Tuesday 14 March 2017

The "busy trap" in KM

What do you do when people are too busy to implement time-saving activities such as KM?

We know that good KM saves time. But how do you make the time to save the time? This was a conversation I was involved in recently with a client.

This client is very busy. They are short-staffed and work to tight deadlines. They have "no time" for Learning before Doing, and so Do Before Learning.

However much of the busy work they do is wasted, because they lack the knowledge to do it right. As a result, they waste time doing the wrong things, waste time doing things wrong, and waste time reworking everything to get it right.  

Some of the staff we talked to were certain that, with the right access to knowledge, they could do a week's work in 4 and a half days. But right now a week's work takes at least 6 days, and they have no time for KM activity. They are in a "busy trap" -  too busy to take the time to do the KM that will stop them being too busy. 

How do they break out of the trap?

The only way, really, is to take a Piloting strategy.

Find one small part of the business which has a supportive manager and a little bit of headroom to invest in making a change. Introduce KM, change the culture, invest in learning, and demonstrate the time savings that result. Use the results to convinces another manager or two to sponsor a second pilot, and a third, and a fourth. Pretty soon the whole business has changed.

A busy business can't be changed all at once. You have to take an incremental approach, and change it one small area at a time.

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