A Day in the Life of a Knowledge Manager – A Cautionary Tale
Building a successful knowledge management practice to capture, share, and transfer institutional knowledge is more essential than ever. IT operations’ need to innovate, provide services globally, and improve employee experiences. Leading a knowledge management practice requires a unique set of skills, but what capabilities are essential for the early success of a knowledge manager?
Most knowledge managers will tell you that building a knowledge management practice is an incredible opportunity to make a difference. Still, the challenges are significant, and a knowledge manager needs the right skills to successfully navigate common pitfalls. If you are new to the position, here are three things to focus on when starting a new job:
When you are faced with leading an organization through a strategic and cultural change, it is easier to accomplish your goals with an army than by yourself. One of the first things a knowledge manager should do is to identify critical resources across the organization who desire a robust knowledge management practice but are willing to go above and beyond to make it happen. A team of knowledge champions that span across functional silos is ideal. Look for individuals with the skills to get the job done, are passionate about achieving success, and influence the organization to prioritize knowledge management.
Remember, the people are your highest priority because they are the ones that will create success and drive toward the results. While the technology or platform is essential, and many organizations start there, the right people will create the needed cultural change and work toward building a shared value system.
Knowledge managers need to advocate for change and help motivate the rest of the organization to embrace knowledge management practices. Gaining executive commitment is critical as the organization’s strategy should include key objectives for knowledge management initiatives. Also, the knowledge manager must ensure that the time and effort to implement a knowledge management practice pays off with a positive return on the invested time and resources.
Tech execs must create a vision of the future state that will inspire the organization while also changing performance incentives based upon OKRs for the knowledge management practice. Tech execs need to actively support, talk about why it is essential, and recognize those who exemplify the new values and celebrate the success that teams achieve. With leadership support, the knowledge manager can focus on quick wins and gradually work across the organization to create change.
Knowledge management initiatives’ most significant problem is that there is no magic formula to develop the right balance of values, beliefs, and structure to change hearts and minds to a knowledge-sharing culture.
Knowledge workers resist knowledge management initiatives not because they don’t understand the value but because they don’t have the time. To successfully change the culture, the knowledge manager needs to work with a diverse group of stakeholders across the organization to share the vision and define the value of knowledge management practices to each team. When people understand why they need to support knowledge management, and leaders are firm in their resolve to make it happen, the organization is positioned to make the necessary changes to the value system of knowledge workers and drive greater collaboration.
A knowledge manager needs a diversity of skills and experiences. If your organization is seeking a knowledge manager and needs help defining the knowledge manager role, please check out my report: Role Profile – Head Of Knowledge Management.
Have questions? That’s fantastic. Let’s connect and continue the conversation! Please reach out to me through social media or request a guidance session. Follow my blogs and research at Forrester.com.