The twelfth and final step in the 12 Steps to KM Success is to share achievements and ideas with others, solicit feedback on your KM program, and reuse the proven practices of other programs.
By being active in external communities and conferences, you will be able to learn from others, benefit from a wide variety of perspectives and experiences, and apply good ideas in your program. Paying it forward means helping people with their KM efforts, so that they in turn help others, thus achieving a virtuous circle. This is good for everyone involved.
Relentlessly share what you know and have learned. Publish your experiences, philosophies, and insights. Post your ideas in communities of practice, solicit feedback, ask questions, and reply to the questions and comments of others. Present regularly and invite others to do the same. Compare your efforts to others, incorporate the good ideas of others, and evolve your thinking.
Share What You Have Learned
- Join and participate in communities
- Ask questions, seek help, and request advice
- Answer questions and respond to requests
- Lead, help lead, and present on calls
- Articles in periodicals and journals
- SlideShare presentations
- Books or book chapters
- Be interviewed
- Podcasts and videos
- Webinars and Twitter chats
- Present and lead discussions
- Present regularly within your organization, to other firms, in community meetings, and in client meetings.
- Offer to present on a webinar sponsored by a company or organization relevant to your specialty.
- Lead discussions online and during live events.
- Create and curate a personal website
- Share all of your content
- Link to external sources that include content from you
- Link to other useful resources
- Deliver training and mentoring
- Develop and conduct training
- Create and upload podcasts and videos
- Serve as a mentor
- Attend industry conferences
- Conduct workshops and give presentations
- Lead and participate in panel discussions
- Meet new people, participate in conversations, and arrange for future benchmarking visits
Pay It Forward
Paying it forward means to do good for others without expecting anything in return. If you do so, you will often receive benefits at later date when you most need them. When I was about to leave HP, the legal department contacted me about a job opening. It was too late for me to take it, so I recommended another KM practitioner who was looking for a job, and ended up being hired. I ended up working at Deloitte, partially as a result of having met Deloitte KM people at a KM conference at Babson College.
When asking for favors, reciprocating is expected and mutually beneficial. When I asked the head of proven practice replication at Ford to present to the HP KM community, he agreed. And then he asked me to present to Ford. I didn’t think I had anything that worthwhile to present, but I did so. Ford’s reaction was unexpectedly positive, and this gave me the confidence to share my experiences more widely, leading me to present and write on an ongoing basis.
Similarly, I gave presentations to Accenture, Cisco, and IBM, and they did the same for me at HP. They also developed KM recognition programs that built on what we had done at HP, When I later needed outside support for attempting a similar effort at Deloitte, they agreed to present to the KM leadership team.
I joined Deloitte in 2008 as the community evangelist. The first thing I did was to initiate a series of discussions with others who were interested or involved with communities and collaboration. My first call went well, and at the end, I asked my colleague if she would like to continue talking every other week. She agreed, so I scheduled a biweekly call with her. At the end of my second call, I repeated the offer to the next colleague, and he also agreed. It made more sense to have one biweekly call than to have two different ones, so I invited him to join us on a three-person call. This pattern continued as I talked to additional colleagues, all of whom agreed to join the biweekly call. I called this the Communities Interest Group call, and I created an email distribution list to invite the members and remind them of the calls. By word of mouth, people contacted me and asked to be added to the list, which I did.
Here are five good ways to gain a better understanding of how your KM program is doing.
- Ask for responses in community online discussions and on community calls.
- Talk to attendees at industry conferences about your program and compare notes.
- Bring up examples from your program during training sessions you attend and gauge the responses from the other participants and the instructors.
- Host site visits from leaders of other KM programs to solicit observations and suggestions.
- Conduct employee satisfaction surveys. Here is an example.
Employee Satisfaction Survey
Use this survey on an ongoing basis to set a baseline and measure progress. It allows you to learn how your users view your program, what is perceived as working well, and what you need to improve. This should be conducted with a representative sample of the population on a monthly basis after the start of a KM initiative. If the results reach a fairly stable level, then the frequency can be reduced to once a year. Include the results in your regular program metrics reporting.
Here is an example of a survey you can use. You can adapt this as necessary to your situation.
- How satisfied are you with your manager’s support for you spending time on knowledge sharing and reuse?
- How satisfied are you with your ability to access knowledge resources when you are not connected to the network?
- How satisfied are you with the ability of knowledge reuse activities to save time and/or effort in your work?
- How satisfied are you with your ability to find the information and knowledge you need to do your job?
- How satisfied are you with the system availability of the online knowledge resources you use most often?
- How satisfied are you with the experience of searching repositories to find reusable content?
- How satisfied are you with the experience of locating an expert?
- How satisfied are you with the ease of collaborating with internal colleagues?
- How satisfied are you with the ease of collaborating with customers, partners, and external colleagues?
- How satisfied are you with your ability to join, participate, and derive value from communities of practice?
- How satisfied are you with training and documentation for using knowledge resources?
- How satisfied are you with the services provided by the knowledge help desk?
- Do you have a success story you can share with about using knowledge resources?
Please read Stan’s additional blog posts offering advice and insights drawn from many years as a KM practitioner. You may also want to download a copy of his book, Proven Practices for Implementing a Knowledge Management Program, from Lucidea Press. And learn about Lucidea’s Inmagic Presto, with KM capabilities to support successful knowledge management programs.
KM leaders must use surveys to find out what users struggle with, what tools they still need, what they use, and if/why they like what’s provided.
Knowledge managers raise awareness, align with business priorities, promote a KM culture, engage leadership, manage infrastructure
Knowledge managers should identify organizational culture/values, leverage elements conducive to knowledge sharing, and address those which are not.
A KM program will only be successful if leaders trust staff to share knowledge effectively and usefully; staff must trust there will be mgmt advocacy