Concepts and processes that enhance productivity are often found informal places and in keepers of the culture. For example, we all know that each business has a well defined organizational structure, with boxes and lines delineating who reports to who (whom?). But we also know that there is an informal power structure as well that is not reflected in the boxes and lines, and people in certain positions can have much more power than the chart implies.
The same is true about getting things done. Is it better to create sidewalks where the builders expect the traffic to flow, or to watch the traffic flow, then build the sidewalks where the patterns emerge?
Hidden in the dusty corners of your business is a person, let's call her Marge. Every business has a Marge, in fact most business functions have a Marge. Marge is the keeper of the "How Do I" list. She knows the best way to accomplish many tasks, and knows why these approaches are correct. When a new employee joins your firm, if she manages to meet Marge, she will quickly learn about the informal power structure and how to get things done. The good news about these informal processes and knowledge databases is that we finally have the tools to capture and share them. Now, we aren't talking about Short Cuts, but about the most effective methods to obtaining information about the culture that may not be readily apparent.
I've written about WiKis before, but I can hardly think of a better use for them than the underground knowledge about how to get things done that exists in any business. If we can capture the knowledge that Marge has and publish it in a Wiki for more people to share, we'll all be more effective. If a website can have a Frequently Asked Questions, why can't a business process or a work team?
When I first started working with the Getting Things Done methodology, rather than create files I created piles. Then, over a period of several weeks I reorganized the piles and used those piles to create my folders. There were patterns and logic in the piles that I might not have captured at first, and that became evident with a little contemplation.
What's my point? There are informal knowledge sources and "experts" in doing business in your business. Capture their knowledge and expertise and publish it to the workteam or division, so that everyone can become more productive.