Infolosophy defines an essential key to small business success. Without it your business will fail to grow, thrive and survive. So what is Infolosophy?
It is a term I coined in 2001 to help small businesses understand the key essentials required for business growth. It is defined as:
The derivation two words, ‘information’ and ‘philosophy’. It is a system of principles applied in the acquisition, management and competitive use of knowledge.
One who applies a system of principles in the acquisition, management and competitive use of knowledge.
It is my firm belief that to be successful in today’s knowledge economy you must embrace a systematic approach to continuous learning in order to remain competitive. I believe this to be as true for corporate type entities as it is for small businesses and individuals.
Understand, acknowledge and embrace the need to become an Infolosopher
Mike Marquart writes that dinosaur organisations with limited knowledge cannot survive in today’s new atmosphere of rapid change and intense competition. “The survival of the fittest is fast becoming the survival of the fittest-to-learn”, he says. Likewise, business leaders who failed to learn run the risk of becoming a dinosaur themselves, condemning the business’s they lead to a similar fate as their pre-historic counterparts.
The velocity at which new technology enables business today is growing exponentially. Failing to keep up by continuing to learn, adopt and adapt will see you and your organisation become extinct. So the real issue today for businesses everywhere is one of knowledge management.
How do I become an Infolosopher?
You need to open your mind as to the learning opportunities that are to be had. Formal learning is not the only form of learning out there. It could come from a fellow business owner relating his experiences, watching another business at work or from your employees’ experiences in other jobs. The point is that unless your mind is open to accept, capture and communicate these gifts you will miss some fantastic opportunities to learn and grow.
Personally, I try to be a sponge, picking up bits and pieces everywhere, regardless of how irrelevant they may seem at the time. I know that at some point I will be able to put my bits and pieces together to create effective solutions.
Establish a plan setting aside time for formal learning. Using your strategic plan, identify what learning your business will benefit from most and schedule to attend education sessions, such as seminars, conferences, courses and classes. This ensures both you and your business continue to learn and grow.
How do I get my people to embrace Infolosophy?
Make continuous learning a part of the organisation’s culture. Encourage your staff to “each one, teach one” and multiply the rate of learning in your organisation. Embed infolosophy in your recruitment process. Hire people who are active learners to add depth to the learning culture in your organisation. In my experience infolosophers tend to be both open-minded, flexible and creative.
Revisit your strategic small business intranet plan and identify the competencies required for it to realise it’s stated business goals. Map this against the skills and resources you have currently and identify the gaps. Develop a competency based learning program for your employees and your organisation. Your recruitment program should also aim to plug these gaps.
Promote and reward learning in your organisation, and make sure you capture and make accessible any knowledge acquired so that it becomes shared knowledge. I have always kept a business and management library, and encouraged my employees to use it as much as possible. I also employ intranet sites as a valuable repository of information. This is especially useful for virtual teams.
For example, my consulting business actively captures the collective learning from each and every client case we have provided services for.
We use this knowledge base as a learning tool for new and trainee consults, which enables them to operate independently, sooner. The client wins because it benefits form the collective learning of all of our previous cases and is assured of the quality of the advice provided. My business benefits from the efficiency of the service delivery and the competitive advantage it provides. My business also grows at faster, more profitable rate than it would have otherwise done. The application of infolosophy to the business delivers a win-win situation all round.
You too, can realise your full potential, by becoming an infolosophy inspired small business leader and a knowledge managed organisation.