We’re all agreed that a key element in the success of any KM/knowledge services strategy is strategic learning. Indeed, strategic learning is one of the three “legs” (as we often say) of knowledge services, converging with information management and knowledge management to establish corporate knowledge-sharing success.
One of management’s biggest challenges, though, is coordinating these key elements. From the SMR International perspective, there’s a critical first step: bring together HR and knowledge strategy leaders in the corporation, creating a special purpose community of practice to follow the progress of knowledge strategy implementation and, when required, to provide directed interventions when they are recognized and required.
Why HR? There are a couple of reasons. One has to do with the “place” of strategic learning and training within the corporation. Despite many well-intentioned (and on-going) efforts to move learning and training activities into a dedicated functional unit, in most companies these activities fall under the aegis of HR and that’s not going to change. More important, though, is the fact that the HR focus is enterprise wide, and any programs, activities, or informational or regulatory direction is going to emanate throughout the company, adding authority to the process since HR – like legal, accounting or, of course, payroll activities – are given universal attention within the organization.
But HR is not necessarily an educational or knowledge-sharing function, you say. Of course, and that’s why the idea of a knowledge strategy-focused CoP connected with HR can be such a powerful foundation for excellence in knowledge strategy implementation. In working with the senior management person responsible for directing corporate knowledge strategy (whether acknowledged formally with a title along the lines of something like knowledge strategy director or not), HR management ensures that KM/knowledge services concepts, ideas, structures, and content match what the company needs.
And to add icing to the cake: The ideal CoP (or team or focus group or planning group – what you call it doesn’t matter) doesn’t just include HR management and knowledge strategy leadership. An ideal CoP with this focus will include senior management – or at least a representative of senior management – for each of the major divisions or operational functions of the organization. When top organizational leaders and management thinkers come together with HR leadership and knowledge leadership, the company is on the road to established excellence in KM/knowledge services and by definition constitutes itself as a knowledge culture.