Knowledge Management Awards – brilliant Multimedia example

The link below is to an excellent and high-quality multimedia description of the Knowledge Management Awards 2007 at ConocPhillips, introduced by the Executive Vice President of Exploration and Production, John Lowe

It provides a glimpse into how a mature KM program maintains visibility, and recognises the good KM performers.

https://positivespaceweb.com/wp-content/themes/zerif-lite-child/portfolio/web/conoco/

View Original Source (nickmilton.com) Here.

When writing about KM, ditch the long words

Knowledge Management is a simple concept, let’s explain it in simple words.

llanfair pgSo much of Knowledge Management is about communication; the communication of knowledge, solutions, work-around, tips and hints, the communication of concepts and ideas.

Communication to stakeholders is the main thing we do as part of the change management associated with KM. Knowledge Management can be an alien concept to many people, and we need to be able to explain it to them, That means we may need to translate many of the concepts into simple words.

When this communication takes place through conversation, we tend to use ordinary words, laced with technical terms when needed. But when we write, somehow things don’t seem to be so simple. We set aside the short and simple words,  reach for the fancy phrases and the longest words we know, and we perpetrate polysyllabic obfuscation.

Here’s one I was reading earlier.

“the exploitation of complementary knowledge resources across businesses leads to a significant market- and accounting-based corporate performance effect”.

which means “you can increase profit and market share by re-using knowledge”

And another

“To maintain connectivity and freshness of content within your knowledge ecosystem consider implementing a technology enabled knowledge transfer system”.

I think that what this means is  “You can keep your knowledge up to date if you have the tools to communicate online”

And as much as I admire the work of teh late great Carl Frappaolo, his definition of KM lacks simplicity.

“Knowledge Management (KM) is the leveraging of collective wisdom and experience to expedite responsiveness and innovation”.

I think this means “Knowledge Management is using what we all know, to respond faster and to come up with new ideas”.

I am not sure any of us would say “expedite responsiveness” out lound in a conversation, but somehow it seems OK to write it.  I don’t know why this happens. It probably happens to me as well – when you write you reach for the Long Words bottle, and sprinkle it liberally over the text. I am well aware that I have set myself up here for people to come up with examples of polysyllabic obfuscation from this blog, but I do try and keep things simple myself.

The perpetuation of polysyllabic obfuscation through redundancy and obtuse reiteration is often unnecessarily repeated as a distinct disservice to clarity and brevity.

Instead let’s keep it simple!

View Original Source (nickmilton.com) Here.

20 example KM straplines

What’s your KM strapline?

The creation of a good Knowledge Management Strapline can be a small but important step in the communication program that accompanies Knowledge Management implementation and helps drive the accompanying behaviour and culture change. The strapline is an ever-present message in your KM comms. It’s like the pitch before the elevator pitch.

Here’s a short selection of Knowledge Management straplines from my own collection.

  1. Shell – “Ask, Learn, Share”
  2. Infosys – “Learn once, use anywhere”
  3. BBC – “Live and Learn”
  4. BP – “Learn before, during and after”
  5. Mars – “Know to grow”
  6. KPC – “There’s always a better way”
  7. Bright – “Turning knowledge into cash”
  8. Knoco – “Know-how is our business”
  9. VidenDanmark –  “From knowledge to results”
  10. Medco Energi – “Knowledge works”
  11. Nestle – “From Data, To Information, To Knowledge, To Actions!”
  12. Infoscions – “We help Infoscions make learning a way of life”.
  13. Knowledge Management Post Graduate Centre – “Encouraging serendipity – Connecting People.”
  14. Spirax Sarco – “Little improvements from everyone”
  15. Lots of organisations – “Right knowledge, right people, right time”
  16. Schlumberger – “Apply everywhere what we learn anywhere”
  17. Syngenta – “Yesterday knowledge was Power.. ..Today sharing knowledge is Powerful”
  18. Fluor – “Make the best decision – every time”
  19. Petroleum Development Oman – “Connect, Collaborate, Succeed”
  20. Public Buildings Service – “Faster Answers, Better Projects, Happier Customers”
Do you know of any others that have been used by organisations? If so, please share them in the Comments sections.

View Original Source (nickmilton.com) Here.

How Fluor raise the profile of KM – "Knowvember"

Fluor, the construction company, use the month of Knowvember” as an opportunity to publicise KM internally.

Fluor are an international engineering and construction company, who have been applying a Knowledge management approach, based primarily on Communities of Practice, for nearly 20 years. And with a long-running program such as this, it is easy for people to start to forget about KM, or take it for granted. Fluor have a powerful approach for keeping KM live in the corporate consciousness, described in a 2011 blog from Jeff Hester entitled “Successful KM storytelling“.

Welcome to Knowvember.

Knowvember is an annual collection and celebration of KM success stories. It is a time when the Fluor offices sprout posters describing KM successes, chosen from submissions over the previous year. 
Each story has been collected – either informally and formally – from the various communities of practice and describes an example where knowledge was sought and shared, and where value was delivered to the organisation or to a client as a result. The stories come with pictures and quotes.

Then every year during the month of Knowvember the KM team reviews the stories shared over the past 12 months, and select a list of finalists. These are presented to a panel of C-level executives that select the winning stories. Jeff describes how “in 2010 we collected roughly 300 stories, culled this down to 20 finalists, from which the executives selected six winners. If your success story is selected as a winner, you get to select a local charitable organization to which a $500 donation is made in your name.”

Although these stories are collected and publicised through the year, the annual one-month focus brings KM to the fore. As Jeff says

“During the final judging for the annual contest, the exposure these stories and the people involved get at a very high level of the organization serves two purposes: 

  • it provides recognition to folks who are often from far flung offices, and 
  • it reminds our executives of some very concrete ways KM strengthens and improves our company. 

And we’ve found that these stories provide the most tangible measure of the value of knowledge management — much more than the number of clicks and downloads”.

Try a similar communication campaign at your organisation, focused on value stories. I could help keep alive and fresh the perception of KM as a value-delivery tool.

View Original Source (nickmilton.com) Here.

"You are obligated to ask" – Elon Musk’s email

Even in the most progressive organisations, sometimes the boss needs to drive a “culture of asking.” Here is how Elon Musk did it.

Image from wikimedia commons

Musk’s email is quoted here, and seems to have been sent in response to a dissatisfaction with default communication and knowledge sharing habits at Tesla.

There are 6 things I want to point out regarding this email, which I have highlighted in the text of the email

below.

  1. Musk is setting the expectation for lateral communication and knowledge flow, rather than the vertical communication seen in many other organisations (which I describe as knowledge hedge-hopping).
  2. He makes his expectation very clear, and backs it up by spelling out the consequences (“Any manager who allows this to happen, let alone encourages it, will soon find themselves working at another company”).
  3. He places this expectation in the context of problem-solving and asking for help (“Anyone at Tesla can and should email/talk to anyone else according to what they think is the fastest way to solve a problem for the benefit of the whole company”). Musk is looking to drive a culture of “open asking”.
  4. He makes this expectation very eplicit. It is not a request, it is an obligation.
  5. He separates out this behaviour of problem-driven asking from “random chit-chat”, and sees it as key to competitiveness.
  6. He recognises that the default “hedge-hopper KM” behaviour is driven by a natural human tendencies which needs to be “fought” in support of the corporate good.
Here is the email quoted in the link above (the text in bold below was highlighted by me, not by Elon Musk)

Subject: Communication Within Tesla 

There are two schools of thought about how information should flow within companies. By far the most common way is chain of command, which means that you always flow communication through your manager. The problem with this approach is that, while it serves to enhance the power of the manager, it fails to serve the company. 

Instead of a problem getting solved quickly, where a person in one dept talks to a person in another dept and makes the right thing happen, people are forced to talk to their manager who talks to their manager who talks to the manager in the other dept who talks to someone on his team. Then the info has to flow back the other way again. This is incredibly dumb. Any manager who allows this to happen, let alone encourages it, will soon find themselves working at another company. No kidding. 

Anyone at Tesla can and should email/talk to anyone else according to what they think is the fastest way to solve a problem for the benefit of the whole company. You can talk to your manager’s manager without his permission, you can talk directly to a VP in another dept, you can talk to me, you can talk to anyone without anyone else’s permission. Moreover, you should consider yourself obligated to do so until the right thing happens. The point here is not random chitchat, but rather ensuring that we execute ultra-fast and well. We obviously cannot compete with the big car companies in size, so we must do so with intelligence and agility. 

One final point is that managers should work hard to ensure that they are not creating silos within the company that create an us vs. them mentality or impede communication in any way. This is unfortunately a natural tendency and needs to be actively fought. How can it possibly help Tesla for depts to erect barriers between themselves or see their success as relative within the company instead of collective? We are all in the same boat. Always view yourself as working for the good of the company and never your dept. 

Thanks, Elon

View Original Source (nickmilton.com) Here.

10 lessons on communicating Knowledge Management

Introducing Knowledge Management is a program of culture change, and Communication is a lever in supporting change. However communication does not always go well, as these ten lessons show.

Image from wikimedia commons

For all the major Knowledge Management implementations we have been involved with, we try and hold a lesson capture review at the end, to learn from the successes and challenges. Here’s what Knowledge Managers from the past have said on the topic of communication. You can see they didn’t always get it right! (NB each quote is from a different knowledge manager)

“We should have allocated always in our plan, an element of communication process. Even when push came to shove, we should have fought for that just like we fought for some of the other things that were close to our hearts and our commitment”.

“The message that we have been giving has been an honest one. We have told people but we are aiming to do something, although we haven’t told them what it’s going to look like to after the summer, because we don’t honestly know ourselves. If we had gone and said “we are going to do this, this and this” then they might have asked a lot more questions”.

“We should have implemented a communication strategy, to define all the different ways of communicating, what the medium would be, what the target audience would be, what the message would have to be”.

“Compared to some that we have seen, our communication is very much better. (Program X) for example are putting a lot of effort in, but they are not telling anybody anything. We took the opposite tack, and decided to tell people that something was coming. When they ask questions, we say “we do not yet know the details””.

“Maybe what we could have done with the benefit of hindsight is have that communication strategy right from the start instead of inventing it three quarters of the way through”.

“Make it someone’s accountability. To form a strategy and to keep revisiting that strategy. Don’t let it fall below the water line”.

“We developed a bulletin for people who self-select to stay in touch with things. There are 1000 or 1200 people in the organization who have an interest in what we are doing. Every month we send an e-mail to all the new joiners, and say “Do you know that people are sharing their trade secrets on the intranet all across the company? would you like to be kept in touch with this?” And every time we have a workshop with a group of people, we add them on, and every time we do some consultancy or just meet people we ask them if they would like to subscribe. We send it out once a month by e-mail. It is quite colorful, it is not just plain text, we put colored text in it, we have four bulleted items, and there’s a link to one thing on the Live and Learn site and then two other things on the intranet which have been published, and we advertise our workshops”.

“We could easily have doubled or trebled the level of communications that we were doing, if we had had the manpower”.

“For future KM programs, you must have committed SPOCs from the business, you must have committed support from the relevant directors committed, you must have a governance board with clear roles and responsibilities, and you must have a communication plan”. 

“Communication of the KM programme was linked to the approval and to sponsorship. Without the support from above we did not have the mandate to do a big communication campaign, and needed to adopt a bottom up approach for the communication. We could not run a real roadshow, but had to work though low level small communication; communication for information rather than communication for action. This bottom up approach resulted in a progression style of “two steps forward and one step back” for the KM programme”. 

View Original Source (nickmilton.com) Here.

How to use external communications to market KM internally

Your KM communication plan should include external communication, primarily as a way to market internally.

Image from wikimedia commons

Knowledge Management implementation requires a communication strategy and plan, to help the stakeholders climb the ladder of engagement. One particularly useful strategy is to communicate your KM successes to the outside world, so that the messages can trickle back in.

Often you will have to deal with many cynics on the organisation, who like to treat KM as a fad, a  piece of nonsense, something they can ignore and it will go away. However once these people start to hear messages coming in from the outside, such as “Hey, I hear you guys are really good at Knowledge Management!”, this begins to create cognitive dissonance.

Cognitive dissonance is the observation (based on the work of festinger in the 1950s) that we hold many “cognitions” (views or opinions) about the world and ourselves; when they clash, a discrepancy is evoked, resulting in a state of tension known as cognitive dissonance. As the experience of dissonance is unpleasant, we are motivated to reduce or eliminate it, and achieve consonance.

Sometimes people reduce the tension of dissonance by explaining away the unpleasant “new truths”. Sometimes they alter their views to adapt to the new truths.

So our cynic thinks “Hang on, I know KM is just a fad, but here is somone saying we are admired for it. What’s going on?”  And he or she may start to shift their perception. “Perhaps KM is a useful fad? Perhaps OUR brand of KM is less faddish?”.  At the very least, you are setting up a tension of beliefs, and at the best, the cynics mind may begin to shift.

Here’s a quote from a Knowledge Manager who has used this technique.

 “As a company, we tend to learn more from people outside the company than from inside so we were deliberately trying to create an external reputation for KM that would come back into our company”

Once you have your first few Knowledge Management successes, start to broadcast them externally; not so much to build up your own reputation, but to create stories which will filter back into your organisation and help you with your change program.

View Original Source Here.

What knowledge managers wish they had done to communicate KM better

Communication is key to KM. How could we do it better? Here’s what Knowledge managers say.

KM is a change program, and communication is a lever in delivering change. Every Knowledge Management implementation needs a communication strategy.

For all the KM implementations we have been involved with, we try and hold a learning review at the end, to learn from the successes and challenges. At these reviews, the knowledge managers within the organisations share their learnings with us.

Here’s what they have to say on the topic of communication. You can see they didn’t always get it right! (NB each quote is from a different knowledge manager)

“We should have allocated always in our plan, an element of communication process. Even when push came to shove, we should have fought for that just like we fought for some of the other things that were close to our hearts and our commitment”.

“We should have implemented a communication strategy, to define all the different ways of communicating, what the medium would be, what the target audience would be, what the message would have to be”.

“Compared to some that we have seen, our communication is very much better. (Program X) for example are putting a lot of effort in, but they are not telling anybody anything. We took the opposite tack, and decided to tell people that something was coming. When they ask questions, we say “we do not yet know the details””.

“Maybe what we could have done with the benefit of hindsight is have that communication strategy right from the start instead of inventing it three quarters of the way through”.

“Make it someones accountability. To form a strategy and to keep revisiting that strategy. Don’t let it fall below the water line”.

“We developed a bulletin for people who self-select to stay in touch with things. There are 1000 or 1200 people in the organisation who have an interest in what we are doing. Every month we send an e-mail to all the new joiners, and say “Do you know that people are sharing their trade secrets on the intranet all across the company? would you like to be kept in touch with this?” And every time we have a workshop with a group of people, we add them on, and every time we do some consultancy or just meet people we ask them if they would like to subscribe. We send it out once a month by e-mail. It is quite colourful, it is not just plain text, we put coloured text in it, we have four bulleted items, and there’s a link to one thing on the KM site and then two other things on the intranet which have been published, and we advertise our workshops”.

“We could easily have doubled or trembled the level of communications that we were doing, if we had had the manpower”.

There is a consistent message here. Every one of these knowledge managers realises the importance of communication, and most of them wish they had dome more of it. 

View Original Source Here.

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