Thursday, 8 May 2014

How to make your KM program reorganisation-proof

Did you know that the biggest risk to your Knowledge management program is internal reorganisation?

That's one of the early findings from our Knowledge Management survey - a survey of nearly 400 kmers round the world. Some of these people had been in charge of KM programs that had folded, and we wanted to know, in these cases, what the reasons had been for the abandonment of Knowledge Management.

The most common reason was Internal Reorganisation.

The Knowledge manager found themselves reporting to a new boss, a new CEO or new management, who were not supporters of the KM program, and the "plug was pulled".

This sort of reorganisation can happen to any of us at any time. You need to make your KM program reorganisation-proof.

Here's how, in easy steps.

1) From the start make sure your Knowledge Management program is focused on delivering real business needs and objectives. Read this blog post. Get this business-focus into your Knowledge Management strategy, and get the strategy signed off by senior management. 
2) Have some idea of the size of the prize. Value your KM program - find out what it would be worth to the business if all staff had access to the knowledge they needed to make their key decisions. 
3) Conduct some early proof of concept exercises. Prove that KM works in your context, and get early endorsement (ideally on camera) from your business customers. 
4) Conduct some business-led pilots, designed to deliver measurable benefit. Get agreement from senior managers before-hand that if the pilots are successful and add enough value, KM will be endorsed from on high as "required behaviour" 
5) Embed KM roles into the organigram, KM processes into the high-level operational processes, and KM technology into the technology suite. Weave KM so tightly into the fabric of the organisation that it can't be unwoven. 
6) Present KM widely to the external world. Make your company famous for KM. Win a MAKE award. Get into a position where abandoning KM would be an embarrassment.
Do all these, and you will have the argument, the evidence and the momentum to survive any but the most extreme internal reorganisation.

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