Why KM Is More Fun Than Restructuring

Carla O'Dell's picture

Knowledge sharing networks and communities of practice are way more fun than organization restructuring. Networks and communities flatten the status structure and create cross-silo knowledge flows without the pain and disruption of reorganizing. I was reminded of this following my Big Thinkers, Big Ideas interview with Bob Buckman, who was an early adopter of KM when he was chairman of Bulab Holdings.  

In an email exchange following the interview, Bob shared the following.

The Knowledge that resides in the heads of your people is the most dynamic asset that you have. It is always changing, always growing in both quantity and quality. A key question is how should it move to satisfy the needs of the organization? Because it is this dynamic movement that results in new value creation.

In a typical Command and Control Structure knowledge moves up and down the organization in a sequential manner from one person to another. But this movement creates its own problems.

Knowledge deteriorates as it moves through different individuals in a sequential manner. Information is gathered on the front line, passed to some manager so that he can put his perception on the situation and so forth up the line, going from inbox to inbox until it gets to some guru somewhere, who puts his infinite wisdom on the situation and sends it back to the front line. No wonder there is confusion. In addition, this sequential communication model is a very slow process. While we cannot eliminate the command and control management structure in most organizations, we can poke holes in the silos and establish a networked model of collaboration.

To poke holes in the silos. What a great role for knowledge management. When you are building your next business case and KM strategy, keep this value proposition in mind.  To learn more from Bob Buckman, go here.

To learn more about innovative KM strategies, join us for the 2015 APQC Knowledge Management Conference April 30-May 1.

You can go to the APQC Knowledge Base to read more of my interview with Bob Buckman, or listen to entire podcast here.

To subscribe to the Big Thinkers, Big Ideas podcast on Itunes, click here.

You can connect with me on Twitter @odell_carla

 

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