Intellectual Capital

Business is built on problem solving. It’s built on providing value for all of the stakeholders. It’s a balance, a dance if you will with give and take, and plant and harvest, and ebb and flow. It’s about understanding the strengths that you can build on. In most service businesses this must include intellectual capital. Intellectual capital is an intangible value component of a business. It is the specific knowledge that has accrued within a business. It is the refined problem solving process that emerges after decades of trial and error. It is deep working relationships fostered through years of working together. It’s the culture that drives your organization to serve customers better.

The better businesses can access intellectual capital the greater advantage they have. They key to accessing it is communication. The growth of any business relies on its ability to communicate effectively. After over 8 months of remote work I’ve noticed the challenges with this very important ingredient. Communication via tools like Slack don’t adequately foster intellectual capital. Onboarding takes on new challenges. Tools like Zoom or GotoMeeting can help as they help convey the visual communication, and emotional connections that are woven into the stories we tell to teach and learn, but the ability to effectively communicate and connect is at the core of success. Here are a few observations to help keep that edge:

  1. Identify guides – Inside every organization are people who hold Intellectual capital. Recognize these key people and empower them to share their knowledge, and become thought leaders inside the organization as well as providing opportunities from them to build your brand to the industry networks you serve.
  2. Tap into the why – This is the key ingredient needed to build loyalty and longevity. As Simon Senik teaches, it’s not what you do, it’s why you do it that motivates people, because unless it’s a commodity where price is the only factor, people need to connect to act. Make sure this is reinforced and not only displayed in your messaging, but that you also walk the talk.
  3. Recognize people learn in different ways — There is no such thing as over over-communicating. Check ins are fine, but sharing stories about successes and failures are a key competent of building intellectual capital. Remember that we learn more through our failures than our success, so create a safe environment to share and discuss the failures too.

We have awhile before we will once again have the opportunity to safely come together in groups. But, by increasing our awareness of the communication in our organizations we will improve our capacity to be more effective.


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