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2.2 Workshops and Activities for the Pilot

KCS Leadership Workshop

KCS success requires a new way to think about and manage support. The profound KCS benefits of reducing support costs while improving the customer’s experience and success are realized by shifting the organization from a transaction-centric model to a knowledge-centric model. 


The single most frequent point of failure in making this transition and sustaining the benefit is management’s failure to embrace the needed leadership practices and value-based measures. The traditional approach of hierarchical organizational structures, linear processes, activity based measures, and performance assessment based on numbers does not enable or promote the KCS behaviors. 


The Leadership Workshop is intended for first- and second-line managers in organizations who are adopting the KCS practices.  The program develops the perspective, concepts, and skills needed to successfully lead a knowledge-centered organization.


During the Design Session, the team creates a Performance Assessment Model.  These performance metrics are validated during the pilot.   Once the model is working and reports are available, the managers participate in a KCS Leadership Workshop to learn how to interpret the trends in the leading indicators (activities), the outcome indicators, radar charts and the Article Quality Index (AQI) Scores.  And, most importantly mangers learn how to have a conversation with the Support Analysts about KCS understanding, buy-in and behaviors – not about the numbers!  


This workshop will give managers a new perspective on their role and introduce managers to the power of:

  • The inherent motivational elements in the KCS methodology (rewards and punishment are not sustainable motivators, however a sense of accomplishment, recognition and interesting work are)
  • Replacing linear process models with double loop processes
  • Value-based measures instead of activity-based measures
  • Performance conversations that focus on KCS understanding, buy-in and behaviors, not the numbers
  • Alignment and influence versus command and control
  • Leading versus managing

KCS Coach Development Program

coaching.pngKCS Coaching is often overlooked or dismissed.  Coaching is a critical aspect of a successful KCS program and a coach development program is an essential component of Phase 2.   Member companies have demonstrated a direct correlation between the amount of time spent coaching and the quality of the Articles created.  By using a checklist (Article Quality Index or AQI) that contains the criteria for creating a well-structured, useable Article, the Support Analyst knows what is expected, and the Coach can measure progress and provide feedback.  There is additional information about the KCS Coach program in the KCS Practices GuideKCS Coach Workshops are offered by select KCS Certified Trainers


The responsibilities of the KCS Coach include:

  • Acting as a change agent by promoting understanding of the intent and benefits of KCS
  • Promoting understanding and adherence to the content standard (Article quality)
  • Promoting understanding and adherence to the problem solving workflow (Solve Loop)
  • Assessing the quality of Articles using the AQI checklist
  • Providing feedback to the Support Analysts and, when appropriate, to management
  • Meeting regularly with the Support Analysts they are coaching
  • Attending regular KCS Coach meetings
  • Providing input to the KCS Council on recommendations to improve the workflow and the content standard


The KCS Coach Development Program introduces these new responsibilities and provides tools and strategies for selecting the right people and making them successful.


The program includes:

  • Social Network Analysis tools to select the right coaches
  • KCS Coach Development Workshop
  • On-going support of Coaches

Selecting the Right Coaches

The training of the KCS Coaches begins as the pilot approaches completion. 

It is important to select coaches who are respected and trusted by their peers, and who are interested in helping others be successful with KCS.   


KCS Coaches need to have strong interpersonal skills and an excellent understanding of the KCS practices. They do not have to be subject matter experts or technical leads.  In fact, as a general rule, we find that the technical experts often do not have the influence skills or interaction style required to be an effective coach.  There are exceptions where subject matter experts also have the influence skills to be a good coach but organizations who have simply defaulted to having their technical leads play the role of KCS Coach have not been successful. 


During the pilot, certain individuals will demonstrate the characteristics of a good coach.  The Pilot Team participants who naturally evolve into the role of helping others should be considered for the KCS Coach positions. 


Another approach that has proven to be successful for selecting the right coach candidates is Social Network Analysis (SNA).


Social Network Analysis is a mathematical analysis and visual representation of relationships, flows, and influence between people.   The SNA data is collected through a simple survey and run through a SNA tool. The output is a map that identifies the people demonstrating the characteristics of a good coach.  The results may surprise you!  The organization chart you have in place may not reflect who is influencing change in the company. Corporate anthropologist Karen Stephenson says it best:


"You have to discover the world of connections buried underneath the traditional hierarchy. Knowing who trusts whom is as important as knowing who reports to whom. Ignore this hidden structure and your quality team players will jump ship, mentors will abandon their charges, institutional memory will vanish, and glad-handing schmucks will weasel their way into power.”


Once you have identified people with the characteristics of a good coach, the final step to be sure they have the time needed to coach. This inevitably creates a significant challenge for management, as the organization is not going to add resources to cover the coaching and the KCS learning curve.   If the team is excited about doing KCS they will often figure out a way to support the coaching activity.  Often management will relax service level expectations for 2- 3 months while the team learns KCS (we seldom see the service levels actually drop).


Coaching during Phase 2 of the KCS Adoption will take 50% of an Analyst/Coach’s time, so a coach should be responsible for no more than eight people simultaneously.  When the Support Analysts are consistently creating high quality Articles, the coaching time will decrease from daily to weekly and eventually monthly.  The goal is for the Coach is to develop others so they can create, edit, and publish Articles without review.

KCS Coach Development Workshop

Influencing others to change their behavior requires skills beyond that of the typical Support Analyst.  Once the coaches are established and have gained a bit of experience during the KCS pilot, they participate in the KCS Coach Development Workshop.  This program provides strategies for influencing others’ behaviors.


The workshop is a two to three day focused session with the following goals for the coaches:

  • Understanding the models and frameworks for coaching
  • Understanding where individual strengths and weaknesses are in context of those models
  • Gain familiarity with the coaching tools
  • Acquiring an awareness of the interpersonal skills needed to effectively coach and recognizing skills to further develop
  • Committing to working together as a team
  • Responsibility for the success of those being coached
  • Excitement about the opportunity to be a coach
  • KCS Coach Certification Exam


For more information about the KCS Coach workshop and a list of Certified workshop trainers please visit www.thekcsacdemy.net.  

Coaching for Coaches

The coaches need to establish regular communications as a coaching team and should have weekly or by-weekly meetings to discuss issues and to check in on a consistent interpretation and use of the AQI and the KCS Roles and Competency list.


Some organizations have sustained and improved the coaching program by having a lead coach.  Others have used the Coach Development Workshop facilitator to follow up periodically with the organization’s coaches to reinforce the skills from the workshop to discuss challenges and implement strategies.  These meetings can be done via conference call.  


Technology Update

At the completion of the pilot, the IT Liaison, the Adoption Team, and the lead participants of the Pilot Team conduct a detailed evaluation of the incident management system, the knowledge management system, and the integration with other technology tools being used.  A technical, functional specification should be developed and tools that support the defined workflow should be deployed after the pilot and prior to engaging too many additional waves.  The KCS Verified Self-Assessment Worksheet (www.thekcsacademy.net) provides a framework for functional specification.

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