• I don’t have any time.
  • I don’t know what is expected of me.
  • What’s in it for me?
  • They don’t know what they are supposed to do. Leadership has not established and communicated clear goals for knowledge sharing, and has not modeled the desired behaviors. Solution: Establish and communicate clear knowledge-sharing goals, and have leaders regularly demonstrate knowledge sharing so others can follow their example.
  • They think something else is more important. They believe that there are higher-priority tasks than knowledge sharing. Solution: Get all first-level managers to model knowledge-sharing behavior for their employees, and to inspect compliance to knowledge-sharing goals with the same fervor as they inspect other goals.
  • There is no positive consequence to them for doing it. They receive no rewards, recognition, promotions, or other benefits for sharing knowledge. Solution: Implement rewards and recognition programs for those who share their knowledge. For example, award points to those who share knowledge, and then give desirable rewards to those with the top point totals.
  • They are rewarded for not doing it. They hoard their knowledge and thus get people to beg for their help, or they receive rewards, recognition, or promotions based on doing other tasks. Solution: Work with all managers in the organization to encourage them to reinforce the desired behaviors and stop rewarding the wrong behaviors.
  • They are punished for doing it. As a result of spending time on knowledge sharing, they don’t achieve other goals which are more important to the organization, or chastised for wasting time. Solution: Align knowledge-sharing processes and goals with other critical processes and performance goals, and regularly communicate that time spent sharing knowledge is time well spent.
  • There is no negative consequence to them for not doing it. Knowledge sharing is not one of their performance goals, or it is a goal which is not enforced. Solution: Work with all first-level managers to get them to implement, inspect, and enforce knowledge-sharing goals. This needs to come from the top — if the leader of the organization insists on it and checks up on compliance, it will happen.
  • Goals: employee targets included in performance plans and communicated and inspected regularly
  • Measurements: numerical and visual tracking of performance against goals and operational indicators
  • Incentives: programs designed to encourage compliance with goals, improve performance against metrics, and increase participation in KM initiatives — includes points, badges, and competitive rankings
  • Recognition: praise, publicity and promotion
  • Rewards: financial and tangible awards
  • Gamification: application of typical elements of game playing (e.g., point scoring, competition with others, rules of play) to other areas of activity to encourage engagement with a process or tool
  • Incentive points tracking: systems for awarding and tracking points for desired knowledge management behaviors, both automatically as triggered by events and manually through forms entry
  • Badging: offering validated indicators of accomplishment, skill, quality, or interest that can be earned; digital badges are a visual, short-term reward for completing an action, given to users for performing a certain number of actions of a given type
  1. Contribute a reusable code module to the repository
  2. Publish a white paper
  3. Lead a community of practice
  1. Reuse a proven practice
  2. Serve as an expert in the ask the expert program
  3. Submit a lesson learned
  1. Join a community of practice
  2. Reuse a proposal for a customer
  3. Collaborate using a team space
  • Contribute a reusable code module to the repository: number of modules submitted; number of unique contributors divided by number of employees.
  • Publish a white paper: number of white papers published; number of unique contributors divided by number of employees.
  • Lead a community of practice: number of community leaders; number of unique community leaders divided by number of senior-level employees.
  • Reuse a proven practice: number of proven practice documents downloaded; reported value of reused proven practices as reported in user surveys.
  • Serve as an expert in the ask the expert program: number of participating experts; number of unique experts divided by number of senior-level employees.
  • Submit a lesson learned: number of lessons learned submitted; number of unique contributors divided by number of employees.
  • Join a community of practice: number of unique community members; number of unique community members divided by number of employees.
  • Reuse a proposal for a customer: number of proposals downloaded; number of new proposals with reused content divided by number of new proposals.
  • Collaborate using a team space; number of team spaces created; number of unique team space users divided by number of employees.
  • We’ve set individual goals for all of the employees in the company.
  • Everyone should have these goals in their annual performance plans.
  1. The first goal is capture, which means capturing the content and experience from the bids and projects which we work on. This includes such things as project summaries, lessons learned, proven practices, white papers, bid documents, and project deliverables.
  2. Goal number two is reuse, which means reusing content and experience from bids and projects, including sales collateral, service guides, project documents, software source code.
  3. And the third goal is participation, which means being an active member of at least one community and participating in that community’s threaded discussion. This means asking questions, answering questions, and otherwise sharing your insights with members of that community.
  1. Did you have knowledge management goals for this past year? If yes, what where they?
  2. How many hours did you charge as KM time during the year, and what were the most important items you produced during those hours?
  3. Which communities did you participate in? For each community, were you a leader/co-leader, a frequent contributor, an occasional contributor, or a reader/listener?
  4. Which threaded discussions did you subscribe to? How many postings and replies did you contribute during the fiscal year?
  5. What content did you submit to repositories?
  6. What content did you reuse from repositories?
  7. Did you have other significant KM achievements during the year?
  8. How did your KM activity benefit you, the organization, and your clients?
  9. Are there colleagues whose knowledge sharing helped you and as a result you would like to acknowledge their help for their performance reviews?
  10. Are there colleagues who will acknowledge the help you provided to them through knowledge sharing?
  1. The people who submit the proven practices which are the five most reused will each win a financial reward.
  2. The five top project teams in terms of content reused in their projects will be allowed to attend the industry conference of their choice.
  3. For every five lessons learned documents contributed which meet quality standards, an individual earns a gift certificate.
  4. Those who reuse content as part of three new proposals win the book of their choice.
  5. Those who lead a community of practice for one year win the latest in-demand piece of technology.
  6. Everyone who participates in a content creation initiative for three months or more wins a subscription to the journal of their choice.
  7. All members of a region which achieves its KM goals receive a bonus.
  8. Those who receive the top ten most votes from their peers for sharing the most win a weekend trip for two.
  9. Those who receive the top ten most votes from their leaders for outstanding knowledge-related behaviors are invited to attend a gala event.
  10. Those who receive the top ten most points in competitive rankings (see below) win a financial reward.
  • When people see where they stand in rankings, they often are motivated to move up in the standings. I used to manage a team of sales people. After I started producing a weekly ranking report for the team, every one of them achieved their goals.
  • The HP KM Stars program (see details below) resulted in a large number of winners from the UK. They had a friendly competition which frequently yielded monthly winners from the UK.
  • The competition does not have to be with other people — it can be against a target such as profile completion percentage. Some people obsess over achieving 100% completion as reflected in a visible badge, and this will yield desired results.
  1. Everyone should be an active member of at least one community of practice.
  2. All new projects should be entered into the Project Profile Repository.
  3. Before any new project is started, the project team should reuse as much content as possible from previous projects and formal content portals.
  1. Establish and communicate clear knowledge-sharing goals.
  2. Have the leader of the organization communicate regularly on knowledge-sharing expectations, goals, and rewards.
  3. Encourage all managers in the organization to reinforce the desired behaviors and stop rewarding the wrong behaviors. Work with all first-level managers to get them to implement, inspect, and enforce knowledge-sharing goals. They should inspect compliance to knowledge-sharing goals with the same fervor as they inspect other goals. This needs to come from the top — if the leader of the organization insists on it and checks up on compliance, it will happen.
  4. Align knowledge-sharing processes and goals with other critical processes and performance goals. For example, require proof of knowledge-sharing behavior as a condition of promotion.
  5. Implement rewards and recognition programs for those who share their knowledge. For example, award points to those who share knowledge, and then give desirable rewards to those with the top point totals.
  • Making explicit which behaviors are desired.
  • Demonstrating that the leaders of the organization view the program as being significant.
  • Providing concrete benefits to those who demonstrate the desired behaviors.
  • Contributing a document to a knowledge repository.
  • Posting or replying to a threaded discussion board.
  • Posting a story on the benefits of reusing content from a knowledge repository or a threaded discussion board.
  • A winner from three different geographic regions.
  • The participants with the top three point totals (but establish a rule that participants can only win once during any 12-month period).
  • A winner in each of three categories matching the goals of your KM program, for example:
  1. Top document contributor
  2. Top threaded discussion answer person
  3. Best reuse story author
  • Why didn’t I get listed in the rankings?
  • Why does someone else always get rewarded?
  • I can’t win, so why should I bother?
  • People can only win once.
  • Include both quantitative and qualitative factors when selecting winners, including location, organization, and unusually-deserving circumstances.
  • Create multiple categories for winning, including the most points, the biggest improvement, the most creative, newcomer-of-the-month, against all odds, etc.
  • Joining an ESN group
  • Posting in an ESN group
  • Rating or tagging content in the knowledge repository
  • Contributing content to the knowledge repository
  • Started with contribution and reuse
  1. 5 points for joining a community
  2. 1 point for posting to a discussion board
  3. 5 points for contributing a document
  4. 10 points for publishing a knowledge brief
  5. 5 points for filling in the reuse form
  • Removed reuse and replaced it with the Reuse Stories Forum: Created an online threaded discussion called the Reuse Stories Forum and encouraged people to post stories about how they benefited from reusing knowledge. Every month we selected one contributor who had posted such a story to be recognized as one of four monthly KM Stars.
  • Started with recognition only
  1. Rankings
  2. Publicity on intranet, newsletter, and blog
  • Added financial rewards
  1. Three winners per month initially, then four, when Reuse Stories Forum was added
  2. Required to write a story on how they became a KM Star
  3. Wide publicity
  4. Message to leadership team and management chain
  • Lively competition ensued, especially in the UK
  • One instance of gaming the system, which was addressed successfully
  • Added points to personal profiles
  1. First, the reports. Remember I told you I am big on RSS [really simple syndication]? Well, the initial reports were written as RSS feeds. As a consequence, they are very easy to include in web pages. So we included the weekly top ten (reports are available as weekly, monthly, quarterly or lifetime views) on the KM and other web sites;
  2. After a few months, I finally found some more spare time to write a scheduled script to automate points for postings into the forums. Again, this is done by reading and interpreting an RSS feed from the forums;
  3. Finally, one of our advocates in Europe convinced her organization to grant a small award to the top point-scorers in their organization.
  1. Contributor — based on contributions to knowledge repository
  2. Innovator — based on suggestions made in ESN and participation in innovation challenges
  3. Recycler — based on downloading and reusing knowledge repository content
  4. Collaborator — based on participation in ESN
  5. Learner — based on completion of learning activities
  6. Expert — based on keeping skills profile updated and responding to questions in ESN
  1. Bronze — some activity
  2. Silver — moderate activity
  3. Gold — frequent activity
  4. Platinum — extensive activity
  5. Diamond — exceptional activity
  1. ESN actions liked
  2. Replies
  3. Posts
  4. Most-replied-to conversations
  5. Conversations with the most participants
  6. Followers
  7. Times praised
  1. Share — 1 point for each post sharing information, 2 points for each like or reply to such a post
  2. Ask — 2 points for each post asking a question
  3. Find — 2 points for each post finding a resource
  4. Answer — 5 points for each post answering a question, 5 additional points if the person asking the question acknowledges that the answer provided was helpful
  5. Recognize — 1 point for praising someone, 5 points for being praised by someone else
  6. Inform — 1 point for each post informing about activities, 2 points for each reply to such a post
  7. Suggest — 1 point for each post suggesting an idea, 10 points for each idea implemented by someone
  1. Contributor — 5 points for each knowledge repository contribution, 10 points for each content rating of such a contribution (made by someone other than the contributor) with 3 or more stars
  2. Innovator — 2 points for each innovation challenge contribution
  3. Recycler — 5 points for each content rating for someone else’s knowledge repository contribution
  4. Collaborator — 5 points for joining an ESN group (one time per group), 5 points for turning on email notifications for a group (one time per group)
  5. Learner — 10 points for attending a KM-sponsored training event, 5 points for completing a self-paced instruction course
  6. Expert — 2 points for updating skills profile, 10 points or serving as a designated subject matter expert
  • Number of posts by the person
  • Number of followers for the person
  • Number of direct replies to posts by the person
  • Number of posts in conversations started by the person
  • Number of likes received by the person’s posts
  • Number of distinct people who have liked a post by the person
  • The ratio of likes / post by the person
  • The ratio of likes / liker for posts by the person
  • Average lifespan of a conversation by the person
  • Intranet sites
  • Communities of practice
  • ESN groups
  • Gamification is really about data, and storytelling with data.
  • The value of likes erodes very quickly.
  • Gamification incentives: SAPS
  1. Status — awards and visibility
  2. Access — to senior management or other perks
  3. Power — enable autonomy
  4. Stuff — prizes
  • Scott has used a ‘stock market’ report to show which departments and teams are making the best use of the tools. We’ve used a weather analogy to display stats — encouraging people to reduce rain clouds and increase the sunshine. Visual representation is clear and fun.
  • One idea — convert ‘praise’ into ‘beans’ that you can use with the coffee shop downstairs for coffee.
  • Further, we’ve found that key motivators are status and praise. Specifically, we’ve asked employees to nominate colleagues who have done something brilliant that exemplifies the company values. The kudos of making the nomination, and receiving nominations, was highly valued.
  • Different people, different cultures, like different incentives. Designers like badges, while IT people like levels — levelling up the leader board.
  • Badgeville’s motivation model (blue and green boxes)
  • When to use extrinsic motivation and real incentives? When the process you’re rewarding is dull or unpopular. But you’ll need to improve the reward over time, as prize value erodes for these unpopular tasks.
  • Negative incentives: take away their SAPS (see above) — reduce their status, remove their access, revoke their power, or take away their stuff. The carrot and stick debate rages on — negative incentives are a contentious matter, and may come across as punishment rather than discipline. Imagine the serious side — compliance matters. Using negative incentives to discourage dangerous or financially risky behavior may well be appropriate.
  • People learn how to game the game. So you have to find the goal that can’t be gamed.
  • Scott says he’s had complaints from people about the gamification criteria, and sometimes the complaints have been valid, and things have needed to be tweaked, but often the complaints come from people who need to improve their behavior if they’re to match company standards.
  • I am Ethicon awards and gamification
  • BJ Fogg says you need a motivator, the ability to act, and a trigger to start you off. If your gamification can provide the motivators and triggers, then all you need to ensure is that people have the access, skills, training, and general ability to perform.
  • Trigger? Think notifications, alerts, and internal communications. A trigger might only encourage a small behavior — further triggers are needed to continue the journey towards the strategic goal.
  1. Carrots and sticks are so last Century.
  2. For 21st century work, we need to upgrade to autonomy, mastery and purpose.
  1. Direct the Rider. What looks like resistance is often a lack of clarity. So provide crystal-clear direction. (Think 1% milk.)
  2. Motivate the Elephant. What looks like laziness is often exhaustion. The Rider can’t get his way by force for very long. So it’s critical that you engage people’s emotional side — get their Elephants on the path and cooperative. (Think of the cookies and radishes study and the boardroom conference table full of gloves.)
  3. Shape the Path. What looks like a people problem is often a situation problem. We call the situation (including the surrounding environment) the “Path.” When you shape the Path, you make change more likely, no matter what’s happening with the Rider and Elephant. (Think of the effect of shrinking movie popcorn buckets.)

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Knowledge Management Author and Speaker, Founder of SIKM Leaders Community, Community Evangelist, Knowledge Manager https://sites.google.com/site/stangarfield/

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Stan Garfield

Stan Garfield

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Knowledge Management Author and Speaker, Founder of SIKM Leaders Community, Community Evangelist, Knowledge Manager https://sites.google.com/site/stangarfield/