Friday, July 06, 2007

KM Structure

Having internal resources to put Knowledge Management into place is almost always the biggest issue faced by my client companies. In our current business or economic environment, it is difficult to get the resources you need for project work, let alone staff KM. One part of this puzzle is to ensure KM shows business value and is seen as an impactful, important initiative. In any organization, profit or not-for-profit, there is no substitute for showing measurable value.

Another piece of this issue how we think of Knowledge Management. Is it a discipline or function such as finance or Human Resources? Or is it a transitory discipline which will, eventually, become a way of being or a way of working?

The latter is what we strive for.

I have seen powerful success (and I use the word powerful deliberately) when companies have carefully chosen a group to lead the KM work for the first two years. Yes, they do retain some portion of their day jobs, but portion is the operative word. This group is given the visible support of the leadership team (another key element) and allowed to implement KM pilots, using internal volunteers (and small amount of external help as needed). They do the pilots one at a time, and as the outcomes are created, there is room for honesty about successes, challenges, learnings and so forth. Communication is key and the organization learns from mistakes as well as failures. It is the quality of the effort that is rewarded, not just success.

In this environment it does not take long for others to volunteer to do KM work. As the volunteers emerge, they are trained on the processes which have been created to be replicable and trainable.

This may sound simplistic, but it does have merit. The managing of knowledge of is less about the group designated to do it and more about having the organization pick it up. This helps promote not only cultural uptake but sustainability. No model is wrong, each has pitfalls and positives. This is one which has seen success in the past.

No comments: