Friday, 3 June 2016

Leaders are knowledge workers too

We often approach leaders and try to sell KM on the benefits it will deliver to their staff, forgetting that leaders are knowledge workers too.


If we think of knowledge workers are "people who make decisions for a living", then managers and leaders are also knowledge workers.

All levels of management make decisions, and often very big decisions, with costly implications. They also need access to the best knowledge they can find, and if your KM program cannot help them they will need to hire in expensive external consultants. 

Each of these management-level knowledge workers needs access to knowledge in order to make the correct decisions and take the correct actions;

  • Project managers making decisions on major (and minor) projects
  • Divisional managers making decisions about market penetration
  • Sales managers deciding how to enter new markets
  • Plant managers deciding how to optimise their plant
  • Senior managers deciding how to set up new business
  • Senior managers making decisions about acquisitions and divestment
  • Technical managers, making decisions about developing organisational capability
and so on

The biggest decisions are made at the highest level, and there the need for knowledge may be greatest and the application of knowledge can yield the best return. That's where some of the thorniest issues can be resolved through the application of Knowledge.  That's where some of your most influential knowledge workers reside.

One of our clients focused their KM applications at senior level, and likened this to "KM removing the thorn from the lion's paw". If you solve the lion's problems, the lion will always be on your side!

Also once your managers understand the value of KM and begin to develop T-shaped management behaviours, these behaviours will spread rapidly to the staff below them, and then the next level down, and so on. It's far easier to drive a pervasive culture change from above than it is from below. 

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