Thursday 28 November 2013

Making KM non-option - but how?

I posted last week about the need to make Knowledge Management "non-optional" - something you can't get away with Not doing - because, lets face it, who has time for anything at work that is optional?

There was a lot of interest in the post, and a few questions, including this one from Niza Hamza, or Petronas in Malaysia, who asked "hi nick...I totally agree with you...can you share 1 real example how organizations implement that?

Niza, this is for you, and for anyone else who is thinking - "Yes, but how?"

  • First example - Buckman labs.  As the late great Melissie Rumizen said to me “At Buckman Labs, we incentivise knowledge sharing. If you do it, the incentive is that we let you keep your job!” Buckman labs beleives that Knowledge Management (they call it Knowledge Sharing) is key to their survival, and this belief comes from the top down. Employees are expected to take part in the online Communities of Practice, and their participation is noted. If someone has not been participating, they used to get a memo from the CEO - "Dear Associate, you have not been sharing your knowledge. How can I help you to get involved?". And if they continued not to be involved, they would get a memo saying "if you are unwilling to contribute (your knowledge), the many opportunities open to you in the past will no longer be available". 
  • Second example, a company I am working with right now. On every project a technical engineer is seconded into the project, and they are expected as part of their Roles and Responsibilities to report on the technical lessons they are finding, and this is monitored and made part of their performance appraisal.  If they aren't fulfilling their expectations, they don't get a good grade.
  • Third example - another company. Part of their stage-gate process is to demonstrate through the use of Peer Assists) that they have learned from other projects. This is checked as part of the governance process, and if they have not learned, the project does not get approval to proceed.
Your organisation may have other ways to embed KM as something that is "non-optional". 

The key message is this
  1. find out how you embed other parts of the job - how you embed safety behaviours, for example, or Quality, or customer focus, or even financial management
  2. generally this is done through a combination of clear expectations, monitoring and measurement, and performance management (what we call Governance)
  3. treat knowledge management just the same

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