passionate about this work, frequently addressing business audiences such as the Academy for Chief Executives, the Institute of Directors and the DTI. I am an Ambassador for Investors in People UK and a member of the Professional Speakers Association.

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