What (and when…) The Knowledge Manager (really) Knows?

Tough question, isn’t it? And yet, along my service as the Knowledge Manager within the Engineering & Planning division of Bezeq, It crossed my mind that there is no approved and developed methodology for that job. So, why not sharing my experience and integrate it to all CKO’sSome basics:KM is a “young” one, but digging and reading you may find that it deals with 2 major issues:

  • It allows the organization to act, function and perform – better and efficient, and therefore managing knowledge increases the profit and the incomes of the organization, and, more than that,
  • It shows the organization the hidden competences and abilities to do things that were latent and unaware, and that the organization can do, and therefore it increases the value and the intellectual capital of the organization

New discipline, language, positions:KM brings a whole new range of culture characteristics: Among them, the knowledge Manager or the CKO, Chief knowledge officer. According to my experience, the Knowledge Manager has different roles in indifferent phases of the program: which lead to explain the phases.3 steps toward the Managing knowledge and learning organization:An “ordinary” organizationIt seems that many orgs are at that state, why not? The sky appears to be clear ‘with no gray clouds. This org did not experience a crisis event, no competition in the business field, no incentive to move, to changeMany orgs see the picture mistakenly: they are waiting for a ‘negative’ crisis event such as organizational changes etc.Clever leaders don’t hesitate: when they realize and analyze the whole picture – they act, meaning: going to the next phase, he knows that initiating a KM program will be a lever to innovation end organizational excellence.Organization in Process (KM program)At this phase, initiating a KM program, the leaders must beware: Don’t try to solve a non-problem…you must focus and point your finger, sharp, loud and with a clear voice. A proper rational must be set to all other managers subordinate to the leader. They role must be understood; the leader role is to mentor them. It is personal decision and a difficult one, but this is what we call leadership: a brave, rare and admirable vision, within the whole organization. Leaders must fully understand the risks, the tremendous personal efforts, the big chunks of management attention and time, care for the leader as well as for all other managers. It is at that time that you go to have a specialist, a fine “Doctor”. At this point, the leader call for a proper consultant suitable to help the leader to deliver the change needed. The outside view through a consultancy eye is vital in order to raise and interpret cultural and procedural issues the one cannot see if he is within. There are many stories that show why the route must be; Culture – then: Process – then: Tools. If you don’t have a cultural infrastructure to support processes, no tool can deliver the good for you.. The proper step now, is to set a KM & Organizational Learning program .It consists of a conceptual design, detailed planning which all deliver to proper execution. This is a dramatic point at the whole journey. The leader is now focusing on leading this journey through all waves and barriers; the consultant is focusing on Organizational Development activities as an infrastructure with all managers .No mistakes allowed now. The damage can be irreversible. It is at that phase that the leader nominate the Knowledge Manager .It must be a full time job, dedicated attention is needed, that in order to successfully facilitate the whole move. The on selected as the Knowledge Manager must know and must feel the most tiny nuances of his organization, this knowledge is vital for the success of the program, he must have the talent to swim blind within the organizational underground pipelines. He must have the knowledge about the knowledge: Knowledge about “who knows what” and knowledge about Knowledge Management.Many organizations do not nominate such a unique person. To my view it is only a matter of understanding the whole issue: once the leader acknowledge that people and their intellectual capital are in the center, the decision is clear.A Steering committee is established and 3-4 times a year it guides and steer the KM program team see that everything is on track.Managing Knowledge and Learning Organization At this phase there is no KM program, it is finished now, al people and units are working as a team towards achieving one goal. All managers and workers delivering knowledge, developing new knowledge, innovation is the name of the game here: all organizational efforts are focused toward creativity, invention and innovation. It is now the time that each one sees the opportunity to “upgrade” himself on a regular basis: in order to create and innovate. The Captain must not leave the bridge even now: leadership must be seen and people must feel it, that in order to flourish the process more and more. The knowledge Manager now often act and nominate as CKO – Chief Knowledge Officer: when there is no cooperation and creation of new knowledge within the organization – it is on his shoulders now. At that time all tools and infrastructures are set: tools support all business needs in order to do things better and to create new developments. And what about the consultant? At this time he helps the leader and the knowledge manager to assess the program, its deliverables and help design the roadmap ahead.  From KM Program Manager to Knowledge Manager – What happened on the way? What (and when) the Knowledge manager really knows? The knowledge manager is a tough job, he must facilitate the whole move from “practice” to the “promise” and there is a desirable promise. All frustrations, under-estimations, organizational chaos – are “thrown” at his face from all managers and workers along the program. There are many issues that undermine the program: fears and uncomfortable feelings of people, they do not believe in their power to change, if they are trying to survive – you cannot motivate them to act and to share. Many latent powers tackle the program. The most complex one is the need to describe an abstract concept. For most managers and workers KM is a big jump: they cannot contain it, it must be done carefully and step-by-step. At this time, leadership from high management must be dominant; knowledge manager must feel the leader’s spirit blown in the corridors.  

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