Competing for effective Knowledge Management

#KM has been  under fire for not been able to click with overall business objectives. This lack of understanding between KM and the organization derives in a handful of actions that target “routinary” knowledge. In order to avoid this misconception KM need to speak the business jargon. This means that #kmers must get down to the trench lines and start analyzing the business environment in order to understand current and future business trends.

Organizations look for business partners. KM investment is not cheap and if it´s unable to rapidly demonstrate hard results I suggest to change course and take immediate actions in order to avoid a further pitfall. We need KM to become the business partner organizations are looking for.

Aligning KM with business objectives is not tough. All it takes is perspective and understanding of the business model.

First step: #kmers must sit down with business line managers in order to discuss current business issues, problems, market trends, partners, competitors, etc. They must explore the differences in competing for the present versus competing for the future. This analysis should rapidly translate into a SWOT analysis where you can easily identify critical knowledge.

The concept of critical knowledge is important. KM actions must focus on developing critical knowledge which is considered as the supreme source of competitive advantage. It’s what the business needs in order to shape its present and future.

Second step: Once critical knowledge is identified KMers will need to go back to the managers in order to establish a plan to reduce the critical knowledge gap. This actions must form part of the business units overall objectives and the business line manager must be held accountable for the success of the actions.

History shows that #kmers are facilitators.  They are not resource owners and cannot simply take actions for themselves. It´s like a marriage which needs to be cultivated from the ground up. Confidence is essential otherwise business line managers will be reluctant to designate hours in order for FET´s to fulfill KM tasks. That´s why they need to get involved from scratch and once they feel that the #kmer is indeed a “business partner” KM will start to flourish without hazards.

In my company, critical knowledge identification is a sustainable practice which is realized every year. The results do not just help the business line managers to gain a better vision of what they need to get done. The results are also used by our CEO in order to structure the annual business objectives.  In fact the critical knowledge analysis is conducted in an open meeting with the CEO where each business line manager explains the findings of the study.

So if you haven’t engaged the business leaders, its time to get started. KM is an organizational wide strategy which requires senior leadership in order to grow.

Third step: Communicate organizational values and create the KM brand.

Although KM seems to shifting towards a new era where social networks are becoming a prime catalyst for knowledge generation we can´t forget people. KM will still require a large scale culture strategy in order to support organizational learning and knowledge sharing.  We need to start looking at KM as if it were a new product that’s about to come out in the market. Gen Y (the new face of the work population) love to hear what’s good about a brand and how it will shape their lives. How did Apple find a place in the heart of millennials? Why does somebody choose an iPhone over a galaxy? Put yourself in the shoes of any person in your organization and ask yourself what would actually make you want to be part of KM?  It helps if you develop a KM communication strategy throughout the year. Make sure people understand the KM model and how they can benefit from it.   

In order to sum up, you need to start working on three basic things in order to develop a value orientated KM strategy:

Focus on critical knowledge

Become the business partner that managers require

Communicate value.

Remember: KM must inspire in order to gain sincere commitment from everyone in the organization. Learn the business jargon and forget about KM theory for a moment. Make sure that your KM program is correctly aligned with business objectives since this type of strategy outperforms KM programs that dwell on routinary knowledge. 

4 responses to “Competing for effective Knowledge Management

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  2. Great article and comments. Let’s talk about “Creating Value from Knowledge”….I would add that if you are trying to sell “KM” to the operational or working level, that will not likely resonate with those folks that are responsible for delivering the mission or business outcomes. However, if you are helping the operational or working level solve a business or operational problem or make better decisions where the ability to quickly capture and reuse knowledge )more at: http://www.workingknowledge-csp.com/content/creating-value-knowledge) cam make a measurable difference in the outcome, you are more likely to get their attention and interest–you are answering the WIIFM for them!

    I would also suggest that “KM doesn’t have to be expensive nor does it have to take a long time” if you are understand the culture and dynamics of the workforce and its leadership…a part of the discussion often left out. There is much analysis and engagement before you even begin the conversation (more at: http://www.workingknowledge-csp.com/content/csp-model).

    I know this to be true because it’s how I work with organizations and help them to deliver the KM results they desire.

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