Knowledge Managers know how to use KM tools, how to ask others for help, who should be connected to whom, who would benefit from a piece of information, and how to persuade others to use information effectively. They should subscribe to many information sources, belong to many communities, and read many publications — always looking out for what may be useful to others in the organization.
All good managers should do these things, but they may not know how to best do so. Therefore, Knowledge Managers participating in a KM program can support functional managers in all of these activities. Good Knowledge Managers regularly inform their management colleagues about an article, book, presentation, or conference call relevant to their areas of responsibility. These colleagues can subscribe to the same sources and join the same communities; even if they don’t, they will appreciate being selectively alerted when content applies to them.
All knowledge workers in the organization should view sharing, innovating, reuse, collaborating, and learning as part of their jobs. But as Malcolm Gladwell wrote, not everyone is a connector, maven, or salesman. So, those who play these roles, and especially those who combine several of them, can function as power knowledge workers, facilitating knowledge flow throughout the organization.
What to look for in KM team members
Good Knowledge Managers have worked in many different roles, so they have experienced employee needs first-hand. They know about the organization, including who does what, where to find information, and the ways to get things done. Within the organization, they are active in communities, subscribe to newsletters, attend seminars and conference calls, and visit websites. Outside, they attend seminars and conferences, read books, subscribe to periodicals, visit blogs and websites, and participate in online communities.
Knowledge Managers look for unmet knowledge-related needs, and try to develop ways to meet them using people, process, or technology. They like to help others who are looking for information, trying to figure out how to use tools, or seeking to connect with others. They introduce people to one another, invite them to join communities, and pass along items of interest.
The profile of a good knowledge manager can be found in Effective Knowledge Managers — Do You Recognize These Traits?
If you’d like to read more on this topic, please consider my book published by Lucidea Press, Proven Practices for Promoting a Knowledge Management Program, which offers a broad range of advice and insights drawn from my career as a KM practitioner.