We know that senior level support for Knowledge Management remains the greatest challenge for KM, but once established is by far the greatest enabler. But how do you gain this support?
My Knoco South Africa colleague Ian Corbett uses the matrix shown here to identify areas where KM sponsorship is likely to be forthcoming. This is controlled by two factors;
1. The corporate need for change (either the need for growth, or the need to close a performance gap)
2. The character of the senior manager (whether they are open to help, closed to help)
You can plot your senior stakeholders onto this matrix, and look for those in the green quadrants who are open to improving the business performance, and then start a conversation with them to discuss how better access to better knowledge can either aid the growth or help to close the performance gap.
For those who plot in the orange or red sectors, you can decide whether to continue to work with them in order to change their perception of KM (often a long term struggle), or to wait until either circumstances force them to be more open to help, or the success of their colleagues is demonstrated through the application of Knowledge Management.
We also use these two factors (potential business impact, and the openness of the business sponsor) when we shortlist Knowledge Management pilot project opportunities, in combination with two other factors - the complexity of the pilot project and the ability to scale up the results.
However when it comes to getting senior management buy-in, then you need to look for two things
- A real business need
- A senior sponsor who is open to receiving the help that KM can bring