Knowledge is often used as an interchangeable term with information. This leads to confusion and misunderstanding, so here is an example to illustrate the difference:
Let’s suppose you like chocolate cake and want to make it.
A friend gives you a great recipe. The recipe is information. It informs you about the ingredients and process.
You make the cake – it’s delicious. And you want to tell a friend. You speak from your experience and add some tips you discovered during the process. This is drawing on your knowledge because it arises from your own experience. You cannot transfer knowledge. You can only pass on instructions as information.
So you pass on the recipe (information) with your tips based on your own experience (knowledge) and your friend receives your instructions as information – not knowledge. Once your friend makes the cake they can speak from their own experience, which is their knowledge.
This applies to all areas of your life and business.
Why is it important to understand the difference between information and knowledge?
It’s important because everyone in business is looking for a unique selling proposition (USP). Once you realise the unique accumulative experiences of your team you can tap into this knowledge resource to build your team/company capability profile.
Your knowledge cannot be transferred to anyone or downloaded from the web. It has to be earned by living out the circumstances of your life. The prize is wisdom.
1. List the knowledge and skills that comprise your expertise
Make a list for yourself and your team, include projects that led you into new areas. Document lessons you learned and feedback from your clients.
2. Describe how your expertise has developed over the years?
List trends that indicate opportunities for new services. Include government regulations that will impact your business.
3. Compare your answers to questions 1 and 2
You may be surprised by the hidden resources you uncover, not included in your marketing proposition.
This exercise will help you identify opportunities for growth and changes needed to comply with new regulations. It will also keep you focused on your original intention.
4. Say it as it is
It can be convenient to use jargon as a quick answer to describing your work. But this can be costly as it’s likely to trigger preconceived ideas, meaning people will prejudge you before you’ve fully explained your capability.
People formulate opinions based on what they’ve heard before and assume you’re offering the same. So don’t miss out on opportunities by being misunderstood. Say it as it is using your own words.
You owe it to yourself to ensure important decision-makers understand and appreciate the value you bring to their business.