Wednesday, 18 October 2017

"KM is all about change" - up to a point, and then it isn't

Knowledge Management is only a change management exercise, until a certain point is reached. After that, it is about not changing.

It is an accepted fact that introducing KM is all about change.

You are bringing in  new processes, new roles, new technologies and new governance, that will enable, drive and support new ways of working, new behaviours, and new attitudes to knowledge. You are asking people not only to change the way they work, but also they way they think, In particular you are asking them to start to treat knowledge as a collective asset, not a personal asset.

So your KM program has all the trappings of a change management program - a vision, champions, a communication strategy, publicity for the strong perfomers, and so on.

However if you are successful, you come to a point where KM is institutionalised in the organisational frameworks. That's when you need to stop changing.

Once KM is institutionalised, it is easy to take your eye off the ball, and think that the job has been done. However it is all too easy for the organisation to change back, to lose sight of the value KM brings and to start to revert back to how it was. The role of the KM team, once the KM change has been made, is to embed that change so that there will be no reversion.

Now your KM program has all the trappings of an established discipline - a policy, accountabilities, governance, standards, metrics and reporting, sanctions against the people who refuse to do KM, and so on.

And if you are successful with this, then KM can become internalised within the culture for the long term, and thats where the benefits will be greatest.

So Yes, KM is a change program, until it becomes a "don't change back" program.

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