Tacit knowledge is the kind of knowledge that’s hard to articulate and even harder to teach. It’s the kind of knowledge that your grandma has about baking, or your grandpa has about fixing cars. Tacit knowledge has existed since dawn, but it’s more important now than ever. In a world where information is just a click away, tacit knowledge sets you apart.

So, how can you tap into this elusive knowledge? Well, grab a coffee and settle in because we’re about to explore the examples, importance, and best practices of tacit knowledge. Trust me; you won’t regret it.


What is Tacit Knowledge? (Definition)

Tacit knowledge is like a secret superpower. You don’t know you have it until you need it. Okay, so maybe it’s not a superpower, but tacit knowledge can give you an edge in your personal and professional life.

So, what exactly is tacit knowledge? Well, it’s the knowledge that you have, but you may not even realize it. It’s the stuff you’ve picked up over the years through experience, observation, and interaction. It’s like that feeling you get when you know something, even if you can’t quite explain how you know it.

For example, have you ever played a sport and knew where your teammates were on the field without looking? That’s tacit knowledge. Or have you ever been able to fix something without really understanding the mechanics of how it works? That’s also tacit knowledge.

According to a study, tacit knowledge accounts for 84% of all assets in S&P companies and is considered intangible.

But here’s the thing – tacit knowledge is often difficult to share or teach to others. It’s personal and subjective and not always easy to put into words. That’s where things can get tricky.

But fear not, my friend! In the next section, we’ll share some tips and tricks on obtaining tacit knowledge and using it to your advantage. Trust me; it’ll be worth it!


How To Obtain Tacit Knowledge?

Tacit knowledge has existed for centuries, but it’s only recently been recognized as an important factor in business and education. It’s predicted that tacit knowledge will become even more important as technology advances and jobs become more complex.

In the past, tacit knowledge was passed down from generation to generation through storytelling, apprenticeships, and other forms of hands-on learning. But as society has evolved, so has the way we obtain and express tacit knowledge.

Here are a few ways that tacit knowledge can be expressed:

  • Body language and gestures
  • Tone of voice
  • Personal anecdotes and stories
  • Shared experiences

So, how can you obtain this elusive knowledge? Here are a few tips:

  • Observe and learn from others: Pay attention to how others approach tasks and try to learn from their methods.
  • Learn by practice: Sometimes, the best way to learn is by doing. Take on new challenges and learn from your mistakes.
  • Ask questions: Don’t be afraid to ask for advice or clarification. Sometimes the simplest questions can lead to the most valuable insights.
  • Embrace new experiences: Step out of your comfort zone and try new things. You never know what kind of tacit knowledge you might pick up.

But here’s the thing – tacit knowledge is only one piece of the puzzle. In the next section, we’ll explore the concept of explicit knowledge and how it works with tacit knowledge. Believe me; it’s a winning combination.


What is Explicit Knowledge, and How Does It Work Together With Tacit Knowledge?

Explicit knowledge refers to information that is easily codified and transferred between individuals. It’s the knowledge found in textbooks, manuals, and training videos. Explicit knowledge is concrete and can be written down, recorded, or stored in a database.

Here are some examples of explicit knowledge:

  • A recipe for making cookies.
  • A list of steps for assembling a piece of furniture.
  • A diagram of the human body’s organs and systems.

But here’s the thing – explicit knowledge is only one piece of the puzzle. The other piece is tacit knowledge, which we discussed earlier. Unlike explicit knowledge, tacit knowledge is personal, subjective, and difficult to transfer to others.

So how do explicit and tacit knowledge work together? Well, think of it like this:

  • Explicit knowledge provides the foundation for learning.
  • Tacit knowledge provides the intuition and understanding needed to apply that knowledge in real-world situations.

For example, you’re learning how to play the guitar. You might start by reading a book or watching a video that explains the basics of chord progressions and strumming patterns. That’s explicit knowledge. But to become a skilled guitar player, you also need to develop tacit knowledge through practice, experimentation, and feedback from other musicians.

Also, organizations that actively manage explicit and tacit knowledge are more likely to have a competitive advantage in their industry.

So there you have it – explicit and tacit knowledge working together harmoniously, like a perfectly tuned guitar. In the next section, we’ll dive deeper into some examples of tacit knowledge.


Examples of Tacit Knowledge

Tacit knowledge is the kind of knowledge that’s hard to articulate and even harder to transfer to others. So, let’s look at some examples of tacit knowledge, shall we?

1. Leadership

Leadership is one of those things that’s hard to define, but you know it when you see it. It’s the ability to inspire and guide others, to make tough decisions, and to lead by example. It’s not something you can learn from a book or a lecture. It’s something that’s developed over time through experience and observation. It’s like that feeling you get when you’re in the presence of a great leader – you know they have something special.

Think about a great leader you’ve had in the past. What made them so effective? Maybe it was how they could command a room without even saying a word or how they always seemed to know just what to say to get the team fired up. That kind of tacit knowledge separates good leaders from great ones.


2. Intuition

Intuition is another example of tacit knowledge. It’s that gut feeling you get, even when you don’t have all the information. It’s like a sixth sense that helps you make decisions, even when logic and reason say otherwise. You cannot learn everything in a classroom or from a textbook. It’s something that comes from within, and it’s often developed through trial and error. It’s a prime example of tacit knowledge. And the best part? It’s often right! Studies have shown that intuition can be just as accurate as logical reasoning.


3. Language

Language is a perfect example of tacit knowledge. Sure, you can learn the rules of grammar and syntax from a textbook, but that doesn’t mean you can speak a language fluently. The nuances of a language – the idioms, the slang, the cultural references – make it truly challenging to master. It’s the kind of knowledge that’s acquired through immersion and practice, not just memorization.

Think about it like, when you’re speaking with someone who’s fluent in a language, you can tell. They don’t have to think about every word they say – it just comes naturally. That’s tacit knowledge in action.


4. Humor

Some people have a natural talent for making others laugh. They know the right timing, tone, and delivery to get a chuckle out of even the toughest crowds. And that’s tacit knowledge in action.

Humor comes naturally to some people, while others struggle to understand it. It’s not just about telling jokes – it’s about understanding the context, the audience, and the delivery. It’s the kind of knowledge developed through observation and trial and error. You can’t just read a book on humor and expect to be a stand-up comedian.

According to a survey, employees who use their tacit knowledge are 30% more productive than those who don’t.

So there you have it – some prime examples of tacit knowledge. Whether it’s leadership, intuition, language, or humor, there’s no denying that these skills are essential in both our personal and professional lives. And the best part? They’re skills that can be honed and developed over time. So go out there and start flexing that tacit knowledge! And if you are curious to know why businesses need to focus on tacit knowledge, stay tuned.

Read More: Workplace IceBreakers: Ask The Right Questions To Know Your Team!


Why do Businesses Need To Focus on Tacit Knowledge?

Think about a business meeting where everyone is talking, but no one listens. The CEO discusses the latest sales numbers, but the marketing team is too busy considering their next social media campaign. The finance team is crunching numbers, but the HR department is daydreaming about their next vacation. It’s a mess, and no one knows what’s going on. That’s what happens when businesses don’t use tacit knowledge.


1. It Helps You Communicate Effectively

Communication is key in any business, but it can be challenging when everyone has their own way of doing things. Tacit knowledge helps bridge this gap by providing a shared understanding of how things work. When everyone has a common language and understanding of how the business operates, it makes communication much easier. This can lead to increased productivity and better outcomes for your business. According to a McKinsey study, well-connected teams see a productivity increase of 20–25%.

Read More: Communicate Effectively: How to do it in Workplace! (Types & Techniques)


2. You Learn From Each Other’s Mistakes and Experiences

No one is perfect, and everyone makes mistakes. But instead of hiding those mistakes, tacit knowledge encourages people to share them. Businesses can improve and grow by learning from each other’s mistakes and experiences.

For example, your sales team has been struggling to close deals. By sharing their experiences and strategies with the rest of the team, everyone can learn from each other and improve their sales techniques.


3. Differentiate Business From Your Competitors

In today’s competitive business landscape, finding ways to differentiate yourself from your competitors is important. One way to do this is by leveraging your team’s tacit knowledge. By sharing your unique experiences and perspectives, you can create a competitive advantage that sets you apart.

Let’s say you’re a coffee shop owner. By understanding the tacit knowledge of your baristas, you can create a unique coffee experience that sets your business apart from the competition. Maybe your baristas have a secret recipe for a latte that customers can’t get enough of. By leveraging this tacit knowledge, you can create a loyal customer base and differentiate yourself from other coffee shops in the area.


4. Encourages Teamwork

Teamwork makes the dream work, right? Well, tacit knowledge can help you achieve that dream. When everyone on your team feels valued and heard, they are more likely to collaborate. This can lead to a more positive and productive work environment and better outcomes for your business.


5. Promotes Inclusivity

Tacit knowledge is not just about what you know but also about who you are. It’s about your experiences, your perspectives, and your values. When everyone on your team is encouraged to share their unique perspectives and experiences, it creates a sense of belonging and inclusivity. This creates an inclusive culture where everyone’s voice is heard and valued and can lead to increased morale and a more positive work environment.

According to a study, companies that promote knowledge-sharing and collaboration are five times more likely to be high-performing. So, it’s clear that tacit knowledge is crucial for the success of any business.

And if you are looking for a platform to manage all your company’s knowledge, including tacit knowledge. Look no further than Bit.ai. Bit.ai is an all-in-one knowledge management and document collaboration platform designed for the workplace. Bit’s platform helps teams create, collaborate, share, track, and manage knowledge in one place.

It provides a common place for everyone to collaborate in real-time and create documents, brainstorm ideas, share digital and media assets, share knowledge, and get work done collaboratively.

That’s not all! Bit’s real-time collaboration features allow you to easily collaborate and simultaneously work with multiple people while creating documents. This means anyone with editor access to the documents can edit, add, and proofread documents in real-time. It helps increase productivity, promote tacit knowledge, and improve team collaboration.

To know how to practice tacit knowledge, explore the next section, where we’ll explore some easy steps which you can use to practice and enhance tacit knowledge.


How To Practice Tacit Knowledge

In case you’re wondering, tacit knowledge is the kind of knowledge that’s hard to put into words or teach in a formal setting. It’s the kind of knowledge that you gain through experience and intuition. So, how can you practice tacit knowledge? Well, I’m glad you asked. Here are three ways to get started:

1. Practice Positive Attitude

When practicing tacit knowledge, having a positive attitude can go a long way. Think about it this way: if you approach a new task negatively, you’re already setting yourself up for failure. On the other hand, if you approach the same task with a positive attitude, you’re more likely to succeed.

One way to cultivate a positive attitude is to focus on the process rather than the outcome. Instead of getting bogged down by the end result, focus on the small steps to get you there. Celebrate each small victory along the way, and don’t be too hard on yourself if things don’t go exactly as planned.

For example, let’s say you’re trying to learn a new dance routine. Instead of getting frustrated when you mess up a step, focus on the progress you’re making. Maybe you didn’t get the step right this time, but you’ll nail it eventually with practice.


2. Encourage Learning

Learning is a lifelong process, and it’s especially important when practicing tacit knowledge. The more you learn, the more experience and intuition you’ll gain. So, how can you encourage learning?

One way is to seek out new experiences. Whether trying a new hobby or taking a class in something you’re interested in, exposing yourself to new things can help you gain new knowledge and skills.

Another way to encourage learning is to seek out feedback. Don’t be afraid to ask for constructive criticism from others, whether a mentor, a coworker, or a friend. Feedback can help you identify areas where you can improve and grow.

For instance, let’s say you’re trying to improve your public speaking skills. You might take a class on public speaking to learn new techniques and get feedback from the instructor. Or, you might practice in front of a friend or family member and ask for their honest feedback.

Read More: How to Encourage Knowledge Sharing in the Workplace?


3. Create A Supportive Environment

Last but not least, creating a supportive environment can go a long way when it comes to practicing tacit knowledge. Surrounding yourself with people who encourage and support you can give you the confidence to take risks and try new things.

One way to create a supportive environment is to seek out mentors. A mentor can provide guidance and support as you work towards your goals. They can also share their experiences and knowledge, which can be incredibly valuable.

Another way to create a supportive environment is to surround yourself with like-minded individuals. Joining a group or community of people who share your interests can help you feel less alone and give you a sense of belonging.

If you’re trying to start your own business, you might seek out a mentor with entrepreneurship experience or join a networking group of other small business owners.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. “But how do I put all of this into practice?” Well, my friend, that’s where the fun comes in. Start small, and focus on one thing at a time. Maybe you’ll start by practicing a positive attitude or seeking feedback from others. As you build confidence and gain more experience, you can incorporate more of these practices into your daily routine.

It’s also important to remember that practicing tacit knowledge is a never-ending process. There’s always more to learn and new experiences to gain. So don’t get discouraged if you don’t see immediate results. Keep practicing, learning, and pushing yourself out of your comfort zone.



So, there you have it, folks – everything you need to know about tacit knowledge! From understanding what it is and why it’s important to learn how to obtain it and practice it daily.

Now, it’s time to put all of this knowledge into action. Whether you’re a business owner looking to improve your team’s skills or an individual looking to enhance your own intuition, use this guide as a starting point for your journey toward greater knowledge and success.

And if you need a little help managing all that newfound knowledge, head over to bit.ai, the ultimate knowledge management platform. Because as the saying goes, “Knowledge is power, but only if it’s organized!”

Further Reads: 

Top Knowledge-Sharing Methods for Enhanced Productivity & Innovation!

Diversity Training in The Workplace: The 6 Types of Training!

What is People Management & What are the Key Components?

15 Impactful Knowledge-Sharing Quotes For Your Team!

Growth Mindset: How to Develop it for Better Future!