Monday 8 October 2012

The manager's role in KM

HP manager Regine Pohl demonstrating the webOS based Touchpad Tablet @ DLD DLDWomen 2011 I was asked a good question the other week. I had explained the roles in Knowledge Management - the role of the project knowledge manager, the subject matter expert, the community facilitator, the lessons admin team. And then they asked me - what's the role of the manager?

I have already blogged about the ideal manager attitude, but what's the ideal manager's role? Some of it is covered in my letter to senior managers, but here's a summary.

  • Managers need to endorse the knowledge management program, and be seen to be giving it their support. 
  • The endorsement extends to providing resources within their part of the business - the knowledge managers, the subject matter experts, the km team. 
  • Managers need to help steer the KM program in their part of the business - to work with the knowledge management implementation team in order to help them understand which knowledge is strategic for the specific business unit or business group, in order that knowledge management activities can fully support the strategic business agenda. 
  • Managers need to lead by example. Knowledge management is not something which will only be done by the junior grades - the managers need to be involved as well. 
  • Managers need to take the lead in their part of the business in setting an expectation for managing knowledge. They need to make it clear what they expect to see 
  • Assuming managers have set expectations as described above, they need to follow up on these expectations. The organisation will be watching closely how senior managers deal with people who shirk their KM responsibilities.
  • Managers need to recognise and reward and wisely, if knowledge management is to survive. It will send a very negative message if senior management reward and recognise the wrong behaviours, such as internal competition or knowledge hoarding 
  • Managers need to provide challenge to the business; to continuously improve in what they do through applying knowledge from others, and to share their knowledge in order to help others to improve. 

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