When Barrie Levy and I wrapped up our recent book for knowledge strategists, our Epilogue included a section called “17 Knowledge Services Principles Every Knowledge Strategist Should Know.”
OK. Perhaps 17 was a little “over-the-top” (as some of our colleagues in the UK say when they refer to a slight exaggeration). But we were making a point. We had just suggested, a page or two earlier, that knowledge services principles have not yet been clearly established and articulated, and in our telling, it was easy to see why. Knowledge services is still a new (relatively speaking) way of dealing with knowledge sharing, and the purpose of our list of knowledge services principles was to provide some guidance for the many knowledge workers and enterprise leaders who are ready to change that picture.
In addition – even though it’s not often thought about – the knowledge strategist has a distinct advantage, having come to knowledge services and knowledge strategy development with a good, solid understanding of management and leadership principles. And in recognizing that advantage for the knowledge strategist and the success of collaborative knowledge services, we put forth our knowledge services principles.
That advantage, though, is in itself a bit of a stretch, simply because management and leadership principles are all over the place. Indeed, there are so many of them, and they change with time. And that leaves us with tons of management and leadership books, articles, webinars, conferences, and almost any other knowledge-sharing arrangement we can imagine. They are coming out all the time. Yet even so, there don’t seem to be enough of them, especially for people trying to establish management and leadership principles for their own career success, and a good bit of caution might be offered about any “number” of principles for knowledge services (or indeed for any discipline, for that matter).
So let’s go from there and build on that idea, and – as most of us do, those of us in management and leadership positions – let’s let our first word of caution be to choose what works in each particular situation. Like all the other analogies we’re trying to deal with in our professional work, we must match our own “principles for success” with what works for the organizations where we’re employed.
So let’s take those seventeen knowledge services principles (which are listed in pp. 164-167 of The Knowledge Services Handbook: A Guide for the Knowledge Strategist) and pare them down.
And not to give too much away, Barrie and I actually did this in the book when we provided a sort of “introduction” to the idea of knowledge services principles on the previous page of the book. We asked six questions, and as we move forward with knowledge strategy for our organizations, those give us a neat “summary” for how each knowledge strategist can shape knowledge services principles for their particular situation.
Here’s the list:
- How is change managed in the organization? Can you – as the organization’s knowledge strategist – be the change leader to make knowledge services work?
- In the organization, how are restructuring and “different” management methodologies dealt with?
- For knowledge services, will the knowledge strategist “own” the effort?
- Is an enterprise-wide knowledge services strategic framework workable?
- Can an integrated digital environment (including collaboration) be the norm?
- Will organizational leadership commit to a knowledge-centric opportunity-focused and results-focused knowledge sharing structure?
Still too many words! How about building the framework around key words?
Take a look at what’s shown here. If you agree that these short phrases capture what you need to think about as you move forward as your organization’s knowledge strategist, you’re on your way. And no matter how idealistic and committed you are in your professional life to doing a “good job” with knowledge services, remember that one of your biggest challenges means that you have to bring others along. So hold on to your idealism and your commitment to excellence in knowledge services and you’ll soon find out you are, in fact, the “natural leader” for ensuring that knowledge sharing in the organization will be as good as it can be.
Feeling better now about your success as a knowledge strategist?
Good for you. Now get to work
GUY ST CLAIR says
Jose Carlos Tenorio Favero commented on LinkedIn: “Interesting! I suggest adding critical or strategic knowledge identification/priorization as a fundamental step. This helps steer the path forward in order to align efforts according to the organization’s requirements, as opposed to focusing on any type of knowledge that won´t necessarily add value.”
I responded: “What a good suggestion, and I should probably have mentioned more specifically some of the 17 principles we listed. #2 reads ‘Learn about and confirm the organization’s culture and values. … Learning and discussing this topic and then incorporating the language and concepts learned in the early proposal stages of the project will ensure strategic alignment and the best possible user uptake and value.'”
Thank you for this useful comment.