Tuesday, 13 June 2017

The most important skill on your KM team

There are many skills needed on your KM team, but one is more important than any of the others.

I have been involved in a few overview visits to Knowledge Management programs recently, and a common factor in all of them has been a missing skill within the Knowledge Management teams themselves.

One team, reporting to the HR function, was staffed with people with HR backgrounds, and as a result was focusing on KM as it relates to succession planning and staff development. Another, reporting to the research department, was staffed by researchers and analysts. All were understaffed, and all lacked members with an operational background.

It is those operational skills that are most important in a KM team.

There is point in having all the HR skills, all the IT skills or all the IM or facilitation or change management skills, if you cannot translate your Knowledge Management message into the operational context of the organisation, and if you have no credibility with the operational staff.  Our 2014 survey of Knowledge Management showed "Operational Skills" as the highest ranked KM team skill (see the graph above).


  • a KM team in a legal firm needs to contain lawyers
  • a KM team in an automotive manufacturer needs to contain engineers
  • a KM team in a financial institution needs to contain financiers and economists
  • a KM team in an Oil Company needs to contain drillers and geologists
  • and so on
The role of these staff on the team is to ensure that the realities of day to day work are brought into the Knowledge Management program, that the language of KM is translated into the language of operations, and that the Knowledge Management Framework will ultimately add value to the knowledge workers.

That's why Operational skills and experience is the most important skillset for your Knowledge Management team

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