Successful Knowledge Management Implementation

Does your organization "get" KM?

I was having some off-line discussions related to KM metrics, as well as how to determine which KM initiatives make for the “best” for initial implementation, etc. And somewhere in those discussions we wandered smack into the middle of discussing why it seems that so many initial KM efforts have “problems.” And then at about the same time I received this absolute gem from Hubert Saint-Onge:

“When I was Senior Vice President of Strategic Capability at Clarica, I had to present my business plan on a quarterly basis to the CEO. In addition to knowledge management and learning, my portfolio included strategic planning, internal and external communication, human resources, and corporate branding. In other words, the full basket of intangibles.

The CFO attended these meetings and kept bringing up the measurement question. I was always able to side step the issue. One day, he became more vociferous than usual on the need to measure all this crap — in his words. Luckily, I had many opportunities to practice an answer. I said that I admired his passion for measuring and that I would like to take his lead on this matter. I promised right there that if he would share with me how he was measuring his organization’s finance and actuarial work was adding value to the company, I would right away adopt and apply this framework to the activities I was responsible for.

He looked at me dumb-founded. It had never occurred to him that he should measure what was considered conventional activities in the company: it’s that new so-called ‘crap’ we needed to measure. Isn’t it interesting that we put the onus of measurement on what is new when we have pile upon pile we don’t measure because it is just so. As all of us who have worked on this for decades, measuring the impact of growing intangible assets on the bottom line is no easy feat. It certainly cannot be trivialized because sometimes having wrong answers is worse¬†than having no answer.”

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Knowledge Management & Organizational Change

Organizational Change...and Resistance...Happens.

Whoa. That was my first thought when I read a blog post this morning. It started with receiving a comment from someone about one of my own posts, which lead me to that person’s blog, which in turn lead me to another blog. And that’s where I got the whoa. I’m not even going to point out which blog it was, just don’t think that it is really that worth it. But it does give me enough of a whoa feeling that I’m moved to post a bit about how organizational change impacts knowledge management (or is it how knowledge management impacts organizational change?). But the whoa statement was: “Resistance to change is a myth. There is no such thing.” And that was followed by “Organizations are not machines. Organizations are systems. And there is no resistance in a system.”

Again. Whoa. The bad news is that the author of that blog post is a management consultant. The good news is that at least the author isn’t involved in knowledge management. But clearly the author has a very limited understanding of systems theory, systems thinking, and organizational change.

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