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Consortium for Service Innovation

KCS v6 Practices Workshop: Instructor Guide

KCS Fundamentals Workshop Prep List


Room set up – in order of preference

  • half-rounds of 4-5… or,

  • large U shape …. or
  • Chevron class room style

Need space for the exercises – meeting room should be 150-200 sq ft larger than need for seating space



  • Projector and screen (for PowerPoint)
  • 1 flip chart w/paper and pens and tape (or the “post it” style flip charts)
  • Large white board OR a 2nd flip chart
  • Side table for handouts and materials
  • Dry Erase Makers (2 colors), Sharpies

Handouts and props:

Day One

  • Name Cards/tent cards
  • Exercise print handout sheets
  • Handouts of slide handouts 3 per page, double sided
  • Link to KCS Practices Guide in Library
  • Consortium case studies
  • Kooshball exercise: Kooshball, Need volunteer with watch that can time seconds and worksheet for notes, estimates and actual time recording (1 worksheet for each group of 15)


Day Two

  • Performance assessment – reports and measures exercise
  • Scenario for each team – instructions and a set of charts (there are three different scenarios, team should be 4 people)


Day Three

  • Communications exercise – 3X5 “postit/sticky notes”, 1 set of instructions for each group (each group has 6 people, including the mail server).
  • Dealing with objections – Index cards for each team
  • Workshop assessment/feedback form (optional)




Table of Contents


Introduction. 4

Workshop  Materials. 4

Exercise: Business Goals?. 7

Exercise: 3 Letter Body Parts. 8

Exercise: Process Change – the Koosh Ball 10

Example:  Article Elements in Practice. 14

Exercise: Characteristics of a Coach. 16

Exercise: What motivates people?. 19

Exercise: Motivation factors. 22

Exercise:  Strategic Framework. 25

Exercise: Building a Strategic Framework. 26

Strategic Framework Worksheet 26

Exercise: Communicating with Colleagues. 30

Exercise: Communication Messages. 32

Exercise FAQs and Objections: 35

Appendix A: Handouts. 44


Communication Exercise - 47


Communication Exercise - 48


Communication Exercise - 49






  • Maximizing your learning experience
  • Describe CSI
  • Identify your current business challenges
  • Explain the background of KCS
  • Define knowledge and the purpose of a knowledgebase


Getting Started


Site information

Take a moment to note a few important details about the training facility including locations of:

  • Restrooms
  • Telephones/Data ports
  • Reception Area/Hotel Front Desk
  • Restaurants/Cafeteria/Snack Areas 
  • Permitted/Restricted Parking Areas



The instructor will explain the basic logistical details of the workshop including:

  • Instructor name and name of course
  • Daily start, finish and break times
  • “Parking Lot” for questions and ideas
  • Restroom usage
  • Site permissions/restrictions on drinks/snacks in training room



You are responsible to read all the materials you receive as part of the workshop. The core materials for the workshop include:

  • KCS Practices Guide: This is your Knowledge-Centered Support workbook. It is yours to write in or highlight as needed for your future reference.  (option).  In can only print 50 pages at a time
  • Slide deck handout: PPT, printed 3 slides/page with room for notes
  • Exercise worksheets:   PPT, printed one slide per page



Knowledge-Centered Support (KCS): 3-day workshop.



At the end of this workshop you should be able to identify:

  • How to assess the value of Knowledge-Centered Support
  • The difference between incident management and knowledge management
  • How to optimize and track the use of knowledge
  • How the KCS workflow facilitates structured problem solving
  • The key roles and responsibilities of stakeholders
  • A new way to assess performance and contribution
  • How to successfully adopt knowledge management in your Support Center



Be prepared to share the following information about yourself with the class:

  • Name: _______________________
  • Company: ____________________
  • Brief Description of Current Position____________________________________________
  • Experience/observation(s) about …knowledge …____________________________________________
  • What burning questions do you have about knowledge management?____________________________________________



Your Responsibility

This workshop is intended to help you apply industry-specific concepts to your performance in your current position.  As a student of this workshop, you will optimize your time here by applying yourself to, and being responsible for, mastering KCS concepts. Please be prepared to commit to:

  • Be present
  • Participate fully
  • Take risks
  • Take notes
  • Ask questions
  • Enjoy yourself


Note: As a courtesy to others, please set pagers, cell phones and other personal devices to silent/vibrate mode.


Internalizing Your Learning

All individual, class or team exercises, activities and role-plays are designed to be an essential part of the KCS course. It is critical that you understand and are able to apply the concepts presented in this workshop to the exercises, role-plays or activities. These help make the workshop fun and will assist you in getting the most out of your learning experience.


Introductions and setting the context: It is important to review the agenda for the workshop and set the context for the workshop:

Day 1 is Overview/introduction of the entire KCS model, this is necessary in order to provide context or a framework for Day 2 and 3 which are the details of the model.  Day one is at 30,000 feet so we can see the entire KCS landscape, days 2 and 3 we will be landing on different parts of the KCS landscape and explore them in detail. 

Exercise: Business Goals?

What, exactly, are we trying to do?

What are the goals of your organization? Why does your company have a support organization?

List 3-5 goals/objectives:






Instructor Notes: Build the lists of goals and challenges based on what the attendees say, these list will be used later in the day to see how KCS relates to their environment.  Draw out the fact that SPEED, ACCURACY and CONSISTENCY are common themes in the goal of support organizations (this will be helpful to refer to in the “Body Parts” exercise.



Exercise: Three-Letter Body Parts


List as many G-rated body parts that are spelled with 3 letters that you can think of.




This exercise is to help the group connect with the idea that collectively they know more than any one of them alone and that when speed, accuracy and consistency are important we don’t always know what we know!. 

  • Ask the group to write down as many G-rated (might need to explain what G-rated is to those from other countries) body parts spelled with 3 letters. 
  • Only give them a minute or two, then ask them to draw a line at the bottom of their list.
  • For a small group: Ask for the words they had on their list and make a list on the flipchart
  • For a large group: have them improve their list by collaborating with two other people (groups of three).
  • Ask the whole group to tell you the words they had and make a list on a flip chart
  • Count the number of words and ask if anyone had the complete list? (usually 7-9 words)?
  • Ask how many people had 6 (or one less than the total the group got), work your way down to how many had 4?  
  • What if we had a knowledge base we could query? And this was the response (handout answers to body parts exercise (see Handout Masters section).
  • Ask the group if there are any words on the list that they didn’t know?


Key Learning points:

  • Collectively we know more than we do individually
  • Even for stuff we know a KB can be helpful… especially when speed, accuracy and consistency are important!  If we were support agents in the Funk & Wagnalls Support Center for words and we received a question about body parts spelled with three letters, we each would have given a different answer and all of them would have been a subset of the complete answer!!
  • A simple exercise to show the power of collective experience
  • Tacit knowledge versus explicit knowledge – tacit knowledge: the things we know but don’t know we know until someone asks a specific question


Sound bite: The objective is to create a knowledge base that complements each individual’s knowledge with the experience and knowledge of the whole organization – we are looking to capture the collective experience of answering customer questions and solving customer issues.



Exercise: Process Change – the Koosh Ball      

You will need:

  • One koosh ball (or something for the group to toss around, preferably something soft), and a watch with a second hand. And, someone to keep time for each attempt and notes on what the group is doing


Setup – Ask the group to think about key measures for process, things like (list on flip)


  • Speed or cycle time
  • Quality or compliance to requirements, consistency, predictable
  • Capacity or throughput
  • Resources needed
  • Expense


This exercise is about process improvement and we are going to focus on speed and quality.  (Move the group to an area where they can all stand in a large circle)


Instructions to Students

First we are going to invent a process and we are going to repeat the process and then see if we can improve on our speed and maintain the quality.


Rules of the game (quality requirements):

o   The process has to begin and end with me

o   Everyone must be involved and touch the ball, but only once (except for me)

o   Once we set the process/sequence we must be able to repeat the process/sequence

o   We can not drop the ball, if we do we must start over


Instructor starts by having them stand in a circle and throwing the ball across the circle to someone on the other side.  Each person can only get the ball once. Once they have successfully moved the ball all the way around the circle, with no one receiving the ball more than once, challenge them to now do it again, exactly repeating the pattern they used the first time – each person must throw the ball to the same person they threw to before.  Especially with a large group, they at first feel this is very challenging, but find it is actually quite simple.  Make the point that when we each contribute our part, even a very difficult job becomes quite easy (imagine if they had to individually memorize the order of how the ball moved around the circle).


Once the pattern is set, tell them the object of the game is to see how fast they can get it around in the circle. Ask them how fast they can get it around in the circle and have them provide estimates – usually from 12 seconds to a minute, depending on the size of the group.


As they try doing it faster, point out to them this is an example of how most individuals and organizations attempt to improve, through practice and doing things “better”, rarely by actually changing the nature of what they do.   Now challenge them to actually analyze their process and come up with a better way.  Usually at this point someone suggests they move in closer to each other.  Do this and see what improvement in time results.  The next improvement is usually to change places with each other, so they are in the same order around the circle as they move the ball.


It is important to let them discover these steps and not take over and tell them how to improve.  Make the point that these exceptional organizations do what they have done and actually focus on changing their processes and behaviors to make improvements in their results.  However, there a few unique organizations that go one-step further.  They don’t just improve their processes and analyze what they do to make changes, this is  what they DO for improvement.  They actually change their perspective of what their “job” is, in this case moving the ball around the circle.  They re-frame the task itself.


To help them with this concept let them know the record time is less than a second with a group of 25 people.  Now give them time to test and experiment, discuss and brain storm ideas.  Eventually they will come up with the idea of either putting the ball in the middle of the floor and everyone touches it (or some variation of this) or having someone hold the ball in the middle and everyone puts their hand or finger out, while the person holding the ball moves it quickly around the circle (usually while kneeling on the floor so everyone can get closer to them) touching each person.  This requires reframing the task so that  each person touching the ball (or being touched by the ball) is in the same order established at the start.


Key learning points/debrief


o   With practice we can improve the process incrementally (review results on flip) this is “refining”

o   For big leaps in improvements we had to change the model this is “re-engineering” the process.

o   Explore the differences between the types of change they did and the level of improvement

o   Refine – practice what they do to get better at it

o   Re-engineer – change how it is done

o   Re-think – do something entirely different


Get them to comment on the decision making process they used to gain the improvements. The point here is to draw out some of the key success factors for process and organizational change.

Q: What factors contributed to our success in improving the process?

A: (Typical responses from the group, list these on the a flip chart, they are important characteristics of a successful adoption process)  

o   Common goal/clear understanding of the goal

o   Participation - How did we do that? group input?

o   Risk - Willing to take risk, try things? What is the risk in business?

o   Visibility - Everyone could see the whole process, what if each person represented a whole department that did not have visibility to the whole process?


Get them to comment on their comfort level with changing the model? Profound change is seldom comfortable!


Did knowing the world record encourage more creativity? Why is that? What if you do not have an external benchmark, the value of an outside perspective?


Make a list of the observations they have about what made the exercise successful.  It is a good introduction to the things we will focus on for the rest of the program… the things that we need to successfully introduce the KCS practices.  




Example:  Article Elements in Practice



Differences Between Call/Incident Management and Knowledge Management

Ask the group a few questions about the difference between unstructured text and the structured article:

Q: which is easier to read?

Q: which involves less typing/time to create?

Q: what difference do you see in the vocabulary? (the Incident is written in the analysts context “NIC” instead of Network Card)

Q: is an actionable answer in the Incident?













This is a review exercise to evaluate what the group learned from day 1. Give the participants a copy of the Solve/Evolve Loop without the text and ask them to fill in as many blanks as they can in 3 minutes.  Ask them to read them back and describe what it means and list components on the board as they read them back.











Exercise: Characteristics of a Coach


Coaching is critical to a successful KCS adoption and should be the major focus of discussion in this section



Ask the participants to take a minute and think about someone in their life who has influenced them (parent, teacher, manager, mentor).  Have them write down the characteristics about that person. What enabled the person to be effective as a coach? 


Give them 3-4 minutes, then ask them for the items. Capture these on the board. They inevitably come up with all the right things that a coach needs to be.


The primary responsibility of a coach is to promote the development of the abilities of people.  To accomplish this, a coach must be comfortable working with others, and vice versa. This requires that members of the group have a high regard for the coach. 

The coach must be:

·       patient and thoughtful

·       willing to allow others the time needed to learn and develop their abilities


Ask the group to consider their lead technical people and think about whether they would be good coaches? Usually not – however, organizations have a tendency to pick their lead technical people as KCS coaches and most often it is a bad choice! 


A successful coach understands that their objective is move people from KCS Candidate to a KCS Contributor as quickly as possible.  Their goal is to accelerate the development of others in the KCS competency levels so that people can consistently create content not requiring further review. Coaches can get hooked on the role and power of reviewing articles and they don’t encourage or nominate individuals to become KCS Contributors.








Exercise: Performance Measures Scenarios


Set up:

o   Split the group up into teams of 4 people each

o   There are 3 scenarios; Scenario A,  Scenario B and Scenario C.. Be sure each team understands the scenario they have and the pages that are relevant for their scenario

o   Assign each group one scenario that they will focus on (it is fine if more than one group has the same scenario)

o   Let them know that they have been invited into a support center to analyze the KCS program

o   They should spend 10-15 min reviewing the metrics and developing questions

o   They can then ask the facilitator to play any of the roles of Manager, Coach or Knowledge Developer (KCS Candidate, KCS Contributor)

o   Using the notes below and some creativity the facilitator can answer their questions. 

o   Have the team take notes on what they would prescribe

o   At the end have the teams report back their observations and corrective actions


Refer to the Excel spreadsheets for the Instructor notes and the handouts for the scenarios.


Each of these scenarios is based on a real situation, they represent some of the experiences and “ditches” people have landed in when adopting KCS.


Distinguish between leading indicators (activity) and outcomes (results)

Have clear goals or targets for the outcomes

Provide the players with visibility to the trends in the leading indicators

Contribution assessment should be based on an understanding of all the metrics and the environment in which the individual is working.



Refer the attendees to the section in the Reference Guide on Performance Assessment. Walk through the example with Kim and Hector, encourage them to offer their observations.


Exercise: What motivates people?


Q: what creates inspiration? Here again we want to draw on the participants experience.  Ask them to think about a situation where they were inspired or highly motivated (perhaps offer an brief description of an experience of your own).   Then have them write down their thoughts on the characteristics of the environment that created that inspirational experience? 


Have the group give you their ideas and make a list on a flip chart… use their list to talk about the following ideas.


We have found two things to be effective as motivators:

alignment to a purpose

sense of accomplishment and recognition.


 Our experience in these areas is supported by extensive research. 


Alignment to a purpose: People are inspired when they believe in what they are doing and feel good about what they are contributing collectively. A powerful purpose has an emotional appeal.  For example, if you ask the analysts at VeriSign what VeriSign’s purpose is, they will quickly respond, “trust on the internet”. They feel a part of something that is valued, it has meaning to them, and they are proud to be part of it.


It is amazing how many employees don’t know their company’s purpose. It is also surprising how many companies have a purpose that is not compelling.  What makes the difference?

 A compelling purpose:

·       Is known by all

·       Is bigger than self, not self-referencing

·       Is brief, clear, concise

·       Elicits an emotional response

·       Is a value proposition


Some examples of compelling purposes:

·       Trust on the internet - VeriSign

·       Improving the quality of life through the application of technology – Microsoft

·       Where information lives – EMC

·       We create happiness - Disney


Two examples of non-compelling purposes:

·       To be the market leader in video monitors  Or to create worldclass network interface cards – these are self-referencing (not bigger than self), limiting and does not have a strong emotional appeal

·       To create wealth for the share holders


What about money? Producing a profit for the company owners or stockholders is a responsibility of the business in a for-profit model. 


Delivering a strong value proposition inevitably produces profit.  Profitability is a by-product of having a purpose that people feel emotionally tied to.


The importance of alignment to a purpose may seem remote to a analyst responding to customer requests for assistance.  However, as we make the transition to KCS we will be asking people to change how they do their work, and to increasingly exercise judgment in what they do. The degree to which individuals can understand the bigger picture not only encourages participation and gives them a sense of belonging and contribution, but it also gives them a basis on which to make good decisions.     


Accomplishment, recognition, responsibility: Extensive research has been done in the area of motivating employees.  The following chart summarizes the findings of an article published by the Harvard Business Review, “One more time: How do you Motivate Employees?” by Fredrick Hertberg.  This is one of Harvard Business Review’s most requested reprints. 


The research shows that the factors which contribute to job dissatisfaction are different from those which create satisfaction and motivation.




People often struggle with the role money/salary plays.  When asked what motivates people money inevitably comes up quickly,  yet if we look back at the list of items from the earlier exercise about an inspiring experience money is almost never mentioned.


Ask the group to consider how of their time is spent on the “hygiene items” Vs. the “motivator items”.  



Exercise: Motivation factors


Exercise on motivation factors – Hand out Motivating Factors worksheet and based on the chart ask the group to consider how KCS plays to the motivating factors.




In the KCS environment it is interesting to consider how and where these motivating factors contribute.


Worksheet: for each area write a few ideas on how KCS aligns with the top motivation factors.


Motivation factor














The work itself














              Examples: KCS Motivation Factor

Motivation factor



KCS proficiency level, earning the right to publish or becoming a KCS Coach

Creating articles others are using

Expanding breadth of product knowledge

Contributing to the goals of the organization in a measurable way

Collaborative, part of a group that is creating value for the business


Reputation based on creation of value in the KB, others know you because of your articles in the KB

Acknowledged for knowledge contribution through KCS measures and reports that are visible to the group

Acknowledged by organization leaders as role model for others

The work itself

Less redundancy, always working on interesting new things

Confidence in taking broad range of calls because the KB complements existing knowledge


Licensed to publish (KCS competency) without review by others(autonomy with accountability)

Licensed to modify/improve content

Part of a team

Collective ownership for content – “flag it or fix it”



These factors in KCS leads to a higher level of employee commitment and moral.

A copy of the article “One More Time: How Do You Motivate Employees?” by Frederick Herzberg is available from Harvard Business Review or









Start off with the Operational Model and ask the group to fill in the names of the 8 elements.  If the group is doing really well you may also ask them to write down one or two points about each element.



Exercise:  Strategic Framework



Identify and explain KCS objectives

Develop rewards and recognition programs


This section is an opportunity to tie together a number of pieces of the conversation from the day;

o   Use the work from the morning exercise on goals

o   Reflect on the Body Parts experience

o   Reflect on the Koosh ball experience – the importance of understanding the goals



Defining the Objectives

A key element in promoting understanding and confidence across the organization is the ability to link departmental objectives to the higher-level business goals.  This is also very valuable for people’s buy-in to KCS.  To create this link we use a simple but strategic framework that outlines the high-level business objectives. It is helpful to think of the business objectives in terms of the key stakeholders: customer, analyst and the organization.



Exercise: Building a Strategic Framework


This exercise helps us align the KCS benefits to the business goals.  The strategic framework is the foundation for a successful KCS adoption and is helpful in developing the communications plan. It enables us to talk with executives and correlate the KCS benefits to the high-level business objectives.  It also defines the items we need to focus on in the performance assessment system.



Strategic Framework Worksheet


Our Purpose:

[What is the company about? What is the core competency, the value proposition that will generate revenue and profit?]



Our Objectives: Thinking about the business objectives from the point of view of the 3 key stakeholders is helpful.

¨     [[Customer – ?]

¨     [Employee - ?]

¨     [Financial - ?]



Customer Focused


Objectives (what)

Approach (how)





























Employee Focused


Objectives (what)

Approach (how)


























Business Focused


Financial Objective (what)

Approach (how)






















Strategic Framework Exercise: This is the foundation of the KCS adoption plan. The exercise is to give the attendees an opportunity to discuss the initiatives.


o   Point them to the worksheets in their workbook – NOTE we will work on the first two columns only (what and how) in this exercise.

o   Make discussion groups of 4 people

o   For a large group - Have each team select a stakeholder perspective that they will work on

o   Usually the teams need help getting started, give them an example to get them started 

o   Give them 15 min to discuss the Initiatives and Approach. They should take notes and be prepared to present recommendations..

o   Have them report back to the group 




Strategic Framework Example


Customer focus

Business Objective (what)

Approach (how)

KCS Contribution

Customer satisfaction/ loyalty




Improve customer productivity

First time fix

Shorter resolution time

Proactive, problem avoidance

Emotional connection based on experience over time

Know the customer, know their business.

Product quality, product relevance

Collective knowledge vs.. individual knowledge


Reuse of known articles


Reuse of similar articles to solve new problems


Access to knowledgebase


Identify product improvements based on customer experiences


Trusted partner



Accuracy and consistency of answers.

Easy to do business with



Understands customer business

Access to knowledgebase

Knowledge in the customer’s context




Employee focus


Business Objective (what)

Approach (how)

KCS Contribution

Employee Satisfaction




Create a sense of accomplishment


Interesting work

Autonomy with accountability

Individual and team contribution to the KB

Recognize problem solving skills through the KB

Less redundant work

Right to publish (for licensed analysts)

Employee Capabilities



Access to knowledgebase improves analyst confidence

Accuracy and consistency of answers.

Increase breadth of products supported


Business Focus


Business Objective (what)

Approach (how)

KCS Contribution





Customer retention

Speed of new product adoption by customer

Product quality and relevance

Customer confidence



Cost of training

Faster resolution time

Reduce escalations

Lower turnover rate

Reduce time to proficiency of new analysts


Protect and improve revenue

Reduce costs of support




Exercise: Communicating with Colleagues


See Appendix A for masters for the handouts, this exercise is best done after a break.


Directions:  Set up chairs as indicated in the diagram below. Place the instruction sheet for each position face down on the chairs with 10-15 post-it-notes or index cards. Each person will need to bring a pen/pencil to write with.


Assign a “mail server” (pick someone and give them their instruction sheet).


Have the attendees sit in the seats, try to have the higher level managers sit in C, D or E (the back row, see diagram below).  


Tell them not to look at their instructions until we begin the exercise.

Explain there is no talking in this exercise and all communications must be done by email through the mail server via written notes.


Explain that everything they need to know is on their instruction sheet.


Remind them no talking, email only and tell them to begin.


Note: Only the A person has the objective of the exercise, the people in the other seats will be confused and some times verbalize this “what are we supposed to do” kind of questions, stifle this as quickly as possible and remind them talking is not allowed for this exercise.


Give them 15 min. to work on the problem, about half of the groups who do this will solve the puzzle in 15 min. half will not.  (the arrow object is the correct answer)


When 15 min is up, tell each group to put their chairs in a circle and discuss what was going on.  Give them 5 min to do this.


Get the group back together and debrief the exercise by asking:

Q: Who were the C, D, E people and ask them how they felt during the exercise

Q: Who were the Bs, how did you feel?

Q: Who were the As, how did you feel?


Through this discussion draw out the key Learning points: 

o   Executives often assume the whole organization knows what they know and see the situation as they see it.

o   The back row wants to help, but often can’t do anything due to lack of understanding of the goal!

o   The Hierarchy is terrible at facilitating communication

o   Email is not always the best way to communicate – do more face to face,




Exercise: Communication Messages


Break the class up groups (3-4 people) let them pick which audience they would like to work on - Analyst, Manager/Supervisor or Executive (make sure each group is covered by at least one team).  Have each group spend 5-10 minutes working on the key messages and the elevator pitch.  Then have them report back to the group what they came up with.  


Examples of WIIFM

·      Analyst

o   Reduce stress – uncertainty about ability to handle the next call

o   Less redundant work – not having to solve the same problem over and over again

o   An opportunity to do more interesting work

o   Reputation gained through contribution to the KB

·      Manager/Supervisor

o   Resource constraints – increase capacity of the team

o   Happier more motivated team

o   Reduce case volume (over time)

o   Skills and expertise development

o   Decrease on boarding time 


·      Executives

o   Increase productivity of the organization

o   Improve customer success and satisfaction

o   Employee satisfaction

o   Increase productivity and capacity



Discuss and agree on the following items from each of the 3 audience’s point of view.


Key messages (WIIFM)

Elevator pitch



1. Key Messages

Develop a few (3-5) key messages for the audience.  These should address the question what’s in it for me (WIIFM)






5. _____________________________________________________________

2. Elevator Pitch

If you stepped onto the elevator and where asked by a stakeholder,  “What is this KCS thing all about?”  You have 30-45 seconds (the shorter the better) to provide a compelling response, What would you say to the…






1. Key Messages

Develop a few (3-5) key messages for the audience.  These should address the question what’s in it for me (WIIFM)






5. _____________________________________________________________

2. Elevator Pitch

If you stepped onto the elevator and where asked by a stakeholder, “What is this KCS thing all about?”  You have 30-45 seconds (the shorter the better) to provide a compelling response, What would you say to the…







1. Key Messages

Develop a few (3-5) key messages for the audience.  These should address the question what’s in it for me (WIIFM)






5. _____________________________________________________________

2. Elevator Pitch

If you stepped onto the elevator and where asked by a stakeholder, “What is this KCS thing all about?”  You have 30-45 seconds (the shorter the better) to provide a compelling response, What would you say to the…



Bring the groups back together and have them present to each other. Ask for comments, reactions on the WIIFM and elevator pitches



Exercise FAQs and Objections:

Using the same teams with the same audience as their focus have the groups spend 10 minutes brainstorming questions or objections that they could expect from their respective audiences. Then have them write down the two that they think would be hardest to answer on an index card or piece of paper.  (These will be passed on to another group to answer, but don’t tell them this until they are done developing the questions.)  



With your group, discuss and agree on what some of the questions or objections might be to KCS.


















FAQ’s and Objections – pick two that you think are the hardest to answer and write each of them on index cards or 2 separate pieces of paper. 



Exercise: Dealing with FAQ’s and Objections


Use the list of FAQ’s and Objections compiled in the Communications Exercise and develop answers to the top 2 objections for the analysts, manager, executive.




Objection ____________________________________________________


Answer ______________________________________________________


Objection ____________________________________________________


Answer ______________________________________________________




Objection ____________________________________________________


Answer ______________________________________________________


Objection ____________________________________________________


Answer ______________________________________________________




Objection ____________________________________________________


Answer ______________________________________________________


Objection ____________________________________________________


Answer ______________________________________________________


When each group has written up two tough objections,, bring them back together, have each group read the though objection/question.  Then have them pass the two questions on to another group to answer.  So each group is now working on the answers for objections/questions from another group.  Give them 5-10 min. to agree on an answer and bring them back together to present their answers.  Propose that they may want to revisit the WIIFM for the audience they are addressing.


Ground rule – the answer has to be acceptable to the group who authored the questions.


Help the group refine the answers.


This is also a good time to review basic techniques in handling objections:

o   Seek to understand their context (underlying belief that would be the basis for their objection)

o   Acknowledge the persons feelings

o   Validate the persons perception(s)

o   Explore the possibilities of a different way to look at the issue (this will often involve a shift or broadening of the beliefs)

Notes on objections:

Q: You want my knowledge so that you can fire / outsource me?

o   Move underlying belief from ‘I am valued for what I know and problems I know how to solve’ to ‘I am valued for my problem solving skills and my ability to learn and to help other learn’

o   There are no guarantees.  Reassurance of employment is dependent on you showing value to the company, and KCS allows you to add value, and be recognized for it.

o   We are playing in a global capitalistic economy, and resources will always flow to the lowest cost (highest value) provider

o   The question is what value do you produce? If your day to day work is based just on answering repeat problems (and you add no other value), your job is at risk . But, if you are solving new problems and adding value through the KB and you are getting better at solving problems by using the KB than you are less at risk.

o   Emphasize that the gain for them is the reduction in repetitive questions, moving them into higher and more valued roles, KCS Contributor, KCS Publisher, etc.

o   A poor or only average player  will be given greater capabilities through KCS where they can draw on the knowledge and experience of others and show greater value in what you can do

o   We might message a little differently if the person has a technical vs. a soft skills competency (we still need both). .


Q: We already do KM and we have a KB?

o   Are you achieving the expected results from your KM initiative?  If yes remind them that KCS is the next step in leveraging the value of knowledge. It could be an opportunity to optimize the KM processes.  Do you have people working full time on quality, full time on creating knowledge; are you concerned that it takes too long to get knowledge captured and published? 

o   If everything is 'really good', go through the methodology to determine if there are practices that could be identified to further optimize what you are doing.  If they say they already have a knowledge manager and team, how do you sell this to the knowledge engineers who come to the class?  We could elevate the value of those people with the enhanced practice that is more integrated. 


Q: Don't have the time for it, as a manager or as an analyst.

o   As an analyst if you're doing good incident management, it will save you time.  If you're not doing good incident management, that has to be fixed, but you gain back the time with a good implementation.

o   Explain that it may in fact take extra effort up front, but show them through the ROI models how much time will subsequently be freed up.  It's vital that management make changes in SLA's or other work to free up time at the start to give the extra capacity to get KCS started.  Greg reports that typically when mgmt make this commitment, it’s seldom that they actually experience drops in service levels.


Q:How/can't get Exec buy in.

o   Have to know the business objectives they have.

o   The strategic framework is the 'key' tool for aligning the benefits of KCS to their corporate objectives.


Q:What's the value proposition for the Mgr.?

o   You're a change agent.

o   You're cutting cost for the organization, you're increasing customer satisfaction, you now have time to take on highly valued areas for the company and it can be career enhancing for them.

o   DSJ's concern was that some managers have compensation tied to staff and budget - but consensus was that this was less these days than in the past.

o   For people who care about their people, KCS gives them much greater insight into how to help them.


Q:Don't have money / resources to do it (Mgr) ... technology

o   Go back to the strategic framework for alignment of KCS.

o   Show ROI.

o   You need to prove it up with a combination of ROI and strategic framework

o   KCS becomes your 'training initiative'.  Think the 'just-in-time' concept rather than the training done 'just-in-case' you might need to know it.


Q: Writing skills.  I can't write and I wasn't hired to be a tech writer.

o   If you are already doing a good job of incident management, this is seldom a problem.

o   If the intent is to go external with content, customers are more interested in getting answers and are more forgiving on the quality and appearance of the product.

o   Typing, spelling, readability is more important in differing environments.

o   Structure of KCS is important.  The emphasis is on creating 'nuggets' versus 'paragraphs'. 

o   KCS often allows you to pull from existing knowledge whether it is in the KB or coming from the incident management system.

o   Can invoke the 'collaborative' aspect of just-in-time quality where people improve on one another's work.

o   Most everyone who can deliver a coherent article to a customer, can author a reusable knowledge object.

o   Articles are often the result of multiple contributors, and it isn't just up to one person.



Q: Others won't participate

o   Need to have a sponsor

o   Better to thread across multiple levels.

o   We often under estimate the value of the knowledge made by level 1.

o   Get one group going and successful, then let that success be the motivation for expansion.

o   Have a plan to raise visibility to other organizations.


Q: No ROI / what is the ROI

o   Refer back to strategic framework which links benefits of KCS to business objectives.

o   Do a business case, and don't do just a numbers based ROI.

o   Help them on how to create an ROI and determine both the hard and soft ROI numbers.


Q: How do you get analysts to put their knowledge in the KB

o   HBR motivation list.

o   Change the performance review objectives.

o   John thinks people under 40 care more about  job profession, career, and doing what's right.  Older staff are trying to meet job expectations, versus younger wanting more excitement in the job.   Managers need to understand how to motivate younger versus older staff.  Quality of Life differs between the two age groups.  Younger people want to be treated as a whole person.  Older may be happy to see themselves as a 'cog' and do not want to mix personal life with work life. 



We have now completed the basis for the communications plan, we have the target audiences, the WIIFM (which in many cases links back to the Strategic Framework), an elevator pitch and some objections and FAQs. `






For most organizations the adoption of KCS represents a transformation.  It requires a shift in the organization’s culture (i.e. values and focus).  It requires a balance in focus:



Mental Model Shifts

Mindset shift – mental model shift



Before KCS

After KCS

Knowledge vs. Experience

Everything in the KB should be perfect

The KB represents our collective experience to-date, it will never be perfect

A good KB should tell me exactly what the right answer is

Use of the KB requires judgment on the part of the users, it complements what I know

Knowledge, once known, can be published and reused

Knowledge is dynamic and knowledge that is reused is constantly being improved

Just-in-case vs. just-in-time

All content should be reviewed by knowledge engineers

Content is reviewed as we use it; knowledge engineering is integrated into the problem solving process and workflow. In this way only content that is being used is reviewed (demand driven)

There should be no errors or incomplete articles in the KB

There will always be errors and incomplete articles in the KB. The KCS processes minimize the impact of errors and maximize the benefit of our collective knowledge.

I need to go to weeks of training to learn all the product functionality just in case I need to know it

I learn about products as I solve problems, I learn what I need to know based on demand, just-in-time

Individuals vs. Teams

My success is independent from the success of others

My success depends on others and their success depends on me

Why should I share what I know

I am willing to share what I know in order to gain access to what we all know; the KB improves my confidence

Individual ownership vs. collective ownership

No one should be able to modify my articles, and I don’t want to modify others’ articles

The environment is too dynamic for a single point of control. Others will improve the articles that I create based on their experience and for our collective benefit.

The KB is full of garbage, they should fix it

If I find it I own it, I will improve articles I find, and if I don’t understand a article I will flag it for rework.  KCS rewards those who choose to help

Management vs. Leadership

I must tell people how to do their jobs

I must articulate a vision and criteria for success so the people can make the right decisions about how they should do their jobs

People are rewarded for their activity

People are rewarded for the value they create in the organization

Call avoidance

Efficient customer engagement




























Appendix A: Handouts


This section includes the master sheets for:


Notes sheet for the Koosh ball exercise (can do this on a flip chart)


Handouts for the Communications exercise


Koosh Ball Notes for the timekeeper




Estimated Time

Actual Time




First time, tossing

































































Communication Exercise - Messenger’s Instructions

(email server)


Please deliver email as rapidly as you can.


Only deliver messages which are properly addressed. 

This requires “to” and “from,” use of letter not names of people, no routing or distribution lists.  


In addition, they cannot pass their instruction sheet.


If message is not properly addressed, give it back to the person who wrote it and explain that it needs to be addressed…





Communication Exercise -


In this project, you are A.  The project reporting structure is as follows:  B reports to you; C, D, and E report to B.

Each of you has been given five symbols, each of which is one of six familiar symbols.  Your job is to find out which of the six symbols is held in common.  You mush finish the job in 15 minutes.  You may communicate with B only through the exchange of written notes (“emails”).  B may exchange notes with you and C, D, and E.  C, D, and E may exchange notes with B only.  No other communication is permitted. No talking.


Notes must be addressed TO:   and   FROM:  and handed to your mail server.


To elaborate:

There are six unique symbols.

Each person has five of these six possible symbols.

There are four copies of five of the symbols. 

There are five copies of one of the symbols.

You are to determine which one symbol is held by all five people in the organization.

Your symbols are as follows:












Communication Exercise -



In this project, you are B. 

A and B may exchange notes (A is in front of B).

C, D, and E may exchange notes only with B (C,D,E are behind B).


Notes must be addressed TO:   and   FROM:  and handed to your mail server.


No other communication is permitted. No talking.


You will find five symbols below.


You may not show this instruction sheet to any other person.










The 5 Symbols











Communication Exercise -


In this project, you are C. 

C, D, and E may exchange (send and receive) notes only with B (B is in front of you).

Notes must be addressed TO:   and   FROM:  and handed to your mail server.

A and B may exchange notes.


No other communication is permitted. No Talking.


You will find five symbols below.


You may not show this instruction sheet to any other person.










The 5 Symbols












Communication Exercise -


In this project, you are D. 

C, D, and E may exchange (send and receive) notes only with B (B is in front of you).


Notes must be addressed TO:   and   FROM:  and handed to your mail server.

A and B may exchange notes.


No other communication is permitted. No Talking


You will find five symbols below.


You may not show this instruction sheet to any other person.







The 5 Symbols














Communication Exercise -


In this project, you are E. 

C, D, and E may exchange (send and receive) notes only with B (B is in front of you).

Notes must be addressed TO:   and   FROM:  and handed to your mail server.

A and B may exchange notes.


No other communication is permitted. No Talking.


You will find five symbols below.


You may not show this instruction sheet to any other person.







 The 5 Symbols











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