Being a premier KM organization doesn’t mean that you are THE premier KM organization. What this means is that we must consider bench-marking ourselves vs. ourselves.
I have a friend who just ran an ultramarathon. If you don’t know what an ultramarathon is, it is basically a very long run with common distances of 50 miles to 100 miles and beyond. When I heard he was running 50 miles I thought to myself that he is absolutely amazing. How did he condition himself to be able to perform like this? It is almost super human!
Thinking back a little, my friend and teammate has run the full marathon around 26 miles and of course my wife who has run the half marathon around 13 miles or so.
One evening I got up and proclaimed that I would get up every morning and start running. The next morning, I got up early and I ran almost a mile. I was exhausted and I really did wonder how come I couldn’t just get up and run.
It is said … The modern use of the word “Marathon” dates back to Philippides the dispatch-runner. Bringing the news of Marathon, he found the archons seated, in suspense regarding the issue of the battle. ‘Joy, we win!’ he said, and died upon his message, breathing his last in the word Joy … – Lucian Pro lapsu inter salutandum (translated by F.G. and H.W. Fowler, 1905)
Being able to run the distance in KM…
You aren’t going to wake up at 6:00 am and run 50 miles. No one can do that for you and from an organizational perspective if you try to run 50 miles on Day One you may find yourself in the same position as Philippides.
What you can do is get up at 6:00 am with the expectation of running 1 mile today and 1.2 miles tomorrow. When I learned that I was tired on the first day after almost a mile, I had my baseline that I knew that I could perform as a minimum and I had an idea of where I wanted to be.
It doesn’t matter that my friend could run 50 miles or that my wife could run circles around me at 13 because I know and understand that no matter what I do today it will be at least a few tomorrows before I can catch up.
Organizations today want KM at the 100 mile mark. They have a desire to be the best!
Getting to the 5th mile
When I asked my wife Erin about her running the race, she told me that she doesn’t run for or against anyone but herself. She runs to better herself and not to be better than others. When I look at high performing collaboration teams and organizations that perform outstanding knowledge management, it is very clear that they are performing well because they know themselves well. They are also performing well because they want to better themselves rather than beating someone else. They have a sense of teaming and culture that is pervasive, inclusive, and builds on trust. In a lot of cases, KM works well when people run in packs (We can talk about that another time.).
After running a certain amount of time and miles, some folks start to really commit to this running thing. This commitment means that they could benefit from technology in some way. Maybe get a new pair of shoes from the running store or some new headphones that don’t fall out when you run. The key is that technology helps make you better but does not replace the hard work that you are doing. It is used to augment not replace. If we take this into consideration in KM, some organizations see clarity in a technological approach. That is kind of like saying I want to make it 100 miles as opposed to run 100 miles. There is a difference.
If you want to run 100 miles, you practice every day. You get up and get dressed with intent and vision. You know that you won’t run 100 miles today but you know that you will run 100 miles soon. You will get the technology you need to support your run at the level of capability you are running today.
If you want to make it 100 miles, you buy a car. It will get you there much faster and your performance will appear extraordinary. The only problem is that as a body or organization, you are still only truly capable of running a mile.
If you understand that becoming a premier top tier knowledge management organization is more about the run every day, it will help you set reasonable and realistic organizational goals that are very achievable. You will also benchmark, measure, audit and qualify but all of these will be done to simply test where you are relative to where you want to be in accordance with your vision, goals and objectives.
Good Luck and don’t forget to hydrate..