The fallow fallacy of Knowledge Management
"What is KM and why is it different than what we are already doing?"
I had this conversation yesterday and to some length. As I read this article, I recalled some of the barriers to understanding and communicating that were encountered in this chat. The most difficult concept to convey appropriately to my discussion partner had to do with "the why" of KM - as in "why to do it" - and describe the why in a manner that is different from the answer used to explain the purpose for strategic planning or for leadership development or even for process improvement activities. We finally settled on an answer to "the why" that was rooted in the capability for innovation and being ready for what comes next.
As I've considered some of the lessons Dr. Griffiths has conveyed in his 2013/14 change capability series (you can find the first entry at http://knowcademy.com/2013/12/27/1-core-capability-that-needs-to-be-developed-in-2014/ ) I have found that some improvement on my approach to introducing KM to others is needed.
What I've taken away as a good learning nugget from this last conversation I've had on KM is that, to get the value of KM conversation started in the right direction, it may be best to lead with the topics of Change Management and the Need for Innovation. These concepts and their descriptors seem to have more traction and understanding and can serve as the language gateway to the greater discussion on KM. Most managers I meet have a level of acceptance already about Change as a constant in the organization and that being ready to respond quickly to new challenges is what can set a firm apart from their competitors.
I'll have to try something different and along these lines for my next conversation on KM. Hopefully I'll see the light bulb come on earlier when talking about change and the rest of the discussion will resemble something closer to this....."So we can agree that we need to be ready for change and that new opportunities and challenges can be found in all parts/all levels of the organization. Now wouldn't it be great if everyone in the organization had a common framework or decision-making mindset to use in applying context to new challenges? Yes you say? Well let's talk about some ideas of how to put that together for your firm...."