What is it that makes knowledge management worthwhile? A lot of things I’m tempted to say as a knowledge manager, but there’s one important benefit that you cannot ignore: it saves time. And so it saves money.
Whether applied at an individual level (personal knowledge mastery), within an organization or in a network, KM is the extra mile that saves your time.
It saves time because it goes beyond the immediate needs of one person in one situation at one time in one place, to extract generic lessons that people can use, in other places or at other times.
In doing so, KM helps people identify relevant experiences, information, knowledge that they need to solve problems and it even helps them connect with the people that can help them fully understand or address the puzzle they’re facing.
But KM does require a little extra mile.
Spontaneously, a good KMer encountering a problem will not just try and fix it. S/he will record it, bring it to the attention of others concerned with it, and also document the way that problem was solved, or the gap in policies and processes that was revealed in the process. It would be much easier to just fix the problem and get on with it.
And that extra ‘KM’ mile may not always come in handy:
- Looking back at what past information, experience or expertise you can find at hand to understand an issue is not something most of us like doing;
- Sharing, alerting others about some specific information takes time;
- Documenting the process needs tedious consistency;
- Involving others in the work you do (because you ) adds a lot of complexity to ‘fixing an issue’;
- Updating guidelines, good, bad or best practices requires discipline;
- And you don’t even have a guarantee that others will find your information, understand it well enough, or use it…
So, at least initially, KM takes some time off you… but hey, if that extra mile helps others facing similar issues (or yourself the next time you are in that situation), what the heck, it’s worth it! If you believe in KM, you share because you care. Pay it forward!
Just make sure you use the most appropriate places to share, document, update that critical information. If you use the right arenas, then you’re sure to help others save time, in space or… time…
In addition, at some point you just develop the habit of routinely going that extra mile and hardly feel the time it takes anymore. You are entering the ‘effortless helping’ phase that blesses all good KMers.
So, even if KM takes that little extra mile, as it saves your time, keep your smile (and just do it)…
Related blog posts:
- What are we waiting for to walk our talk (on KM and comms)?
- I share because I care!
- Spur of the moment or long term purpose: when pinballs meet bulldozers
- Get personal: KM closer, together, for the bigger picture
- Peter and Justin: when and how does information make sense?