Expectation, metrics, rewards, support – the KM Governance quartet
Four elements make up Knowledge Management Governance. Expectations, metrics, rewards and support.
Governance is often the missing element in Knowledge Management, and although it is one of the four legs on the KM table, it is the one that gets least attention. This is partly because governance is not easy, and partly because there is no clear published model for KM governance.
Knowledge Management Expectations.
Different departments can then add to these expectations, and individuals with KM roles will have KM expectations written into their job description (see examples here). Within a project, the expectations are set by the Knowledge Management Plan. Expectations may also be set using the competency framework.
If there are no clear expectations, nobody will know what they should be doing in KM terms.
Knowledge Management Metrics.
If there are no metrics, then nobody will know what people are actually doing in KM.
KM rewards and recognition.
If you are measuring people’s performance against the expectations, then this needs to be linked to rewards and recognition. If people do what they are expected to, this should be reflected in their rewards. If they don’t do what is expected, then there should be a sanction. See these blog posts for a wider discussion of incentives.
If there are no links between metrics and reward/recognition, then nobody will care about the metrics. Particularly important are the sanctions for not doing KM. If people can dodge their expectations and get away with it, then this sends a strong message that the expectations are actually options, and not expectations at all.
Knowledge Management support
It is unfair to set expectations, measure people against them, and then reward people based on these measures, unless you make the expectations achievable in the first place. Therefore you need to set up the systems, the training, the coaching, reference materials and so on, that make it possible for people to meet their expectations.
If there is no support, then you have set up an unfair system which people will resent.