Tulsa-Based Workplace Consultant: Grasping Organizational Knowledge

Article excerpt

Chuck Tryon may be sitting on the nation's next best-selling management strategy.

For several years the Tulsa-based workplace consultant has strived to create a system for charting and capturing "organizational knowledge," ranging from intellectual properties to the accumulated business insights, practices and efficiencies that people sometimes just refer to as "experience."

Tryon sees such institutional knowledge as a company's most valuable asset - one increasingly threatened by retirements, career changes and recession shakeouts.

"This will be the most significant challenge businesses have faced in the last 20 years," said the owner of Tryon and Associates, having studied this problem since the 1980s. "As far as the survivability and thrive-ability of a company in the next decade or more, this one has got to be at the very top of their list."

Tryon said he has the solution. Tryon has finished what may be the first business model for managing organizational knowledge, which he will reveal Monday before a select group of executives during a daylong presentation at the University of Tulsa's Helmerich Hall, Room 121.

"Everybody talks about how knowledge is their most valuable asset, but when I ask them how they back that up, they can't," he said. "They have an asset list of equipment, a spreadsheet of what they own, but no accounting, no list, of their organizational knowledge. That's a major gap. You cannot manage organizational knowledge if you don't at least have an inventory of what that is."

The distinction comes from trying to separate common knowledge from organizational knowledge, information that cannot be simply learned from a software program or business text. The distinction points to the inventory of knowledge - on markets, systems, businesses, cultures - that shape the strategic direction and operation of a company.

Tryon's model involves creation of a knowledge retention policy, one that builds an inventory of vital information to a company's core. The 1975 TU grad will outline Monday for the first time his grand model of how to make that work.

"There's very little out there on how you build a knowledge management model for an organization that shows how you put all the pieces together," he said. "A lot of companies just don't understand even the basic vernacular concepts of knowledge management. …