Being an effective knowledge management leader requires three sets of specific ABCs: Attributes, Background, and Capabilities; Actions, Behaviors, and Characteristics; and Ambassador, Broker, and Collaborator. This post provides the details for each of these.

A. Attributes, Background, and Capabilities

  • Attributes
  1. Adaptable
  2. Assertive
  3. Calm
  4. Client-focused
  5. Creative
  6. Collaborative
  7. Curious
  8. Dynamic
  9. Influential
  10. Personable
  • Background
  1. Management: Supervised people, led work teams, and managed a business or functional unit.
  2. Project management: Successfully managed projects to meet deadlines, provide deliverables, and adhere to budgets.
  3. Communications: Published documents, gave presentations, and managed communications programs.
  4. 50 Knowledge Management Components: For many of these, performed evaluations, led implementation projects, and used them regularly.
  5. Reputation: Earned the respect of people both inside and outside of the organization, based on accomplishments, networking, and communications
  • Capabilities
  1. Leadership: Able to influence others, lead work teams, and manage projects.
  2. Communications: Excellent at writing, speaking, presenting, and using a variety of communications vehicles.
  3. Process and Technology: Able to quickly learn and master a wide variety of tools and processes.
  4. 50 Knowledge Management Components: Expert at using many of these.
  5. Analysis: Able to seek input, analyze information, consider alternatives, and make good decisions.

B. Actions, Behaviors, and Characteristics

  • Actions
  1. Articulates the end-state vision: Passionately explains what KM looks like when it is working.
  2. Defines compelling use cases: Convincingly communicates the advantages of using KM processes and tools over existing alternatives.
  3. Implements, improves, and iterates: Continuously acts to achieve the vision, with measurable progress.
  4. Leads by example: Regularly models knowledge-sharing behaviors and gets senior leaders to do so.
  5. Recognizes others: Praises, rewards, and promotes those who demonstrate the desired behaviors.
  • Behaviors
  1. Improves business results through a knowledge-sharing culture.
  2. Creates, maintain, and execute the KM implementation plan.
  3. Implements people, process, and technology components.
  4. Defines KM goals, measurements, and rewards.
  5. Reports regularly on KM metrics.
  6. Manages KM projects.
  7. Leads the organization’s KM teams.
  8. Manages the organization’s KM communications.
  9. Actively participates in communities.
  10. Networks with other KM Leaders.
  • Characteristics
  1. Passionate
  2. Persistent
  3. Persuasive

C. Ambassador, Broker, and Collaborator

  1. Connector: Acts as a hub in social networks.
  2. Maven: Serves as a guru on important topics.
  3. Salesperson: Influences others to join and participate in KM.
  • Broker
  1. Monitors important information sources.
  2. Participates in relevant communities.
  3. Reads key blogs and publications.
  4. Listens to podcasts.
  5. Watches videos.
  6. Searches effectively.
  7. Knows who would benefit from a piece of information or from being connected to someone else.
  8. Informs colleagues about content, people, and resources relevant to their interests and areas of responsibility.
  • Collaborator
  1. Shares tips, tricks, and insights in communities and enterprise social networks.
  2. Asks questions in communities and social networks.
  3. Finds resources, people, and content in communities and enterprise social networks.
  4. Answers questions in communities and enterprise social networks.
  5. Recognizes colleagues’ contributions and achievements in communities and enterprise social networks.
  6. Informs about activities and plans in communities and enterprise social networks by Working Out Loud.
  7. Suggests ideas and solicit input in communities and enterprise social networks.




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

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Stan Garfield

Stan Garfield

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

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