Sunday, April 07, 2013

This is not a recipe! What is the process to develop a knowledge management strategy?

I was recently asked to share my personal views on the process to develop a knowledge management strategy with some university students in 5 minutes. I have written up these thoughts so I thought I should post to my blog in case my blog readers are also interested in this topic.

Based on my experience formulating and executing KM strategy in the past 15+ years, here are my thoughts. Please do not take this as a recipe, use it to inform your thinking if it helps. 

Typical process to develop a KM strategy is as follow:

(a) seek senior executive's buy in, especially the CEO, the senior executive in charge of transforming the business model. Confirm the commitment to support the delivery of a KM vision, and recognise there are tons of resistance along the way.

(b) articulate in very simple terms (visually if possible) what KM means to the business. Companies define KM in different ways, from data/information management, collaboration, social business, communities of practice, business intelligence, market research to people development/human capital management. Most companies include a number of these components in the KM strategy. There is no one size fit all KM definition, so it needs to make clear what this KM vision is.

(c) align 100 percent with the business strategy and direction. KM is a means to an end, the end game is where the company wants to head towards. Any KM projects which derive from the KM strategy have to clearly enable the delivery of the business strategy whether it is to increase revenue, improve staff engagement, improve customer service, sales enablement or process improvement.  Work extremely closely with the senior executives who are in charge of these business goals. Show them the possibilities using internal and external use cases to get buy in.

(d) measure the success and report the success along the way. Set KM goals and targets which align with business goals, show the direct connections. this is easier said than done, capture and share stories to highlight early benefits along the way. Make these stories part of the reporting. Celebrate success to create buzz. In all my KM roles, I have collected numerous testimonials from employees to show how KM has benefited them and increase their work productivity.

(e) stay flexible with the KM strategy, business and external market conditions changes very quickly nowadays, stay align with any changing business directives. Be ready to drop certain initiatives and bring in new initiatives as the business needs arise.

(f) don't forget to build the bottom up groundswell. Buld personal engagement with staff of all levels, get to know them in person, understand their pain points and their information needs. Encourage them to participate, seek their feedback along the way, ask them to show others the way. Recognise their contribution. They are critical advocates to make any KM program works, ultimately they allow the top down strategy and the bottom up needs to be met. Most importantly, any KM program's ultimately empower every individual staff to work better (not just the senior executives).

What do you think? Do you share similar views? Are there things that I miss out? Let me know.

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