Managing Talent Risks When Executives Transition – Using Knowledge Transfer with Technical/Operational Skills


budgetOur last blog post focused on reducing executive talent risk by modeling how to methodically transfer the “soft skills” necessary for a new job role. When coming to a new organization, executives also face similar challenges with getting their technical and operational skill sets up to speed. Take for example business planning and budget setting. I was with a client yesterday who is starting his next fiscal year budget six months in advance. Basically, they had barely finished getting the last one done, and they’re already moving on to the next. Much like the election cycle, knowing the timing Continue reading »

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Managing Talent Risks When Executives Transition – Using Knowledge Transfer for the “Softer Skills”

handshakeIn a previous blog, we talked about how we can use knowledge transfer to mitigate talent risk by creating an ecosystem of experts who can provide backup for a departing executive. I mentioned that one of our clients was preparing to replace a retiring executive. They had identified his replacement, Dan, and had already begun the work of getting him up to speed over the course of several months. In this post, I’m going to talk more how we’re using knowledge transfer to mitigate risk at that company by ensuring Continue reading »

Posted in 20 Test Questions, Best Practices, Blog, Change Management, Common KT Misconceptions, Consistency in a Workforce, Knowledge Transfer Definition, Terms & Roles, Knowledge Transfer Planning, Peer Mentoring | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Managing Talent Risks When Executives Transition – Developing a Strong Ecosystem Through Knowledge Transfer

I’ve bemployee revolving dooreen meeting with a lot of executives lately dealing with top leadership transitions. In the next few blogs, I’m going to talk about how knowledge transfer can help executives manage talent risk at the highest level. We’ll start off with the need for developing a strong team approach or “ecosystem” that mitigates the risk to the enterprise when an executive moves on.

For example, I was recently approached by the head of HR for a multinational corporation that specializes in the manufacture of imaging and optical solutions. Continue reading »

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Measures to Creating an Observation Paper

Mumsnetters required for reviews, product tests plus much more. Celebrate the start of My Fat Greek Wedding 2 by spreading your dos and don’ts for putting a big wedding might get a coupon. After having your kids, does one experience kidney weakness? Sign up to examination INNOVO”s pelvic stimulator that is fresh. 300 Love2Shop voucher to become gained for feedback. Find out what Mumsnetters thought of Mother Bessie’s Homestyle roast carrots that are frozen. Testers’ feedback is drawn for by 300 John Lewis voucher prize! Continue reading »

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Calculating the Cost of a Mistake – A Quick How-To for Business Leaders

calculator with moneyHere’s a question I get a lot from clients and executives at companies I visit in my firm’s talent risk management and knowledge transfer work:

“Steve, we know we have a talent risk, but how do I make the business case for addressing that risk over the TEN other things competing right now for our organization’s time and resources?  How can I show the cost to our business if that talent risk is left unmitigated?”    Continue reading »

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When Is It Right to Transfer the LEAST Amount of Knowledge to Peers? – Knowledge Transfer & Change Management

Knowledge transfer the least information vs too muchWe helped a client with a big insight this week that I wanted to share.  This client of our knowledge transfer firm is undertaking a big IT transition, moving support work from one part of the organization to another.  This is knowledge transfer in the midst of change management.  In some instances, the workers will be moved along with the work, but in many instances the workers will take on new roles and the transitioned support work will be done by a new team, some of whom are outsource partners.

Simultaneously, the need for the support work is in flux.  Some of the applications will be shut down in the next six months.  Others will have their “Tier 1 and 2” (basic) support done by the new team and “Tier 3 and 4” (complex) support done by the existing team.  Oh, and there are several different executives (and budgets) leading these various teams.   Continue reading »

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Help IT Build a Culture of Innovation

We are pleased to welcome this guest blog post from our business associate, Dan Roberts, President & CEO of Ouellette & Associates.  As a leading provider of innovative IT training and solutions, Ouellette & Associates helps IT organizations from all industries transition their workforce from reactive, technology-centric, order-takers to proactive, client-centric, providers of choice.  We at The Steve Trautman Co. have been working with Ouellette & Associates for several years to bring excellence in talent risk management and knowledge transfer into IT organizations. We think that the research report Dan Roberts describes in this post is interesting and we wanted to share it with you.

Dan Roberts headshot - O&A - IT Organizations and knowledge transfer reportThe ability to anticipate and provide innovative solutions is no longer optional; innovative anticipation has quickly become a strategic imperative for IT organizations.

Think about it:  Cloud computing.  Mobile applications.  Social media. Data analytics.  The Internet of Things (IoT). Connected devices. Traditional enterprise applications.

These are the solutions driving today’s digital business opportunities.  Today’s business models, and those of the future, require that IT professionals are innovative anticipators who can provide solutions in an increasingly complex digital business environment.

What does it take to make innovative anticipation a reality in an IT organization?  Our research indicates it requires an innovative IT culture. Continue reading »

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FREE EBOOK #2 RELEASED – Knowledge Transfer 101: An Introduction by Steve Trautman

As part of our continuing eBook series launched earlier this year, today we’re releasing our second complimentary, short eBook from our own Steve Trautman: KNOWLEDGE TRANSFER 101: An Introduction.

Download Now

knowledge transfer introduction, knowledge transfer intro, knowledge transfer ebookSteve is the leading international thought leader on managing talent risk using knowledge transfer. This second eBook (33 pgs.) covers the basics—from what knowledge transfer is to best practices in the workplace. It makes a great resource for those starting out in this work or for colleagues joining a team already engaged in knowledge transfer.

What It Is

The new eBook will:

  • Thoroughly define knowledge transfer—including what it is not.
  • Clarify foundational terminology.
  • Explain the most highly accepted research behind how people learn at work.
  • Show how knowledge transfer is applied to solve a number of common business challenges.
  • Provide a checklist for what makes a good knowledge transfer program.
  • Give the top 6 common reasons why knowledge transfer programs fail.
  • And more.

Download Now

We hope you enjoy this free series!  As always, I welcome your feedback in the comments section below.

— Sonja

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JUNE WEBINARS WITH CIO.COM, SYSCO, AND NETSPEED – Unveiling Steve Trautman’s New IP around Talent Risk Management

managing talent risk management webinar - steve trautment and wayne shurts


Our own Steve Trautman, expert on managing talent risk through knowledge transfer, will be teaming up for two free webinars next week.  The first webinar—sponsored by CIO Magazine and CIO Executive Council—pairs Steve with Wayne Shurts, Executive VP & CTO at Sysco (and a client), for a moderated discussion on Tuesday, June 2, 2015 at 1:00 – 2:00 p.m. EST on “Managing Talent Risk: A 3-Part Formula for Knowledge Transfer Success.”

Register Now

What It’s About

In this webcast, Wayne and Steve will share their stories and insights on how they have effected real change within the 800 person-strong Business Technology organization at Sysco, the world’s largest food distributor—and give principals and tools for replicating the results within your organization.
They will share tips on:

  • Creating an inventory of technical experts and their unique knowledge so that all talent risks are known and can be managed.
  • Aligning managers from the C Suite to the front line to ensure their teams have the right skills for the future.
  • Introducing next-generation experts into a historically stable workplace and setting them up for success.
  • Maintaining legacy systems while reassigning top technical talent to plan for the future.
  • Responding to unplanned, sometimes emergent, staff changes.

This webinar will tease some of the insights to be released in Steve’s upcoming new book.  Register today and be among the first to learn about a better, more fact-based approach to talent risk management.

NetSpeed logo - managing talent risk management webinar

The second webinar, cosponsored with NetSpeed—a learning solutions company that partners with Fortune 500s to develop better virtual learners and communicators—will feature Steve Trautman speaking on Wednesday, June 3, 2015 at 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. EST on Managing Talent Risk through Knowledge Transfer: Methodical, Measurable, and Clear.”

Register Now

What It’s About

This new webinar, part of NetSpeed’s  5-part 2015 Thought Leader Webinar Series, will take the risk out of transition planning with a quantifiable process.  Because, it’s a myth that an organization cannot manage its talent risks with the same degree of clarity, rigor, and measurement as other types of business risk. Steve will show you how your current system could do more to track, measure and mitigate the cost of mistakes due to job standard inconsistency, single points of failure in a work team and lack of talent readiness.

After attending this one-hour webinar, you’ll be able to:

  • Identify and explain your technical talent risk
  • Assess how you are currently managing talent risk
  • Manage talent risk using knowledge transfer

Register today and hear the first public release of these best practices.


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We’re Hiring!

We’re looking for an Account Manager/Business Development Manager!

Our smart, talented blog readers know many smart, talented people…and we’d love to meet that special Account Manager/Biz Dev friend of yours! Our knowledge transfer consulting work is on fire and we’re in need of someone to help manage the relationships with our growing list of large accounts. Current clients (whose names you’ve heard of – all Fortune 500s/1000s) all need attention ASAP. We already have relationships at the executive level and need someone to execute the account plans.

I’ve linked a job description in case you know of anyone who would like to work from home (ideally east of Chicago) with a small, best-in-the-world firm doing great work that is measurably reducing talent risk every day. We have a great culture, super talented and committed people and a lot of fun!

Thanks for any help and great names you can provide. The best way to take action is to share this post or job description with your friend via email (or social sharing buttons below), and let us know you’ve done that.

Thank you! We look forward to posting an update announcing our successful new hire!

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Make Your Boss More Useful To You

Nearly all of us hLeadershipave worked for a well-meaning, relatively capable leader who does his or her best each day but still falls short.  It is not their fault, really.  They are the manager, but that doesn’t mean they can be experts in the details of every job function in their chain of command.  The orchestra conductor may also know how to play the violin, but may not have as much clarity on the mechanics of playing the wind instruments.  It is an age-old problem.

One solution is Continue reading »

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Announcing Our 2015 Ebook Series!

Independent research reveals that knowledge transfer or knowledge retention ranks in the top 10 most critical human capital issues for corporations across industries for the past three years and continues to be a major concern.*  Respected research firm Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4cp) says acting on your organization’s knowledge issues in 2015 is a “must do” for propelling productivity.

We coulEbooksdn’t agree more and we’re here to help . . . with the launch of our new complimentary e-book series on talent risk management through knowledge transfer.  One of these ebooks is ready to roll and available for download now. The other two will publish in the coming months.

So voila, here are the 3 books for 2015:

  1. Best Practices for Knowledge Transfer Success: Role by Role  This guide looks at each role in your organization required, person by person, to help you succeed.  Click here to get your copy now!
  2. Knowledge Transfer 101: An Introduction. This guide covers the basics, from what Knowledge Transfer is to best practices in the workplace. This ebook will publish in the second quarter; you can request your copy now.
  3. In Development. Our third guide for 2015 will feature another hot issue facing corporations today and help you manage talent risk.  Coming in the second half of 2015 – you can sign up to be notified when it publishes.

We hope you enjoy this free series!  I welcome your feedback in the comments section below.


*"Knowledge Transfer/Knowledge Retention" ranked as critical among more than 75 human capital 
issues by hundreds of corporations headquartered primarily in N.A., representing diverse industries; 
this independent research was conducted by the Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4cp).


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NEVER GET ON A PLANE WITHOUT A PLAN – Using Knowledge Transfer to Ensure Efficient Use of Travel for Training

tech-indRecently, a client of my knowledge transfer consulting firm was expressing his frustration with having to routinely fly his division’s experienced technical employees out to other domestic offices, off-shore, or to outsource partner locations to train new hires and solve technical problems.  “It is the only way,” the CTO said, “to ensure that hands-on, business-critical knowledge gets transferred.”  So I asked him a few simple questions:

ME: Who goes on these trips?

CLIENT:  Well, there’s no standard.  We tend to send whoever is willing to go and can get away.

ME:  How long do they typically stay there, away from their other daily work?

CLIENT:  As long as they can handle it. Continue reading »

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‘GET YOUR GREEN ON’ – 7 Ways to Celebrate Knowledge Transfer Success (Part 1)

Get Your Green On Gift - PinHow do you recognize and reward successful knowledge transfer?  Over the years we’ve seen managers get pretty creative in how they publicly celebrate mentors and apprentices for their achievements together: awards, events, gifts—you name it.

Not only can these programs be fun, but good managers understand that recognition also serves a critical function: helping to drive measurable results and embed knowledge transfer in your culture.


Choosing the right way Continue reading »

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Before It’s Too Late – Using Emergency Knowledge Transfer to Manage Talent Risk

We’ve detailed howToo late - conceptual alarm clock showing that you are too late to use Emergency Knowledge Transfer (EKT) to mitigate talent risks in previous posts.  My knowledge transfer team recently helped a client facing the challenge of the unexpected resignation of a business-critical expert, and the story of how the EKT process unfolded is a lesson in management’s ability to achieve quick, clear, and measurable reduction of the risk of critical knowledge loss.

Our client, a global provider of automation and information solutions, had learned that one of their key employees was giving his 30-day notice. Continue reading »

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Can Knowledge Transfer Programs Succeed with Employees Who Bill Hourly? – A Quick Q&A

A structured knowledge transfer program intentionally moves critical knowledge and skills from employee to employee on the job.  One marker of a good knowledge transfer program is versatility—the process should work in all types of business environments.  For example, my knowledge transfer consulting firm was recently asked this question by a potential client:

Hi Steve,

How might your 3-step knowledge transfer process work with a firm that runs on billable hours to their clients?  Making time to train people and/or transfer knowledge is a challenge.



Continue reading »

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IN THE NEWS – Research Supports (Pre)Testing’s Impact on Learning and Knowledge Transfer

Knowledge Transfer Testing - Business mtg over the table

Here is the closing line of this fascinating New York Times article on testing, “…But the emerging study of pretesting flips that logic on its head.  ‘Teaching to the test’ becomes ‘learning to understand the pretest,’ whichever one the teacher chooses to devise.  The test, that is, becomes an introduction to what students should learn, rather than a final judgment on what they did not.”

Benedict Carey refers to research that supports a belief we at our knowledge transfer consulting firm have espoused for the last ten years Continue reading »

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The Myth of the Knowledge-Hoarding Expert Unwilling to Mentor Peers

Question MarkDEFINITION: A mentor is an expert (“subject matter expert,” “SME,” “domain expert,” “pro,” “guru,” “go-to person,” “rock star,” “buddy,” “genius,” etc.)—in any industry or line of work—who has unique, business-critical knowledge and needs or is asked to teach that knowledge to others. The knowledge can be explicit or tacit.  And, a mentor can be any age and have 50 years seniority in an organization or one day.  The essential factor is that the mentor knows something that others in an organization need to know in order to be successful.

There’s a common misconception in business that many subject matter experts are unwilling or unable to transfer their knowledge to coworkers. Continue reading »

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Talent Risks CAN be Measurably Assessed and Managed – a Practical List

MP900382652A common misconception I often find myself debunking is that risks related to “the people part” of business are somehow less quantifiable and manageable than other types of business risks.  As we have begun to further shape and prove that a business’s talent risks can be methodically assessed, prioritized, and managed, we still worry about common business language around this topic sounding too fluffy.  In this post, I’ve made a clear, comprehensive list of the types of talent risks that we can pinpoint with today’s knowledge transfer tool set.

Every one of the risks noted below can be Continue reading »

Posted in Aging Workers, Blog, Knowledge Silo Matrix (KSM), Offshoring, Onboarding, Outsourcing, Reorganizations & Mergers, Skilled Worker Shortage | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

New Case Study Available

Fortune-1000-logo-grayscale-knowledge-transfer-case-study“The proof is in the pudding,” they say, and that is why I love case studies. They are a fantastic way to get a flavor of how actual knowledge transfer challenges get solved in the trenches at our client sites all over the world.

We’ve added a new case study that looks at the work we did with a Fortune 1000 insurance company on ensuring consistency with its outsource partners.  How many organizations are frustrated by the unreliable output of their vendor partners?  This insurance company dealt with the issue head on, resulting in vendors who are producing more consistent and reliable output. Importantly, the insurer now has a methodical, efficient process in place to train future vendor hires and to hold the outsource partner accountable to maintaining those skill standards.

Take a look and you might see an interesting (or familiar) problem solved!

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