The Hidden Gift of First Hires

Recollecting the knowledge we accumulated from our experience is a challenge. First hires are the unique occasion where new entrepreneurs start sharing their knowledge. It’s a perfect occasion to address this challenge.

I had the luck to share a tip with a young first-time entrepreneur in my network. Delighted by her reaction, I thought it was worth sharing it here.

How Knowledge Accumulate

She accumulated know-how during the months of incubation of her project. Experiment after experiment, successes after failures a new homegrown knowledge has grown. That’s how we build intellectual property and create value.

That’s also how learning by doing happen. Unless we practice modern personal knowledge management, it stays in our brains only. It may even remain tacit, never written, forever which reduces its value.

Sharing Knowledge under stress

Now, her challenge is to transfer it to new workers within days and under pressure. It’s like writing on a blank page, but it requires chunking and connecting with their prior knowledge. Add to it that the transfer must be complete, cover crucial aspects but not be overwhelming.

New entrepreneurs are not a specialists in learning design. They have to apply those best practices starting with the very first employee.

The Knowledge Sharing Journal

My first easy, peasy tool:

As you train and teach your team on the process, your project, how you came to it; keep a journal (with dates) of the key ideas or practices you demonstrated. It will help you to scale, repeat this onboarding, or optimize it. You can annotate it with what worked, was useful or not.

It’s one of the rare occasion your implicit knowledge accumulated during last years becomes explicit and articulate.

Wow! This is an incredible idea!

Do it very loosely, low tech: a school notebook and pencil, It defies temptation of perfection and to add friction.

Yes… in 4 days working with & teaching ppl for the first time, I’ve already realized that some things need to be communicated better from my side. And also little nuances that I’ve figured out, need to be conveyed in order to help them speed up the learning curve.

This is the problematic of progressive disclosure. We must relate to their prior knowledge and add new knowledge by small touches day after days. It’s a real challenge for entrepreneurs. It would be easier to fo a brain dump but it doesn’t work.

Ahhh I totally agree! Little by little, each day is so annoying yet the only option.

Journal also helps you jot down short learning plans and remember of open loops.

I never considered taking notes along the way… fantastic!

That’s how the need for the Kneaver came, with my very first hires.

As opposed to writing sessions of her knowledge, training people is interactive. They ask questions. They need to connect with what they learned at school. They may even offer simplifications and suggestions.

You shared accumulated knowledge. A new learning experience starts.

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  • Dialog reused with permission.
  • Funny how with the right perspective a challenge can help fix another one. Two birds with one stone.