Implementing Knowledge Management is done one heart and one mind at a time. And each knowledge worker's mind will evaluate their own personal balance - namely whether the WIIFM for KM outweights the personal cost.
To interest people, knowledge management must satisfy the principle of local value. What they get out of it must exceed what they put into it.
This is a very personal equation. People have limited time, limited energy and limited enthusiasm. If they do knowledge management, they must stop doing something else. The value it delivers must exceed the cost that people have to invest, otherwise they will not bother.
So it's a balance. On one side is the personal cost, on the other, the personal benefit.
Personal Costs include the following
- KM takes Time
- KM takes Effort
- KM takes Thought
- KM may require Exposure (exposure of your ignorance, or exposure of your knowledge)
- KM requires Change in the way you work
- If you access useful knowledge, this means your job becomes less risky, as you can access proven solutions
- If you access useful knowledge, this means less stress, as you now know what to do and how to do it
- When KM is culturally embedded, doing KM brings Peer approval
- Sharing Knowledge gives Community approval
- When KM is a management expectation, doing KM brings Management approval
- Outstanding delivery of KM may bring Formal recognition
- KM gives you The chance to be heard
- KM gives you The chance to make a difference
- When KM is seen as part of the job, then doing good KM means Doing a better job
Your job, as culture change agents for knowledge management, is to ensure that the personal balance is weighted in the right direction, for each of these hearts and minds. You therefore have to do two things:
- Make Knowledge Management as simple and easy as you can while still delivering full value
- Make sure that every individual understands, appreciates, and feels the benefit it brings them.