How to get management to back KM, Web 2.0 and New Media, Survey Instruments, Top 10 KM Books

02-Jul-07 Archive of Weekly KM Blog by Stan Garfield

KM Question of the Week

Q: I’m going to be given the opportunity to present my KM plan/ideas/advice to our top directors and leaders, and I’m not sure what exactly I should be presenting, the format, and the questions I should ask them as our leaders. Since we hardly ever get management to back KM, I really want to show them the value of implementing and engaging in it, since this opportunity almost never occurs.

A: Choose three challenges and opportunities that are directly addressed by KM people, process, and technology components. These should relate to sharing, innovating, reusing, collaborating, and learning.

How to choose? You can ask others what they think, you can use your own experience, you can ask the leaders for their views, and you can conduct an opportunities survey.

Present your findings from using these methods. Suggest creating an advisory council of people selected to represent the different subsets of the work force (location, business, function, role, age, etc.) to provide suggestions and feedback and to serve as a test group for pilots.

To get management to back KM, use the following approach from The 10 Commitments: Securing Executive Support for a Knowledge Management Program.

You need to get the top leader of your organization to sponsor the program you intend to launch. The best way to do this is to create a springboard story to motivate the leadership team, using narrative to ignite action and implement your new ideas.

Look for a successful case of sharing, innovating, reusing, collaborating, or learning that can serve as a good example of what should become institutionalized. Start by looking within your organization, then to other organizations within your enterprise, and finally to other enterprises. What you need is a simple example of how a KM principle was successfully applied to one of the three challenges or opportunities you chose.

Tell this springboard story to the senior executive and the leadership team. If you get a positive response, then present a brief summary of your KM plan to prove that you have done your homework and are prepared to proceed upon approval. If you don’t get a positive response, you will need to revisit the earlier steps. Return with a more compelling list of challenges and opportunities and a better springboard story.

Gain the sponsorship of your senior executive through The 10 Commitments. These commitments from the leader of your organization will enable the KM strategy to be implemented.

Ask the senior executive to agree to the following 10 Commitments.

  1. Approve a reasonable budget for people and other KM expenses. You will need money and staff to launch and run the program.
  2. Ensure that all KM leaders have the time to do a good job in the role and are allowed to meet in person once a year. The KM team will need assurances that they will be allowed the time they need and the ability to get together to build trust.
  3. Learn how to give a KM program overview presentation. If the senior executive is familiar with the details of the program, this will underline its importance.
  4. Learn how to use KM tools and use them to lead by example. To offer more than lip service in support of the program, show everyone how easy it is to actually use the processes and technology.
  5. Communicate regularly about how the organization is doing in KM. It should be on the agenda for all meetings, con calls, and webcasts.
  6. Provide time during leadership team meetings and employee communication events for KM messages. The other leaders need to be reminded regularly of the importance of KM in achieving the organization’s goals.
  7. Ensure that KM goals are really set for all employees, and are enforced. It’s not sufficient to communicate goals in a high-level message. They need to actually be assigned, monitored, and achieved.
  8. Inspect compliance to KM goals with the same fervor as for other key performance indicators. If KM indicators are reviewed along with the usual business metrics, it will be clear that they are just as important.
  9. Reward employees who learn, share, reuse, collaborate, and innovate. Rewarding desired behaviors provides positive reinforcement, offers motivation, and communicates to everyone how such behaviors are valued.
  10. Ensure that time is allowed for sharing, innovating, reusing, collaborating, and learning. Part of establishing a knowledge sharing culture is allowing time for the necessary activities.

KM Blog of the Week

New Comm Biz — New media strategies for business by Tac Anderson

Web 2.0 and New Media Definitions

There is a lot of confusion around the definitions of Web 2.0 vs. New Media. You will hear a lot of people use them interchangeably.

Web 2.0 is the technology. This includes things like: AJAX, Blogs, Wikis, podcasts, RSS, widgets and tagging.

New Media is the philosophy. This is the new approach to how we communicate with each other. This is what makes things like social communities so powerful.

It’s the combination of these two factors at the same time that have created the change that we are experiencing. One without the other is not as powerful.

KM Link of the Week

Survey Instruments in IS (link provided by Suzanne Zyngier)

The goal of Survey Instruments in Information Systems (IS) repository is to provide researchers with actual survey instruments used in IS — either in full text or via links to the appropriate citations. By “surveys” we mean questionnaires administered in person, by mail, over the World Wide Web, and in other formats. Structured interviews are also included within this framework. Simply stated we are trying to help researchers measure constructs in IS by providing pointers to quantitatively-oriented instruments.

As a significant part of research in IS is done with survey instruments, the IS research community will benefit from an easily accessible source of information about survey methods and especially from a repository of instruments. Our objective is to provide IS researchers and students with a number of these instruments (subject to copyright considerations) along with introductory information on the survey process. The repository is intended to help researchers get started with survey methodology, while also providing a convenient resource for experienced survey researchers. Pointers to a variety of related sites are included.

KM Book of the Week

Top 10 most highly recommended books on knowledge management from Ron Young and his colleagues at, the open source website for KM education, KM consulting methodologies, KM processes, KM tools and techniques.

  1. The Wealth of Knowledge, Intellectual Capital and the Twenty-First Century Organization by Thomas A. Stewart — Probably, one of the best books on understanding the importance of knowledge capital, knowledge assets, and managing knowledge assets
  2. Learning to Fly: Practical Knowledge Management from Leading and Learning Organizations by Chris Collison, Geoff Parcell — Probably the best book on practical and well-proven KM methods, tools and techniques within BP, including: learning whilst doing, learning after doing, peer assist, After Action Review…
  3. Working Knowledge by Thomas H. Davenport, Laurence Prusak — Most of the KM practitioners use this book as a reference. Practical issues of how companies can generate and transfer knowledge. A blueprint for competitive advantage.
  4. The Knowledge-Creating Company: How Japanese Companies Create the Dynamics of Innovation by Ikujiro Nonaka, Hirotaka Takeuchi — A must read, if you want to get grounded in some fundamental theory and excellent cases studies from two KM pioneers who moulded KM as a practice.
  5. Knowledge Asset Management by Gregoris N. Mentzas, Dimitris Apostolou, Andreas Abecker, Ron Young — Naturally, we are biased as Ron Young is a founder to this website, but please read the industry expert reviews of this remarkable book that documents a 2M euro EC project ‘Knownet’ and the resultant KM frameworks, processes, methods, tools and technologies.
  6. Intellectual Capital: The New Wealth of Organizations by Thomas A. Stewart — This is the book that compels most people to start their KM initiative or start a KM consulting practice! A great primer.
  7. Communities of Practice: Learning, Meaning, and Identity by Etienne Wenger — If Communities of Practice (COP) are ‘the big thing in KM’ then this is a must read from ‘the COP guru.’
  8. Harvard Business Review on Knowledge Management by Peter Ferdinand Drucker, David Garvin, Dorothy Leonard, Susan Straus, John Seely Brown — Seriously, you must add this to your collection, when you are aware of the fundamentals of KM.
  9. Knowledge Management: Concepts and Best Practices by Kai Mertins (Editor), Peter Heisig (Editor), Jens Vorbeck (Editor) — We found this a great reference, full of successful and practical case studies for KM practitioners. A special orientation on knowledge management audit, business process oriented knowledge management.
  10. If Only We Knew What We Know: The Transfer of Internal Knowledge and Best Practice by Carla O’Dell, C. Jackson Grayson — Two KM gurus with a great pedigree.

Written by

Knowledge Management Author and Speaker, Founder of SIKM Leaders Community, Community Evangelist, Knowledge Manager

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