Successful KM is Not Always What it Seems

Fellow Singaporean KMer Alton Chua had a great article in the Wall Street Journal a couple of days ago. To quote:

“In the effort to improve corporate performance by sharing key knowledge among employees across an organization—a practice known as knowledge management—glowing reports of success far outnumber tales of disappointment. But this picture isn’t quite as rosy as many people believe.

That’s because there are many projects that initially are labeled a success—and it’s only later that negative consequences appear. Some companies, for instance, have found their knowledge-management projects result in an overreliance on a database for problem solving. Others have tried, unsuccessfully, to replicate the same knowledge-management system across different departments. Others have discovered that the original team of contributors in a project ends up squeezing out any knowledge from outside the core group.”

Alton takes a look at three different cases where apparent success either didn’t transfer well or resulted in long term harm to knowledge use. Thanks to the Netdimensions email newsletter for this reference.

1 Comment so far

Driving KM projects is like driving a car - once you take the foot off the accelerator, the car starts slowing down. John Kotter’s eight steps of change (especially the last step) is instructive when we do change management for KM projects:

1.  Increase urgency
2.  Build the guiding team
3.  Get the vision right
4.  Communicate for buy-in
5.  Empower action
6.  Create short-term wins
7.  Don’t let up
8.  Make change stick

We cannot take the foot off the accelerator!

Posted on May 05, 2007 at 10:14 AM | Comment permalink

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