The Management Blog
Tips & advice to help you improve your performance
Managers recognise the need to inspire and energise their people to perform at their best and hit their potential. However, if all you’re doing is passing out information or topping up their knowledge with data, how can motivation or inspiration play even a small part in the communication?
Knowledge Management is a key requisite in today’s business world. Without a solid system of managing what knowledge is available to you within the company, you run the risk of losing valuable information, of people hiding behind the security screen that acts as a buffer for their insecurities in sharing information, and of people learning a great deal while with you and then taking it with them elsewhere.
Keep in mind these valuable hints for why you should have a good knowledge management system in place:
1. Quality of information and knowledge
Low quality of information in a company is a demotivator for knowledge and information Management. Finding outdated information or no information at all creates frustration and apathy
2. People are different
People are different in the way they think, feel and act. Knowledge management programmes that do not respect this internal face of individuals are not doomed to fail, but the probability of success is much, much lower.
3. Sharing knowledge
Remember that a knowledge management system is the result of sharing knowledge. It is not the sharing of knowledge in itself.
4 Communicate personal benefit
The foundation of all improvements — hence, changes — for a user is his or her personal benefit. When users do not see a direct or indirect personal benefit, they will not be inclined to contribute to change or put in the extra effort.
5. Promote re-use
Instead of sending out the message to share knowledge, management should promote the re-use of each other’s valuable information and knowledge. In practice, it is the lack of re-use (and related
respect) that limits the results of knowledge management, not the willingness to share knowledge.
6. Retrieve only relevant information
Don’t give reasons for overwhelm. Too much information will be daunting and unappreciated. Your aim should be in retrieving and delivering only that information which is relevant in the context of the moment.
7. Who is the expert among you?
Everybody and nobody. Everybody possesses knowledge, expertise and wisdom. The question and challenge is to identify, match and feed personal knowledge with the knowledge required by the
organisation in order to be successful. Nobody is an expert as long as the personal knowledge is not used and applied for the sake of organisational results.
8. Management by example
Management is an example for its team, department or organisation. So, make sure your words and actions point in the same direction. Many knowledge management initiatives fail because this obvious and simple rule was not respected.
Being the example of how you want people to be is pre-requisite in knowledge management within your company. Assess the value, build the commitment and earn the plaudits from the results.
Gordon Moore made a statement in 1965 that has become known as Moore’s Law. He stated that the number of transistors in a computer chip will double every two years. This law has past into mainstream business, and we now hear writers talking about how our knowledge of everything is doubling every 18-24 months.
This opens up an interesting debate regarding how it affects management development, especially in regard to how we keep ourselves up-to-date with information and technology, as most things we buy and use today are out of date the moment we start using them.
With this increase in speed, we need to ensure we keep abreast or we will certainly be left behind. Eleanor Baldwin stated that “85% of the new work force will be in the four Information Age areas; High Tech, Environmental Organisations, Health-Care Industries and markets that cater for the Elderly”. As managers continue to speculate about the new opportunities, challenges and uncertainties associated with change, then thriving, surviving or even staying relevant will become a major concern for many.
Maintaining your employability will be an ongoing challenge as you prepare for uncertain times. Reflect on these facts…
* Managers are likely to change their jobs several times in their careers
* Technology will create millions of jobs and eliminate even more
* Staff will be more global and flexible in their working practices
* Lifelong learning will be essential
* Training will be delivered ‘on-demand’
* Organisations will pay for the value of the person, not the job
* Projects will take over from jobs as the driving force behind productivity
So what can you do to guarantee your employability in the future…?
* Be up-to-date with technological advances. There is simply no option. You must know what’s going on or you will become obsolete
* Be mobile. If not physically, in your mind. You must adopt a mentality for mobility, as this will allow your expertise and experience to be more marketable
* Continue to develop your people skills. People with high emotional intelligence will always be in demand. You must be able to motivate and get the best out of people
* Embrace change willingly and enthusiastically. Your attitude to change and your willingness to drive it rather than be a victim of it will make you stand out in employers’ eyes
* Commit to lifelong learning. By standing still, you get left behind. This will help you to become more versatile and valuable to employers. Keep listening to positive CDs and MP3s. Download and immerse yourself in positive influences. You’ll learn so much from people who have been there and done that before you
* Become visible in your business. Network. Build relationships with people of influence inside and outside your industry
* Get yourself a coach.All top performers in business have a personal coach, and yours will keep your eye on the goal and keep you motivated to contribute successfully
* Become known as a valuable team player, with strong problem-solving and decision-making skills
* Become someone who creates your future rather than just waiting for it to happen.That’s the only way you can stay valuable to an employer
The cream always rises to the top, so keep yourself in touch with progress and you’ll be the one headhunted in the future rather than hunting for work.
In the past we’ve had several conversations about knowledge and how to manage the knowledge you have within your ogranization. We’ve talked about auditing information, storing information, and even making sure it gets back out to those who need it.
Today I want to talk about what I consider the four fundamental priniciples of knowledge management. They include capturing knowledge, validating knowledge, accessing knowledge, and then scaling that knowledge down. What do I mean?
The idea of capturing knowledge is pretty simple – in theory, anyway. Capturing knowledge is the process by which you determine what knowledge is available and then bring it together into some form of documentation. Knowledge that isn’t documented can’t be shared or used.
After you capture knowledge you have to validate it. Validating knowledge is about ensuring that the information you have is accurate and relevant. It won’t do you any good to have incorrect facts in your database and it’s just as bad to have completely outdated information as well.
After you capture and validate the knowledge within your organisation you have to create a way that makes it easy for everyone to access the pieces they need at any given time. They shouldn’t have to sort through an entire database. It needst to be indexed so that it can be easily found and used.
Scaling information is the process of making the information you have into something usable regardless of the geographic location of your business. If you are part of an international business, for example, your employees in New York City and Tokyo may need to access the same database. An employee in NYC can’t use one method of capturing, validating, and accessing if an employee in Tokyo is doing something different. If that happens, you’ll end up with a database of jumbled information.
How do your knowledge databases look right now. Could they use some improvement?
Now that we’re a bit more familiar with the knowledge management cycle and some of its key factors I’d like to take a few minutes today to discuss the importance of conducting a knowledge audit. A knowledge audit is the process through which you take an inventory of the actual knowledge stored within your organisation and how it is used.
The knowledge audit is incredibly important for a number of reasons. It allows you to identify some of the strengths and weaknesses associated with your organisation’s overall level of progress and method of storage. The following are six signifcant outcomes an audit will provide:
The conduction of a knowledge audit is essential to the success of your business. It is imperative that you keep your resources as up to date as possible so that your potential customers see you as a valuable source of information – and want to do business with you instead of your competition!
The fact that you and your organisation have knowledge to share or use in your day to day operations is one thing. Having a firm grasp on when and how to store that knowledge is another concept altogether. As a manager, it will be your responsibility to determine what knowledge is stored, what is destroyed, and how best to keep it safe.
There are four main factors to consider when it comes to managing knowledge. They include:
By culture we mean the culture of your organisation. Are the people who currently work for you willing to make use of the new knowledge you are sharing with them? Will it be incorporated into your day to day operations or are you trying to incorporate the information too early or too late?
The concept of the old pro refers to your organisation’s seasoned veterans. The people who have worked for you the longest may not be the most up to date when it comes to technology but they are an invaluable source of knowledge and usually know their business better than anyone else. As a manager you must know when and how to take advantage of the knowledge these people have to share.
You should be storing explicit pieces of information, things that you will need in the future, in some sort of archive. The archive can be paper or scanned into some sort of database system. You’ll be glad you have an archive the next time your team is completing a project and needs to rehash some old information.
Finally, you will be responsible for setting up a process by which knowlege is captured and stored in that archive system. The nature of your organisation and its people will have a strong influence on the method you choose to use but no matter what you do it is important to ensure that the information is properly categorized so that it can be easily accessed later on.
Consider these four factors as you prepare the knowledge management plan for your team or organisation. The better organised your efforts the more valuable your collection of information will be as you work towards progressing your business goals.