Starting your knowledge initiative NOW
I was working as a Business Analyst, IT specialist, Manager, Process Engineer or even Rocket Scientist and my management turned me into a (KM) Knowledge Management Adviser or Consultant, where do I start?
I have heard of KM but I don’t really understand what it means in terms of my business, why do I need to do this?
KM is bullshit and this is just another management fad, no one around here thinks it makes sense and now I am being forced to do some of this “fluffy” work. What do I need to do to basically meet their needs?
What about SharePoint, isn’t this important in KM for me to get started? How am I going to measure my KM?
These are some real questions I hear on KM from people in many different types of business. The key is “perspective” and communication. In many blog posts I have posted there have been two major focus areas (Trust and Communication).
If an organization as a body doesn’t see value or understand the value of trust and communication there will be consistent issues with knowledge management and knowledge transfer. That is it!
Why do we need to identify knowledge management patterns and process?
Information is flowing through your organization regardless of your ability to see it or your feelings about it. Without data, information, knowledge and wisdom there would be no company, no organization and frankly, no you. It is pretty simple right? You are in business to buy, sell, trade, or serve and protect it doesn’t matter you need to know how to do it. It doesn’t matter that there is a bi-modal distribution issue in that baby boomers or older workers are leaving the work force. Regardless of whether older workers are leaving or not organizations need information to act on, the knowledge that information composes and the wisdom to know how, when, why to use it. That is the reason.
It is a Problem
Here is why. More and more and more and more information is being generated and thrown at everyone faster than we as humans can comprehend. Unless you have a google worth of memory and more processing power in your brain than Watson, you aren’t smart enough or good enough to manage all the information thrown at you and your organization without some kind of plan.
How many large organizations can you think of that have failed or have been acquired or destroyed? What organizations are leading in the world now? Why? The largest funeral home service or cemetery service companies in the world will still get business if they don’t do a great job of knowledge management. They are still vulnerable to knowledge loss and productivity loss. Energy companies will be productive as long as they produce energy and health care companies will be productive as long as people are sick. The food industry will be productive because people need to eat and so on and so on. The question is really around if they will be productive and as effective as they have the potential to be. How can KM bring undervalued organizations up to par? How can KM help reduce risk? How can KM help lower time to market on products or speed up training and knowledge transfer?
This isn’t looking at business from the eyes of a six sigma black belt or through a lens of human resources individually. This is about a system of people, process, methods and tools. It is about an ecosystem that is complicated but understandable. It is about tweaking the system in small bits. It is about the outcomes vs individual activities per se.
Do you have time to wait? Will it be something you will get to? Do you need more of a reason or explanation? Do you need to be sold? Do you believe that you don’t know how? It is time to start looking at your organization in terms of people. You need to know who your stakeholders are and where they are and what they do. You need to know the results of their work. You need to know what drives them. This needs to be mapped or linked up to the organization mission, vision, scope and objectives. This is the beginning. What does your organization do? Why? Where are they in the market? Are they in “a market”? How do the people feel? What is the average age of your workers? When are they leaving? Why are they leaving? How do they get information? How do they exchange information? Where do they find their purpose? Are they driven by fear or passion? Start now by asking questions. Start now by talking to leaders in your organization. Ask them questions and understand what drives them. I would never need to sell you on reasons to drink water or eat. I shouldn’t have to sell you on why understanding what knowledge is important to you, where, why, who, how and when.. Without it..