Thursday 25 February 2016

The 8-inch culture shift in Knowledge Management

What's the magnitude of the culture change in KM? The answer is 8 inches.

This was the message we got in the mid 90s from Colonel Ed Guthrie of the US Army, who had been instrumental in their massive KM change program. When Colonel Ed talked about culture change, he described it not as an incremental change, but as a leap - a quantum leap across a culture gap - rather like getting an army across a river.

Then he would ask, how wide do you think that gap is?  How wide is the "river"?

He would wait for a few moments, as we all tried to conceptualise what he was asking, and then he would reply ...

"Eight inches. 
The culture gap is 8 inches - the 8 inches between your ears"
 The point he was making, in his memorable way, is that the culture change in Knowledge Management is achieved by changing individual minds, one person at a time. It is about changing individual attitudes, which collectively form a culture.

When you are planning the KM culture change, you need to plan it 8 inches at a time. Every individual in the organisation has to cross that 8-inch gap.

For more advice on how to cross the 8-inch gap - see these blog posts

For help in mapping out the barriers within that 8-inch journey, contact us.

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