January 25, 2011

Dr. Everything'll Be Alright's 12 Step KM Program

"Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to get through this thing called life

Electric word life, it means forever and that's a mighty long time, but I'm here to tell you, there's something else...the afterworld

A world of never ending happiness, you can always see the sun...day or night

So when you call up that shrink in Beverly Hills, you know the one, "Dr. Everything'll Be Alright", instead of asking him how much of your time is left, ask him how much of your mind, baby

Cause in this life, things are much harder than in the afterworld, in this life, you're on your own!

And if the elevator tries to bring you down, go crazy - punch a higher floor!"
I’ve been in a funk the last week and not just because ReRe didn't play in the Aussie Open, Roddick and Isner are out, and V had to retire due to injuries most likely sustained putting on that hot ass mess of a tennis dress (really BabyGirl, really!?!?!).

Anywho, today the universe (via Comcast) conspired to make me feel better. First, season 3 of RuPaul’s Drag Race premiered tonight starring my old college chum (and the first drag queen I ever crushed on) Mimi Imfurst and eternal hottie Vanessa Williams who must get sick of being told how stunning she is every day of her life. Not that I would be the one to ever get tired of lookin' at her or sayin' so. Second, Gossip Girl came back to me after a very cold winter break. Now, as long as the writers stop stabbing my eyes with this whole Blair/Lonely Boy (aka Dumbass Dan) mess I can ride out the remainder of the season blissfully. P.S. What’s up with the One-Life-To-Live-Gossip-Girl-Chicas-Exchange program? Not that I’m complaining; I totally get a kick out of it! Amanda Setton is a hoot, Melissa Gallo needs more work, and Tika Sumpter is truly unappreciated in Llanview.

Prior to all of this TV love, however, my general funkyness (that’s attitude, not B.O.) provided exactly the right creative fuel to pen the 12 Step KM piece to my KM Branding model.
Just to clarify, this isn't KM in 12 steps...if I had that nugget in my tool belt I probably wouldn't have spent the weekend feelin' funky and watching Jersey Shore hoping and praying I get a 'Gorilla Juice Head' t-shirt for my birthday.

No, 12 Step KM revolves around the idea of establishing a support and advocacy group targeting KM staff and champions with the intention of providing:
  • Professional education and development
  • Teambuilding and social support
  • Networking
  • Advocacy for KM and knowledge stewardship to strengthen KM as an organizational function
Initially, I thought about using this approach to target knowledge hoarders and poor sharers, but upon further thought it seemed a bit much for the workplace, especially when there are more direct ways to secure their participation in KM activity. In serving as a support mechanism for KM staff and champions this approach closes the loop on a 360°branding campaign that touches all stakeholders in an organization.

Unlike traditional 12 Step programs that address recovery from addiction, compulsion, or behavioral problems, this approach isn't meant to imply any shortcoming on the part of participants; think more Weight Watchers than AA. The objective here isn't (necessarily) to correct some sort of psychological or managerial issue. Rather, your looking to help folks maintain clarity and focus with KM...which can be very easy to lose sight of in the day-to-day grind.

The 12 Step KM process involves:
  • Admitting that successful, sustainable KM takes time; It won’t happen overnight
  • Recognizing that a strategic approach/mindset is essential to achieving the goals of KM
  • Documenting and measuring KM activities (and maintaining an historical account) is critical to planning for success
  • Strategizing and planning around KM metrics, best practices, and lessons learned
  • Promoting knowledge stewardship and championing the values of KM
The Principles of 12 Step KM
  1. We accept that improving knowledge management is a communal effort and that we are merely facilitators
  2. We fully believe in the promise of KM, that it will improve operational efficiency, promote innovation, and, ultimately, increase market share and profitability
  3. We believe that a strategic approach/mindset is essential to achieving the goals of KM
  4. We will audit knowledge sharing/behaviors, practices and policies thoroughly and evaluate our findings critically
  5. We will develop strategies that honestly and fearlessly reflect organizational needs
  6. We will present an honest accounting of the State of KM to all stakeholders
  7. We will provide sufficient marketing and education on the proposed strategy to key stakeholders to obtain buy-in and support
  8. We will work with key stakeholders to prioritize strategic objectives and pursue them in accordance with a comprehensive project plan
  9. We will routinely assess the demand for KM services and work collaboratively across the organization to achieve KM goals
  10. We will establish and report, regularly, on KM metrics and key performance indicators, as well as lessons learned and action reports
  11. We will commit ourselves to our own professional growth and development
  12. We will actively promote knowledge stewardship, champion the values of KM, and work to strengthen KM as an organizational unit
Whether you're building a team/function/strategy from scratch or pumping new life into something already in motion, 12 Step KM is a fantastic way to provide staff and champions with consistent direction and guidance on KM strategy and values as well as the tools and resources to support them in executing their tasks in the face of organizational roadblocks.

January 19, 2011

Knowledge Mismanaged: 7 Common Mistakes Organizations Make Implementing KM

Well, the weather in the A-T-L is very much improved and I'm looking forward to getting on the court and working out some laziness. Hopefully my muscles haven't atrophied too much in the last few weeks since I'm sure drunken karaoke renditions of Cee Lo’s insta-classic “Fuck You” by me and my crew, Scandalous & The Braintrust doesn't qualify as a workout (which is why I'm learning the choreography for my new favorite jawn, Keri Hilson’s “Pretty Girl Rock” to perform drunkenly during karaoke someplace far far away from Atlanta).

We’re barely two weeks into 2011 and after some interesting interviews, conversations, and networking encounters I've decided that the greatest KM need of 2011 is client-centered education on KM (and what it isn't, wasn't, and ain't never gonna be). To that end I've been hard at work revamping my client presentation and organizing (what I think are) some useful articles/white papers and I thought I'd kick-off my first post of the new year with an excerpt from a piece I'm working on entitled "Knowledge Mismanaged".

Best wishes for an adventurous and auspicious new year to all of you!

Knowledge Mismanaged: 7 Common Mistakes Organizations Make Implementing KM
  1. Having an unclear, poorly conceived, inadequate, or nonexistent vision or scope for KM
    The literature on KM has come a long way over the last 10 years and even a cursory review reveals that KM isn’t IT, unfortunately explaining what KM isn’t doesn’t always help explain what KM is. That understanding is critical to properly scoping and setting expectations for KM initiatives.

    What is knowledge management?
    In a nutshell, knowledge management (KM) is the set of strategies organizations develop to improve how knowledge and information resources are shared (identified, captured, organized, and disseminated) and leveraged. As a field, KM is highly multi-disciplinary, encompassing and drawing upon several business functions, many of which are fully developed in their own right (e.g., IT, Strategy, Marketing, Sales, Customer Relationship Management, etc.).

    Why invest in knowledge management?
    There is no such thing as an organization that isn’t managing knowledge. When organizations express an interest in KM what they are really saying is: “What we’re currently doing isn’t working for us.” A strategic approach to KM is one that, ultimately, focuses on refining and strengthening operational efficiency to target bottom line goals of increased profitability, enhanced and elevated customer/client experience, and improved employee performance and morale.

  2. Failure to conduct a pre-strategy assessment
    As with any strategic initiative, assessing the organization prior to initiative launch/implementation is an important first step in identifying the gap between current-state practices and behaviors and the desired future-state. A KM Audit provides insight into the ways in which knowledge and information are shared, and assists in identifying critical KM needs. In addition to serving as a benchmark for strategic planning the KM audit is a valuable tool for building a list of the skills necessary to drive the KM strategy.

  3. Building a KM strategy around a knowledge management system or application
    Despite the commonly accepted belief (among KM professionals) that KM is not IT (read: having a KM or content management system does not constitute knowledge management) far too many organizations attempt to follow this route to KM success by purchasing a commercial off the shelf application and building a process or strategy around it. Rather than spending valuable time and money bending your organizational needs around a system or tool, take the time, up-front, to identify your needs and then search for the system and/or tools best suited to meet them.

  4. Developing knowledge management systems in a vacuum
    Even when taking a “KM is IT” approach organizations routinely develop their systems, seemingly, in a vacuum failing to obtain sufficient input from assorted users, stakeholders, and usability experts to assess and consider access/usage habits and preferences in order to influence taxonomy schemas and navigational structures.

  5. Retaining the wrong human resources to execute the KM strategy
    Otherwise known as, hiring to the level of your ignorance of KM! All KM needs are not the same and neither are the Knowledge Managers tasked with addressing them. Aside from the strategic plan, having the right people to lead and support the KM initiative is the most critical factor in its success. Cutting a swath through the mountain of potential applicants to identify the best candidates is not only dependent upon compiling a relevant, realistic skill-set but in clarifying the type of KM role – Is this an entry-level, junior, or senior position? Is this role technical or strategic? Is the need for a KM expert or a professional (in another field) with KM experience/exposure?

  6. Not collecting data to measure for success
    Despite the pressure to demonstrate the ROI of knowledge management, organizations often fail to establish clear, relevant metrics and capture the data necessary to present historical trends about both the information systems in use and the behaviors of the KM strategy’s target audience. Such metrics provide invaluable insight into the extent to which the KM initiative is realizing its goals and achieving its mandate.

  7. Lack of organization-wide KM marketing and education
    For some reason organizations seem to think that KM processes, protocols and systems will sell themselves and that the target audience will clamor to get on board the KM-ship. Not so! It’s important to clearly and plainly define what KM means to the organization; sell KM in practical, relevant, digestible chunks, and pursue buy-in at every level.