Friday, 3 February 2017

Talk about knowledge as an asset and other things will follow....

For those of us working in the field of knowledge management (KM), there are many challenges, such as:
  • Senior management don't yet see the value in KM;
  • KM is recognised as being a 'good idea' but there are other priorities right now;
  • Most people don't have the time for KM;
  • There is no budget dedicated to KM;
  • There is nobody for whom KM is a full-time job;
  • KM is seen as a 'technology thing'.
In truth, these 6 challenges are all versions of the same problem - that knowledge is not yet recognised as an asset it itself, to be created, acquired, reviewed, updated, organised, structured, accessed, valued and managed just as we manage everything else.

When people finally see and talk about knowledge as an asset in itself, other things necessarily flow from this recognition.  People get appointed to look after it; processes are developed to use it efficiently; technology is procured to enable it to be shared widely and governance is established to ensure that it supports the organisation's overall strategy.

So, what can we do to help people move from seeing knowledge as 'useful' to 'critical'?

One idea is to listen out for the way people talk about knowledge, without realising that's what they're doing.  And when certain phrases come up, time and again, why not respond like this?
  • "That's a really good idea!"  
    • "Yes, it is - so who's responsible for writing it down and implementing it?"
  • "I'm sure we've been here before..."
    • "Yes, we have - so where are past examples organised and stored?"
  • "Do it how you want - start with a clean sheet of paper."
    • "Really?  Isn't that a waste of time? Haven't we got best practice on this?"
  • "You're on your own on this one, I'm afraid."
    • "Actually, I'm going to speak to the guys who have done this before."
  • "Let's move on - look to the future."
    • "You know what?  Let's discuss what happened here first, and learn from it."
And, for each of these responses, if people look at you like you have three heads, why not start a conversation about knowledge as a thing in itself worth valuing.  If people see that it's knowledge that enables us to make good decisions then maybe they can see that it needs to be looked after and used properly or, 'managed' if you will....

For more advice on how to get people to manage knowledge in your organisation, please contact me direct or via the Knoco website.

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