Reviewing a few recent client assignments, I find myself intrigued when we get to speaking about what works and what doesn’t work.
I’m also stimulated by comments offered in response to a previous SMR post about Sharing Techniques from the Development Community (which itself was inspired by Ian Thorpe’s Learning as Part of the Brand). As a result, I’m now seeing a perhaps-common thread, an opening for us to look at the connection between what we’re doing with KM/knowledge services and change management in the organizations we work with.
Don’t run away. Yes, I know the term “change management” often brings about a rolling of the eyes, a few sighs, and a look around the room to see how we can get out of talking about this much- (perhaps that should be MUCH-) discussed topic. And not only much-discussed but – in my opinion – much-maligned.
So let’s begin with a couple of connecting thoughts. The title above is a quotation from Denise Bedford, who is heavily involved in the KM Education Forum and who was one of those who commented to the post mentioned above, at the LinkedIn Knowledge Management Education (KMEdu) Hub Group. Dr. Bedford’s comment makes me stand up and take notice, because that “changing culture” reference ties in exactly with much of what we’re all trying to do with our work, trying to provide a KM/knowledge services focus as our organizations move from a somewhat passive knowledge framework to a robust and acknowledged enterprise-wide knowledge culture.
We’re not there yet, and in many companies the process is just beginning. But at least it’s beginning, as enterprise leaders recognize that developing and maintaining a knowledge culture is critical to organizational effectiveness. On the other hand, I continue to be delighted with the level of attention to KM and knowledge services I’m seeing in many other companies. We are witnessing what I think is a move into a “golden age” for people living and working in the knowledge domain. The time has come, and as management leaders seek success, they will either get on board or not. When they do choose to come on board, it’s our job to work with them as they become accustomed to the emerging benefits of KM and knowledge services in their organizations.
One of the essential elements of this process, it seems to me, is attention to change management. And its implementation. Indeed, one of my great mentors in the knowledge strategy profession chooses to move away from “change management” as a phrase, substituting “change implementation.” At her organization, she says, life is much easier for her and her team because they do not have to “fight against” preconceived notions about change management.
But the fact of the matter is, we have to deal with change management/change implementation in the KM/knowledge services construct, if our organizations and clients are going to take advantage of the “new” knowledge domain. So let’s take some time and review the basics of change management and see how they fit into what we’re doing, both for internal clients and, if we’re in the consulting business, for the people who engage us.
In the next couple of posts, I’ll offer a few change management principles, and try to come up with some examples (naming no names, of course). In the meantime, share your own examples. How do you and your colleagues manage change, especially change dealing with KM/knowledge services? How do you deal with KM/knowledge services in your institution as the culture changes, in a different economic context from that of the past, and with a different set of players?