Thursday, 26 January 2017

What does world-class KM look like?

Since we can always continue to learn from one another I am currently seeking conversations with anyone who would be happy to share how their organisation ‘does’ knowledge management (KM).  In return, I'm willing to offer reciprocal insights into some of the best KM practices we at Knoco have encountered in recent years.

In this spirit of mutual support, I recently caught up with a former Army colleague who now works for a consulting firm and, over a very enjoyable breakfast, he gave an overview of what excellent KM looks and sounds like.
He gave me permission to share his account on the condition of anonymity, so what follows is a simplified version.
He identified 6 distinct features that combine to enable world-class KM, namely:

·        A shared understanding that ‘knowledge’, for the purposes of KM, means ‘know-how’, NOT merely information;

·        A sophisticated knowledge base, wherein users can search for knowledge relating to the current project on which they are working. All content is tagged and can be ‘marked’ by other users according to its helpfulness;

·        An internal ‘people-finder’ tool, where personal profiles include past experience and the knowledge topics in which each person might be considered an expert;

·        A discrete and defined cohort of staff whose job it is to capture, organise, review and update all the firm’s knowledge – if you need to know how to do something in the field of construction in South America, and are unable to find it, they will do it for you;

·        A clear system of accountability, whereby all knowledge products need to be reviewed, approved and given a ‘stamp of approval’ by the firm’s relevant experts in the field;

·        A culture where there is no internal competition, little evidence of hierarchy and a system of compensation under which people are rewarded developing others and for creating and sharing knowledge – silos, tribalism, politicking and the ‘knowledge is power’ concept are simply forbidden.
My former colleague then shared a brief anecdote about his first day in the job: he had been added to a team working on a client project and was expected to brief the client the following day.  Using many of the features described above he produced and presented 15 slides and the client agreed the proposed project the following day.

This wasn’t a KM assessment interview but old habits die he spoke, in my head I was assigning scores (out of 5) to the various components of our KM framework model: 5, 5, 4.5, 5, 5….etc!

It was a real privilege to talk with someone from a company that not only ‘gets it’ with KM but is so clearly an example of how it’s done.

For a conversation about how your organisation manages its knowledge, and then perhaps how it might do it better, please contact me direct or via the Knoco website.

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