Friday, November 21, 2008

Characteristics of a KM Change Agent

Jim Markowsky posted results of a survey he did using the social networking site LinkedIn. Jim surveyed the audience of various LinkedIn groups, asking for the top 10 characteristics of an organizational change agent. I found reviewing the survey results to be quite interesting and it made me consider how these characteristics might change if we focused on KM change agents.

Two characteristics not mentioned here which I believe crucial for KM change agents are trust and respect of their colleagues and leaders. I am surprised they did not show up here but I think it is well worth a bit of discussion.

Trust, as I consider it, has 3 attributes:
1. Sincerity-- knowing the person means what they say or promise. 2. Competency--knowing the person can do what they say or promise. 3. Reliability-- witnessed over time, you know the person does what they say or promise. Those whom you trust you often also respect.

As we continue in a time of uncertainty, trust becomes more and more important. As individuals or as leaders, we must never underestimate the value or impact of having or holding trust. If we want to bring forward the knowledge critical to organizational sustainability and success, trust is the ultimate enabler.

Posting of Survey Results (Organizational Change Network on LinkedIn): What are the Top 10 Characteristics of an Organizational Change Agent?
Survey Results: Based on a 1 - 10 rating scale, 10 being highest.

Average score:
1. Skilled Communicator 7.13 / 10
2. Emotionally Intelligent 6.45 / 10
3. Strong Leader 5.92 / 10
4. Excellent Problem Solver 5.81 / 10
5. Persuasive 5.41 / 10
6. Courageous 5.22 / 10
7. Strong Analytical Skills 5.04 / 10
8. Effective Educator 5.03 / 10
9. Flexible 4.79 / 10
10. Accomplished Project Manager 4.23 / 10
Survey Participants: There were 159 global participants in the survey. The survey was posted on the following Discussion Boards: Organizational Change Network, Network of Organizational Change Managers, Innovative Leadership & Change Management Expert Innovators Network, Change Agents, SAP/ERP Training & Change Practitioners, Organizational Change Practitioners, Organization Development Network, Change Consulting. Survey close date: October 30, 2008. Survey conducted by: Jim Markowsky, X-Factor Business Solutions

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The challenge and payoff of managing knowledge

It never fails. About 3 times a week, sometimes more often, I am reminded that knowledge management (like personal growth) is not for the faint of heart. It is not easy. Occasionally (though not often) it is not fun. But it is almost always worthwhile, if we keep an eye toward the goal of building trust, collaboration, communication and respectfully sharing critical knowledge.

Even with good intentions, the work can be challenging. Just recently, I was asked to speak to a potential client who was well aware of the need in his organization to retain and transfer deeply held knowledge from those about to transition out of the organization. He knew there was business risk when that knowledge was no longer available, knew he may lose customers as new employees took over long standing accounts. He knew his business operations were not as well codified and understood as they needed to be to sustain success. He could look me in the eye and point out why he needed to use knowledge management.

Yet, he wanted one silver bullet, one answer quick and easy to solve the fact that he and the leadership team had not developed a culture of trust, had not role modeled collaboration and had rewarded heroism and individual contributions over collaboration and communication.

He was upset that I could not provide a 2 month answer to a problem it took 20 years to create. I could not, would not, lie to him.

I will not support the short sighted view of business I witness so often in today's environment. Managing knowledge, even the deeply held tacit kind, can be done in a timely, well considered, organized fashion but it will still take effort, time and patience. Knowledge is accumulated over time, through decisions made well and those not made well resulting in learning. Anything accumulated over time is worth taking some time and effort to sift through and pass on.

No, KM is not for the faint of heart. However for those who put their heart in their work, in their organizations and want to see sustained success, satisfied employees and returning customers, the challenge is well worth the pay off. I have participated in and witnessed that payoff many times and it is always worth the time it took to make it happen.

A new blog for you to review. kindness and excellence. Great topics and a well done blog:

Saturday, November 15, 2008

knowledge sharing on the deepest level

We all know the importance of sharing knowledge in our organizations. How do we do that on a personal level? Do we do that on a personal level?
I had the wonderful opportunity this weekend to share knowledge with 4 of the most brilliant women I know in beautiful San Carlos, CA.
Sharing knowledge on the deepest levels is not for the faint of heart. You need to listen carefully, share openly, and consider what you hear mindfully. But what an incredible experience.

As you are each learning to share knowledge in your companies, your organizations or communities, I suggest you begin at home. Learn to share deeply with your friends (trusted friends) and you will experience first hand the benefits, the fear and the joy of truly sharing what you have learned respectfully.