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Consortium for Service Innovation

3) Leadership is Required

Drive Organizational Change and Sustain Engagement

For most organizations, adopting KCS represents a significant change in organizational values and culture. This kind of change is hard and requires strong leadership.  Not surprisingly, organizations that embrace a formal change management methodology such as ADKAR or Kotter have greater success with their KCS adoption.

The key areas leaders must focus on to successfully adopt and sustain KCS are:

  • Create a vision that includes
    • a compelling purpose - a simple value proposition
    • a mission statement - our approach to achieving the purpose
    • explicit values - acceptable behavior in achieving the purpose
    • the brand promise - attributes of the relationship with those we serve
  • Communication of the vision that people can relate to and communicating why KCS is important to each of the key stakeholders
  • Trust that knowledge workers are capable of making good judgments in the context of the organization's purpose, values and brand promise
  • Change the value proposition for employees from valuing them for what they know and their ability to follow instructions to valuing them for their
    • ability to make good judgments
    • ability to learn
    • willingness to collaborate
    • frequency and quality with which they use, improve or create knowledge
  • Shift the focus from activity- and transaction-based measures to customer success and value-based measures, and ensure the knowledge worker has visibility to the impact of their contribution
  • Continuously improve the performance, functionality, and level of technology integration to support knowledge work: make it easy for knowledge workers to do things right

Communication in organizations today is a challenge. Seldom, if ever, is KCS the only change initiative.  There are always lots of things competing for people's attention.  Effective communication requires a commitment on the part of leaders to put effort into creating the messages for all of the key stakeholders in the organization and taking the time to ensure all levels of the organization understand and buy into the KCS value proposition.  Executives of member companies who have successfully transformed their organizations have not relied on the organizational hierarchy to relay important objectives and benefits.  They have made the commitment to personally communicate with all levels of the organization.

As the organization moves from adoption to maximizing and sustaining the benefits, the organizational leaders must ensure the stakeholders have clear and timely visibility to the impact of their contribution. This is particularly true for the knowledge workers in the organization. And, it is a challenge because the greatest benefits come from a lot of people doing the right things over time.  It takes an overt effort on the part of leaders to help knowledge workers see the impact of their contribution.  If the knowledge workers can not see the impact of their contribution in using and improving knowledge...they will lose interest in doing it. The leadership challenge in sustaining KCS over time lies in providing visibility to the knowledge worker on the benefits of doing KCS and recognizing both individual and team contributions.


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