Wednesday, 30 April 2014

KM behaviours, KM culture

Human behaviour, by Zoe, on Flickr
It is often said that introducing Knowledge Management is an exercise in culture change.

It's often said, because it is true.

The elements of a Knowledge Management Framework - the roles, the processes, the technologies, the governance - are there to support and enable a change in way people think, react, behave and prioritise.

However culture change is not easy, and you can't change a culture until you have changed behaviours. Change the way people behave, and you change the way people think.

Changing behaviours is not easy either, but it can be done. Here's how.

1) You survey the behaviours that currently exist. We recognise 10 different behaviours representative of a KM/Organisational learning culture; you survey these to see which behaviours need the most attention
2) You select a subset of these behaviours to work on. You can't change 10 all at once; you prioritise on 2, 3 or 4.
3) You work with senior management to remove the barriers to the behaviours you are trying to influence; barriers such as inappropriate incentive schemes, or siloed technology.
4) You develop a language to describe these behaviours. You could talk about Knower behaviour and Learning Behaviour if you like. You could talk about Victim behaviour and Player behaviour. You could talk about Red and Blue behaviours. However you do it, you develop a "behaviour vocabulary"for your organisation
5) You then begin to engage people around the organisation in conversations about these behaviours; what causes them, what drives them, how the behaviours can be exhibited, how they can be supported and grown
6) Ask people to be conscious of these behaviours, to recognise them in others and support them, to recognise them in themselves
7) Add these behaviours to any "essential behaviours checklist" you may use during staff appraisal
8) Add these behaviours to any regular staff survey you may conduct
9) Add these behaviours to any 360 degree appraisal applied to managers

Creating the language and creating the conversations creates awareness, and awareness is the first step to change.  Measuring and reporting through surveys and appraisals helps to embed the change. And once the behaviour change is embedded, the culture change will follow


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