Internal Communications, Fluor CEO Letter, Knowledge Sharing Toolkit, Long Live The Platform, Outsmart

24-Apr-08 Archive of Weekly KM Blog by Stan Garfield

KM Question of the Week

Q: What are the differences between internal communications and knowledge management?

A: Internal communications uses many of the same components as knowledge management, and plays a key role in supporting a KM program. KM includes many other components, and has many other applications.

Internal communications includes:

  1. Email and voicemail messages: Communications sent to broad or narrow distribution lists
  2. Web sites: Intranet pages
  3. Enterprise Social Networks: Communities and threaded discussions
  4. Team spaces: Collaboration sites to share files, hold meetings, conduct polls, and maintain lists
  5. Portals: Unified user access interfaces and repositories of documents and information
  6. Wikis: Intranet pages which can be edited by any user for interactive content development by multiple people
  7. Conference calls: Regular telephone calls for two-way communications, status updates, and learning
  8. Webcasts and webinars: Web-based broadcasts of video, audio, and slides; allow questions to be entered anonymously
  9. Virtual meeting rooms: online, real-time tools designed to allow teams to share presentations, applications, and white boards during meetings
  10. Blogs: Web logs to post news updates, solicit comments, and take advantage of RSS syndication capability
  11. Newsletters: Periodicals sent to subscribers to provide regular updates, stories, and useful content to interested parties
  12. Podcasts: Recorded broadcasts available on demand or by subscription for those who prefer audio, like to listen while performing other tasks, or who are not usually connected to the network and subscribe for automatic downloads of the broadcasts through RSS syndication
  13. Videos: Recorded videos available on demand for those who prefer video, when there is important visual content, or for special occasions
  14. Distribution lists: Lists of email addresses used to send email messages
  15. Progress reports: Details for communicating status to interested parties
  16. Articles: Articles submitted to newsletters and web sites to inform those who may currently be unaware and point them to other available communications vehicles
  17. Links: Descriptive titles with associated URLs which appear on other web sites to attract visitors from other high-traffic web sites
  18. Meetings: Face-to-face gatherings to build trust, establish direction, and solicit inputs
  19. Coffee talks and town hall meetings: Informal chats at local offices to allow a leader to converse with employees
  20. Training sessions: Live or on-demand presentations and interactive e-learning to increase awareness, influence behavior, and educate
  21. Audience surveys and focus groups: Ways to solicit inputs from target audiences to determine users’ likes and dislikes, desired changes, and suggested improvements

Knowledge Management includes:

Internal communications supports KM, and KM components can be used as part of internal communications. There is a symbiotic relationship between the two functions. See also:

KM Thought Leader of the Week

Larry Prusak wrote to me “I received the 2007 Annual Report from Fluor and was very pleased to see that their KM efforts were highlighted in the President’s letter — a very, very rare event for KM in my experience. I thought your blog readers might find it interesting.”

I asked John McQuary, Vice President of Knowledge Management and Technology Strategies at Fluor, to comment on the 2007 Annual Report. Here are the highlights John selected from the CEO’s letter.

“Over the years, we have made investments to ensure our execution platform is consistent and scalable, which is why we are able to meet the tremendous demands in today’s marketplace. We use information technology to harness the company’s considerable intellectual property and leverage our award-winning, knowledge-management system to solve complex problems other companies cannot. To sum up, Fluor is uniquely able to bring together the best combination of our regional, industry and technical expertise, as well as our project management, financial, risk management, health, safety and environmental and business strengths to serve our clients’ needs.

While our systems, procedures and technologies are indeed world class, the primary reason for Fluor’s record achievements is fittingly symbolized in the photos of this annual report — our employees. In today’s rapidly changing business environment, the most potent competitive weapon any company can have is skilled, dedicated people working hard to ensure its success. At Fluor, we are blessed with a community of outstanding individuals who come together to accomplish things that no one else can. Each of our global employees brings a unique set of assets to the job, collectively resulting in greater knowledge, better decisions and premium quality and value.”

Also on PDF page 26 / annual report page 23:

“Fluor’s investments in training and strong culture of knowledge sharing enable individuals to learn and grow, and those who show strong technical, business and teamwork skills are progressively moved into roles of greater responsibility and advancement.”

KM Blog of the Week

Knowledge Sharing Toolkit by Mary Abraham

The ICT-KM program of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research has created a Knowledge Sharing Toolkit that provides guidance and resources for organizations interested in developing knowledge sharing among their employees and constituents. Nancy White at Full Circle Associates asked that readers take a look at the Toolkit and send in their feedback.

They are particularly interested in nonprofits, nongovernmental organizations and international development organizations. But even if you work outside those areas, it would be well worth your time to consider the materials provided by the Toolkit. You’re sure to find information on tools and methods you haven’t yet tried in your organization.

KM Link of the Week

The Long Live The Platform Conference: A Collective Report by Sue Wolff, John D. Smith, and Lynn M. Tveskov for the CPsquare Community

This paper describes the method of organizing the conference, the sustaining motivations driving participant roles, and some of the memorable learning gained by the CPsquare community.

Reflecting on the LLP Conference in com-prac

As part of the process Lynn Tveskov interviewed John Smith about what went on behind the scenes. He got into telling her the story, even going a bit overboard. After she wrote up the notes, he came up with a more analytical description of what he did as a conference organizer.

KM Book of the Week

Outsmart! — How to Do What Your Competitors Can’t by Jim Champy

Jim Champy revolutionized business with Reengineering the Corporation. Now, in Outsmart! he’s doing it again. This concise, fast-paced book shows how you can achieve breakthrough growth by consistently outsmarting your competition. Champy reveals the surprising, counterintuitive lessons learned by companies that have achieved super-high growth for at least three straight years. Drawing on the strategies of some of today’s best “high velocity” companies, he identifies eight powerful ways to compete in even the roughest marketplace. You’ll discover how to find distinctive market positions and sustainable advantages in products, services, delivery methods, and unexpected customers with unexpected needs.

How to reignite growth by:

  • Seeing what others don’t
  • Using all you know
  • Changing your frame of reference
  • Thinking outside the bubble, not the box
  • Tapping others’ successes
  • Creating order out of chaos
  • Simplifying complexity
  • Doing everything yourself

Table of Contents

  1. It’s a Smart, Smart, Smart, Smart World 2
  2. Compete by Seeing What Others Don’t: How Sonicbids Spotted a $15 Billion Market 20
  3. Compete by Thinking Outside the Bubble: MinuteClinic Delivers Healthcare Retail 38
  4. Compete by Using All You Know: Basics Are Blazing at Smith & Wesson 58
  5. Compete by Changing Your Frame of Reference: How Shutterfly Saw the Bigger Picture 80
  6. Compete by Doing Everything Yourself: S.A. Robotics-Reaching Into Every Detail 96
  7. Compete by Tapping the Success of Others: Jibbitz Wins by Riding a Croc 114
  8. Compete by Creating Order Out of Chaos: Partsearch Finds the Item You Need 130
  9. Compete by Simplifying Complexity: SmartPak Brings Stability to the Stables 146

Articles and Podcast

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