The adoption of KCS is transformational and requires strong leadership. Understanding and communicating the relevance of KCS to the organization—how KCS contributes to the organizational goals—is critical.
To do this, we start with the organizational vision, a compelling purpose that people can relate to. Next, we create a strategic framework that links the benefits of KCS to the higher- level goals of the organization, which in turn support the compelling purpose. With the vision and framework in mind, a leader helps his team focus on what people need to accomplish, the right objectives and goals, and supports them in figuring out the how. The Support Analyst should own the content standard and the workflow while leadership focuses on the strategic framework, communications to promote understanding and buy in, and the performance assessment model.
The next level of detail involves developing and articulating the WIIFM—what's in it for me—for each of the stakeholders. One of the most compelling things about the KCS methodology is that it is wholly beneficial. With proper adoption, KCS benefits all the stakeholders. No one is compromised. Thinking through the WIIFM and likely objections is an important part of leadership readiness.
Another element of the leadership model is the reward and recognition program. Most leadership teams need to rework their programs to align with the knowledge sharing, collaboration, and collective ownership themes of KCS.
However, having all the elements of the leadership model described above is of little value in the absence of an effective communication plan. We have asked leaders whose organizations have adopted KCS what, in hindsight, they would have done differently. Most say they would have communicated more about why they are doing KCS.
Effective leaders create a healthy culture that encourages participation, individual commitment, and accountability. People need to understand their role in the context of the bigger picture in order to contribute fully. Through a well thought out communications plan, clear role definition, and a performance assessment model that rewards the creation of value, knowledge-centered organizations realize increased levels of capacity, capability, and loyalty.
In this section, we describe techniques to help leaders:
Define organizational metrics and goals for the desired outcomes
Capitalize on the inherent motivation factors in KCS
Nurture people in the collaborative environment
Gain buy-in and support for the KCS initiative
Communicate, communicate, communicate
In discussing leadership, we talk a great deal about metrics. It can be easy to spend more time with spreadsheets than with people. Leaders need to define and understand these metrics, but their primary focus should be on creating an environment of success for employees. Knowledge management is primarily about people.