Connect and Collect – the left leg and right leg of KM
The Connect and Collect approaches in KM are like the left leg and the right leg- you need to use both.
We were working with a KM team, who had asked us to come into their organisation and run some Retrospects from major successful bids. They wanted to develop and deploy knowledge of how to bid successfully.
We held a series of Retrospects, and they worked very well. We had some fantastic dialogue within the bid team, and with the internal client, and identified a series of learning points. We found some really good success factors whch should be repeated in future, and whole set of opportunities for improving the bid process, including some things that were really frustrating the bid teams (mostly related to inappropriate company policies) and we communicated these to other projects. Everyone was very enthused by the process.
A few months later the client called, and said “That Retrospect process is rubbish”. That took me aback, as I know from experience that it is a very powerful and robust process, so I asked him why he said this. He replied – “those issues that were frustrating the team when we started, are still there. They have come up again in the latest Retrospects. Nothing has been changed”.
Well – nothing would be changed, if all they did was hold Retrospects. Retrospects are great for identifying team learning, but there needs to be a follow on process to take action on the issue, and for this particular company, those actions needed to be taken at a high level in the organisation. They had not implemented a process or workflow for documenting the lessons addressing the actions, and had no engagement from senior managers in the learning process. Retrospects, like so many KM tools, need to be part of a system, and no tool in isolation will stand in for the system as a whole.
Connect and Collect – Conversation and Content – need to work together. Conversation is where content is born, and content is something to talk about together. Retrospects need to work together with the lesson management system, not in isolation.
Connect and Collect are like the left leg and right leg of KM – there is only so far you can travel using one and not the other.