Tuesday, 1 October 2019

What it really means when people say "I don't have time for KM"

Very often people will say to you "we don't have the time for Knowledge Management". But what does this really signify?

"We are busy" they might say;  "We have lots of real project tasks to do - we can't take time off for an After Action Review, or a Retrospect or a Community of Practice meeting. That's just another thin to do no top of the day job."

But in fact, it's not a question of time, it's a question of priority. They have time to
  • do their timesheets
  • prepare reports for management
  • attend teambuilding events
  • listen to senior management briefings
  • attend appraisal meetings
  • go to risk workshops
  • go to safety workshops

and none of these are any more "real project tasks" than Knowledge Management.

The difference is that these activities are prioritised. They are treated as priority activities; things that it is valid to spend time on. They are seen as part of the day job. Risk, safety, accounting for time, supporting management, building the team, are all priority activities that are part of doing a good job.

So when I hear people say "we don't have the time for Knowledge Management", I know that this really means "we don't prioritise Knowledge Management" and "we haven't made it part of the day job".

If you meet this rebuttal, you need to work on making KM a priority. Get clear on the business driver, and the core purpose of KM, figure out what its worth, and use that value figure to make the case to management that KM should be a priority. Ask management to cascade this downwards. Get them to ask the two driving questions. Get KM into the job descriptions and appraisal conversations.

If people say they have no time for KM, then work on making KM an organisational priority.

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