For knowledge workers, being involved – either by choice or assignment – in the development of knowledge strategy is a rare opportunity. And a great way to strengthen (and then apply) knowledge management/knowledge services skills.
Whether working on corporate knowledge strategy or trying to develop knowledge strategy for one or more business units, dealing with strategic knowledge as it connects to the workplace is one of the most rewarding jobs you can undertake.
Why? Because in most companies people talk about “knowledge management,” “KM,” “knowledge services,” or “knowledge strategy” but the terms are used loosely, without much thought behind them.
So one of the reasons developing a corporate knowledge strategy is so rewarding is that it gives you the chance to drill down deeper than most people get to do in their work. Developing knowledge strategy not only forces you (and your colleagues) to talk about what strategic knowledge is, you get to identify how people work with knowledge, talk with them about what their knowledge development and knowledge sharing (KD/KS) requirements are, and try to come up with solutions so they can do KD/KS better.
It’s also a little scary, since most organizational leaders are anxious to confirm that KM and knowledge services and a corporate knowledge strategy are in place, even when they are not clear about the language they are using. When your company’s leaders come into your knowledge strategy development picture (as they will, because as you take on knowledge strategy development, they’re the corporate folks you’re going to talk to first), your best approach is to capture their attention by linking knowledge strategy to the company’s business strategy.
I like Michael Zack’s way of looking at it, put forward in a paper now more than ten years old but still valuable for background when we’re working with corporate management. From Zack’s paper (Developing a Knowledge Strategy, published in California Management Review, 41 (3), Spring, 1999), we come to understand that the organization’s knowledge strategy is a business strategy that takes into account its intellectual resources and capabilities. If that’s the case – and I assert that it is – then it becomes easier to talk with management because we’re speaking their language. Executives understand the corporation’s competitive roles and goals, and as we put the development of a knowledge strategy into a framework that attaches to those roles and goals, the value of the corporate intellectual infrastructure – which our strategy will strengthen – becomes clear.
In dealing with knowledge strategy, our first step is to recognize the established connection between strategy planning and the management of strategic issues. And what are those “strategic issues,” in terms of knowledge strategy? Anything in the KD/KS context that causes concern or impacts organizational performance or effectiveness. From my perspective, I think of strategic issues as those things the company must get right (or, as one manager remarked, “what keeps managers up at night”).
Here’s my list:
- Organizational structure
- Financial planning/management
- Information management and information technology
- KM/knowledge services management and delivery
- Infrastructure planning/future services
These are all issues for which a solid, well-thought-out knowledge strategy can provide critical support.
But it’s my list. What’s yours?
Do you agree? Is this the list of issues that keep you up at night?
And how do you connect these issues to KM/knowledge services in your workplace? Want to share a few examples?
If you make the connection between business strategy and knowledge strategy – and how the connection affects the company’s success – you’re well on your way to understanding what you want as you put your knowledge strategy together.
Md Santo says
LINKING AND MATCHING BUSINESS STRATEGY INTO KNOWLEDGE STRATEGY
The following is my point of view on KM Strategy cited from my own article : MOBEE KNOWLEDGE KM STRATEGY – http://mobeeknowledge.ning.com/forum/topics/mobee-knowledge-km-strategy among others are : ……. In developing “KM Strategy” it depends entirely on how do we taxonomies KM itself. Our Mobee Knowledge as corporate developing KM Strategy based on our Human System Biology-based KM (HSBKM) model as the outcome of our KM taxonomy and then integrated further into our KM 2.0 Visual Map. ( visit our K-base http://delicious.com/mobeeknowledge/humansystembiology , http://delicious.com/mobeeknowledge/knowledgemap and special emphasize on our “KM 2.0 Basic Visual Map – http://bit.ly/bTzgUz )
Our resulting KM Strategy covering four major strategies of KM. The first is strategy in treating KM as an access mechanism that can be used across any management tool type in which we divide it into four themes : Basic Oriented – Planned Oriented – Techno Oriented – and Urgency Oriented types of Management tool. The second strategy is developing strategies of three types of learning domain : Human (Individual) Learning – Organizational Learning – and Machine (IT/ICT) Learning. The third strategy is developing Business Plan framework covering Vision-Mission-Goals-Objectives-Strategic & Action Planning. And the fourth is managing the main components of our Human System Biology-based KM model as follow : KM Tools covering IT/ICT, Web 1.0 and 2.0 incl. Social Media platforms – KM Process Framework covering Human (Tacit) Mind including Web 3.0, AI and/or Semantic Web – and KM Standards (KM Culture & Value) covering Codified / Explicit Knowledge or Organizational Tacit, Human Social Behavior, Organizational Culture (Learning Organization) ( visit http://mobeeknowledge.ning.com/forum/topics/mobee-knowledge-human-s… and http://mobeeknowledge.ning.com/forum/topics/human-system-biology-hs… )
Therefore, ‘Business Strategy’ had been included as within third strategy of KM strategy considering : …..Knowledge Management (KM) essentially is not management technique but behaving more as an access mechanisms that can be used across any management tool type such as Business Strategy, Total Quality Management, Learning Organization, Benchmarking, Process Classification Framework, Business Process Reengineering, Balanced Scorecard, Business Intelligence including Social Media 2.0 platforms etc. wherein each with their specific functions to be orchestrated under KM’s consciousness. So, here we put KM in incredibly broad meaning as subject with higher level than any other management tool type which is treated only as object ( http://www.scribd.com/doc/28696847/How-to-re-postulating-the-paradi… and http://mobeeknowledge.ning.com/forum/topics/why-knowledge-management-has )
GStC response: Thank you for that cogent comment, Dr. Santo. Much food for thought here, and your four major strategies for KM will be helpful as we in KM/knowledge services seek to connect the corporate business strategy with corporate knowledge strategy. Particularly taken with our approach that attaches KM to the 3rd strategy as behaving as an access mechanism. Well said.
Dina Tomoum via the KM Forum LinkedIn Group commented: I would [add] Change management to the list.. nice article.
Thanks, Dina. You’re right. Change management is a critical “piece” of the whole business strategy/knowledge strategy connection. You might be interested in the last third of a presentation I give week before last at an international conference, where I tried to present a practical approach to change management: The text is here.
John Tropea commented through the LinkedIn Knowledge Managers Group:
I agree that KM needs to help enhance and remedy current pain points and strategy, but it also needs to offer new things…a better way to work.
I also think there is an equilibrium in that strategy can learn from KM ie. because of KM our strategies can be made better
I really like the complexity view on strategy
Thanks, John. Good comment and I’m going to be thinking about what some of those “new things” we should offer might be. Spoke recently with a colleague in a pretty important leadership position at a huge int’l organization in Washington, and he pointed out that most of what we’re talking about in KM/knowledge services today is about a decade behind the times, e.g., behind what’s needed in the workplace.
I was surprised because I somehow have this idea that we’re pretty cutting-edge in our thinking about these things, and yet when my team works with some of our clients, we’re still have to do quite a bit of “bringing up-to-date.”
So you’re right: a lot of knowledge strategy development is dealing with those pain points.
Hmmm. Got to articulate those better ways to work.
Appreciate those good links. Like having this kind of knowledge sharing at the site.
Glad you’ve commented. I’ve worked quite a lot on KM in your wonderful country (but on the other coast) and I have many happy memories about your part of the world. Thanks.
Sergio Storch says
Guy, that´s a great post!
I would add to that list:
– core competence development
– leadership development
Great to read you and Dr. Santo
Thanks, Sergio. Appreciate your kind words and your additional content. Yes, we could do an entire post – or several – on leadership development. It’s something I’m running up against so often in my work. Many in the workplace are now beginning to “come along” with the idea of KM/knowledge services but not quite ready to take on a leadership or “strengthening” role. We need to work on htat.
Core competence development is a real need, and I agree that we need to build it into the KM/knowledge services framework. I had some experience with a client a few years ago, and once we got through the talking-about-it stage (I guess that was the knowledge development/knowledge sharing bit, wasn’t it?), have core competencies described made quite a difference in the organization. And particularly with senior management.
Thanks again for good comment.
Paul McDowall says
“Strategy” approaches to KM tend to come in three varieties: seperate KM strategies, integrated KM strategies and embedded KM strategies. The first one is not connected and has littel chance of achieving any lasting business value. The second is dependent upon the KM team’s ability to accomplish their objectives. The third one involves a true partnership with a very clear business focus and no extraneous activity. It seems that you are addressing the second one in your post. IMHO it would be better to focus on the most effective approach.
Therefore, ‘Business Strategy’ had been included as within third strategy of KM strategy considering :http://resync.org/ …..Knowledge Management (KM) essentially is not management technique but behaving more as an access mechanisms that can be used across any management tool type such as Business Strategy