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Warning: Avoid No Budget, Low Budget, Quick-Win, Low Hanging Fruit KM!

Warning: Avoid No Budget, Low Budget, Quick-Win, Low Hanging Fruit KM! | KM Ah Ha | Scoop.it

Dr. Dan:  If you only go after the low hanging fruit, the rest of it will either rot in the tree or fall to the ground and make a nasty mess.  To get to the really good fruit, you need to climb up the tree....and go OUT ON A LIMB.

Gerald King, MKMP, CISSP, MOF's insight:

Additionally, if the only KM funding is for technology, we get stuck in the mode of every KM solution is technological.

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Dan Kirsch's curator insight, October 24, 2013 3:34 PM
I was just today asked to comment on something, regarding the hazards of pursuing a "no budget" Knowledge Management implementation.  My response was to simply say, "don't go there."  And here's why.
First let's just get it out into the open -- one of the ugly truths about how management tends to make decisions in an organization with regard to "quick wins" and "low hanging fruit" -- they don't get funded. You can talk about building support until the cash cows come home, but quick wins/low hanging fruit don't generally become a program or project of record.  With a budget attached.  What does happen is that the "quick win" and "low hanging fruit" teams get an ethusiastic pat on the back from those supporters for a job well done and are then told that they should press onward doing more of the same.  That everyone is happy with the efforts so far.  Do more of it.  For no budget - because clearly a budget wasn't necessary to do what has been accomplished thus far.
The tricky thing is that while there's nothing inherently wrong with going after the quick wins/low hanging fruit, that can only be the first step.  It can't be the only step.  And that's the critical part of this discussion.
When given zero budget, or next to it, for "implementing" KM the tendency is to go forth and "do good things" to try to drum up employee and organizational support for KM.  And when those (low level) "good things" happen, of course everyone wants more.  Only natural....to want more good things that you pay nothing for.  Sure, sign me up!
The point then is that before you embark upon any KM journey, it should be planned.  Meaning that you need to know what the organizational Knowledge Gaps are, and have a plan for what KM activities would be used to close those gaps.  Based upon the big picture organizational strategy.  And have a clear picture of what steps are necessary to move forward in that direction.  And then go do that.
I've often found this bit of advice to be useful when working with those who would want to implement KM:  If you only go after the low hanging fruit, the rest of it will either rot in the tree or fall to the ground and make a nasty mess.  To get to the really good fruit, you need to climb up the tree....and go OUT ON A LIMB.
In implementing KM we don't want "small victories" that a quick win or low hanging fruit represents.  What you want, and need, are initial steps to take as part of a "proof of concept" or pilot program approach.  Those first steps are used to take the KM car for its first organizational test drive to see how it handles on the road.  That's how you would for example, decide which car to purchase.  You wouldn't though apply a test drive concept if you were that day deciding if you even needed a car and were considering the bus as an alternative.  That's not the same decision process and would be a waste of your time.
And if at the moment, there is a lack of support by the organization and its managers for implementing KM (as the reason that you believe that you need to go forward with quick wins and such), then you haven't yet made the sale regarding the benefits of KM from a business case perspective to the organization.  And a basket full of "low hanging fruit" won't change that.  Not today, and not next week.  Because hobbies don't get funded.  Successful business cases do.
So what first must be done is to develop a KM champion -- someone senior in management with whom you take the time to explain what KM is (and is not) and lay out a business case for how KM would benefit the organization (and if you don't know how to make a good business case for "doing" KM, then consider this to be your homework assignment as it is critical to learn to speak that business dialect).  Discuss the big picture strategy, and what a preliminary implementation approach might be, including how you could take those first steps towards achieving those goals (those first steps being the quick wins that prove the concept or serve as the kick-off to the pilot program).  And then come to an understanding of what the next steps would be and incorporate those into an action plan, which can then morph into a KM strategy.  Do that.

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Scooped by Gerald King, MKMP, CISSP, MOF
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Warning: Avoid No Budget, Low Budget, Quick-Win, Low Hanging Fruit KM!

Warning: Avoid No Budget, Low Budget, Quick-Win, Low Hanging Fruit KM! | KM Ah Ha | Scoop.it

Dr. Dan:  If you only go after the low hanging fruit, the rest of it will either rot in the tree or fall to the ground and make a nasty mess.  To get to the really good fruit, you need to climb up the tree....and go OUT ON A LIMB.

Gerald King, MKMP, CISSP, MOF's insight:

Additionally, if the only KM funding is for technology, we get stuck in the mode of every KM solution is technological.

more...
Dan Kirsch's curator insight, October 24, 2013 3:34 PM
I was just today asked to comment on something, regarding the hazards of pursuing a "no budget" Knowledge Management implementation.  My response was to simply say, "don't go there."  And here's why.
First let's just get it out into the open -- one of the ugly truths about how management tends to make decisions in an organization with regard to "quick wins" and "low hanging fruit" -- they don't get funded. You can talk about building support until the cash cows come home, but quick wins/low hanging fruit don't generally become a program or project of record.  With a budget attached.  What does happen is that the "quick win" and "low hanging fruit" teams get an ethusiastic pat on the back from those supporters for a job well done and are then told that they should press onward doing more of the same.  That everyone is happy with the efforts so far.  Do more of it.  For no budget - because clearly a budget wasn't necessary to do what has been accomplished thus far.
The tricky thing is that while there's nothing inherently wrong with going after the quick wins/low hanging fruit, that can only be the first step.  It can't be the only step.  And that's the critical part of this discussion.
When given zero budget, or next to it, for "implementing" KM the tendency is to go forth and "do good things" to try to drum up employee and organizational support for KM.  And when those (low level) "good things" happen, of course everyone wants more.  Only natural....to want more good things that you pay nothing for.  Sure, sign me up!
The point then is that before you embark upon any KM journey, it should be planned.  Meaning that you need to know what the organizational Knowledge Gaps are, and have a plan for what KM activities would be used to close those gaps.  Based upon the big picture organizational strategy.  And have a clear picture of what steps are necessary to move forward in that direction.  And then go do that.
I've often found this bit of advice to be useful when working with those who would want to implement KM:  If you only go after the low hanging fruit, the rest of it will either rot in the tree or fall to the ground and make a nasty mess.  To get to the really good fruit, you need to climb up the tree....and go OUT ON A LIMB.
In implementing KM we don't want "small victories" that a quick win or low hanging fruit represents.  What you want, and need, are initial steps to take as part of a "proof of concept" or pilot program approach.  Those first steps are used to take the KM car for its first organizational test drive to see how it handles on the road.  That's how you would for example, decide which car to purchase.  You wouldn't though apply a test drive concept if you were that day deciding if you even needed a car and were considering the bus as an alternative.  That's not the same decision process and would be a waste of your time.
And if at the moment, there is a lack of support by the organization and its managers for implementing KM (as the reason that you believe that you need to go forward with quick wins and such), then you haven't yet made the sale regarding the benefits of KM from a business case perspective to the organization.  And a basket full of "low hanging fruit" won't change that.  Not today, and not next week.  Because hobbies don't get funded.  Successful business cases do.
So what first must be done is to develop a KM champion -- someone senior in management with whom you take the time to explain what KM is (and is not) and lay out a business case for how KM would benefit the organization (and if you don't know how to make a good business case for "doing" KM, then consider this to be your homework assignment as it is critical to learn to speak that business dialect).  Discuss the big picture strategy, and what a preliminary implementation approach might be, including how you could take those first steps towards achieving those goals (those first steps being the quick wins that prove the concept or serve as the kick-off to the pilot program).  And then come to an understanding of what the next steps would be and incorporate those into an action plan, which can then morph into a KM strategy.  Do that.
Scooped by Gerald King, MKMP, CISSP, MOF
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MC CoE teaches KM at Recruiting Command - Fort Leavenworth Lamp

MC CoE teaches KM at Recruiting Command - Fort Leavenworth Lamp | KM Ah Ha | Scoop.it
MC CoE teaches KM at Recruiting Command Fort Leavenworth Lamp KMRs educate their co-workers and emphasize the importance of sound KM practices, they support the organization's KM initiatives and represent their own staff section's perspective...
Gerald King, MKMP, CISSP, MOF's insight:

KMR is the new doctrinal term for the part time knowledge management folks embedded in functional staffs.  In NETCOM reg 25-70 we call them Content Managers (CM).

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Scooped by Gerald King, MKMP, CISSP, MOF
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Competing for Effective Knowledge Management

Competing for Effective Knowledge Management | KM Ah Ha | Scoop.it

Dr. Dan:  Don't compete, instead understand exactly how KM adds value within your organization.

Gerald King, MKMP, CISSP, MOF's insight:

So true.  However, even when the results are measured the credit often goes not to the KM cell that imrpoved the people, process or tool but to the those who routinely execute the knowledge function.  For example an operations center gets kudos for their new dashboard that was designed, constructed, tested and deployed by KM.

 

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Dan Kirsch's curator insight, October 18, 2013 11:09 AM

I think that if I could sum all of this up in a nutshell, if KM is struggling for lack of connecting with overall business objectives then the answer is to simply connect with overall business objectives.


I know, sounds simple.  But the reality is that you won't be able to cross that bridge UNTIL YOU BUILD IT.  What I'm referring to is one of my often cited rules for ensuring effective KM implementation:  "Be Like BASF."


BASF's slogan was always about not making the whatever, but to do things to make the whatever better, faster, cheaper, etc. etc.  The point is that BASF adds value to that overall value stream.  And that is exactly to the POINT where many KM'ers are still struggling.  They simply have no real sense of how KM adds value.


The issue is that KM doesn't "create" anything within the organization.  If you approach it from that perspective, believing that you create whatever, you're going to be one unhappy camper.  Everything that KM does MUST be about making things better, by adding value to something else.


To clarify let me provide one simple example:  Decision Making.  In study after study related to the benefits seen from implementation of KM what bubbles to the top of the list is improvements to organizational decision making.  Great.  So here's the question that I pose to KM'er or managers alike -- what is your metric for assessing the improvements made to organizational decision making from having implemented KM?


Silence.


And that's because you would be very hard pressed to find an organization that measures that.  The question that NEEDS to be now asked is why?  Specificially, why are managers seemingly unaware of the contribution that knowledge makes to then making the right decision?  And that is your challenge - answer that question and you then build the bridge.


If you want to demonstrate the value added benefit of KM, then you need to measure the ways that KM benefits the organization and its business goals.  And if improved or enhanced decision making is one thing that benefits from KM, from having the right knowledge available to the right people at the right time, then your homework assignment needs to be to determine how you can then measure that specific contribution.  Build that bridge.