Why a Great Knowledge Management System Starts With “Why?”

Almost exactly ten years ago, Simon Sinek gave a talk at a TEDx event near Seattle called “How Great Leaders Inspire Action.” Little did he know, he was about to start a movement. People revolutionized their approach to product and personal development after hearing his talk. Today, his 18-minute speech is the third most-viewed TED talk of all time, and he wrote a book around his simple idea—start with why.

To get yourself up to speed or refresh your memory, here’s his talk: 


Or, if you’re more into the CliffsNotes version of things, here’s his main idea:

Great leaders don’t start with the questions “what?” or “how?” when they’re coming up with ideas. To truly inspire the people around them, they start with the question “why?” 

  • Why am I making this decision? 
  • Why do people need whatever it is I’m trying to provide? 
  • Why should anyone listen to what I have to say?

Here’s a visual way to look at it:

I (along with 45.1 million other viewers) love Simon Sinek’s message. Why, you ask? Because good things happen when we start with why, and this holds particularly true in the world of tech.

  • “Why can’t we see anything at night?” Cue the invention of the lightbulb.
  • “Why is this gravel road so bumpy? There has to be a better way.” The birth of pavement.
  • “Why are we knocking down so many trees to read books?” Oh, hey Kindle. 
  • “Why isn’t there a place to store all of the information people need to do their jobs?”

Enter knowledge management tools.

To me, fewer things shout “start with why” more than a great knowledge management system. Examples of different types of knowledge management systems and knowledge management solutions include learning for schools, secure document sharing, business intelligence, and workflow management solutions. Back in 2012, Lessonly was founded upon several great “why?” questions:

  • Why isn’t training more accessible? 
  • Why isn’t there an easy, updatable way to onboard new team members and continue developing them? 
  • Why isn’t there a great place to store all the information customer service and sales reps need to best help their customers and prospects?

Today, we keep the “why” in mind, but have shifted our attention to building a knowledge management process that’s useful for learners in every way. We’re squarely in the “how” and “what” phases of developing our knowledge management system software.  The following three features are some of our favorite knowledge management system benefits, and we’ve included them in Lessonly because they truly help us answer the “why?” questions we were founded on.

1. Practice

We need to train well to be great at our jobs. Lessonly’s practice tools let teams provide opportunities to practice new strategies, refresh their memories, study complicated processes, and test themselves along the way. The ability to practice in a risk-free, fear-free setting is a gamechanger for a team’s learning and development. Practice in Lessonly looks like mock chat, support ticket handling, email reply, email composition, webcam recording, screen recording, and more. It’s a simple concept, but the best way to get better at anything is truly just to practice—this is true in sport, music, and our jobs. All the components of knowledge management work together to keep practice at the forefront.  

2. Insights

The “Insights” feature of Lessonly gives teams a look at the metrics they need to train better in the future. For example, a learner can see who reviewed their training and collaborate with that specific grader for feedback and clarity around what they may have missed in a knowledge check. Creators can see how long everyone spent on each section of content. Customer service trainers can compare CSAT with knowledge retention from specific lessons. These technical knowledge management system benefits use the clarity of data to help us answer why, how, and what.

3. Media Recording

Many people assume online training will feel too automated, robotic, and digital. With Lessonly’s media recording tools, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Content creators can use Lessonly to record or film themselves practicing a pitch, elaborating on a product’s latest update, or going over a new process, and upload it to the internal knowledge base software for their teams to train and interact with. This puts the ball in the learner’s court—information is accessible in a learner’s moment of need.

These three “how” and “what” responses wouldn’t exist if we didn’t start with why. Our ultimate “why?” is our mission, which is to help teams do better work so they can live better lives. If you’re interested in getting back to the “why?” of how your team approaches training, we’d love to talk to you at www.lessonly.com or email us at hello@lessonly.com.

Make work easier with Lessonly’s Knowledge Management System

Lessonly Knowledge gives your teammates the ability to find answers quickly and easily—all within their normal workflow. With Lessonly Knowledge, streamline where knowledge lives, integrate with common work apps, and help your teammates save time. Click here to learn more.

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