The 5 key skill areas for a KM implementation team

Here are 5 key skill areas you must not ignore when putting together your Knowledge Management implementation team. You need to have all of them on the team.

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You know the four enablers of People, Process, Technology and Governance? What we call the four legs on the KM table?

These four areas should be reflected in the people and skills you choose to drive Knowledge Management implementation.

KM covers the area of overlap between IT, HR (or Learning and Development), Organizational Process and Management, and so the KM implementation team needs a blend of people who can cover these areas. So we need the following skills on the KM implementation team, plus one more skill as described below.

People Skills
If the aim of the KM team is to introduce new behaviours and practices to the organisation, they will need people skilled in training, coaching, mentoring and facilitation. It may be useful to have someone on the team with an HR, training or business coaching background. Get some facilitation training for whole team as well.

Process skills
The team need experience and skills in the operational processes of the business.  The KM team should contain people with good and credible backgrounds and skills in each major organisational subdivision. This is really to establish as much credibility as possible. When members of the task force are working with business projects, they want to be seen as “part of the business”, not “specialists from head office who know nothing about this sector of the business”. They have to be able to “talk the language” of the business – they need to be able to communicate in technical language and business language. They act as Best Practice champions within their area of business, and when the working task force is over, may take a leading Knowledge Management role in their subsidiary.

Technology skills.
The KM team needs at least one person who has strengths in the details of the current in-house technology, understands the potential of new technology as an enabler for knowledge management, and can help define the most appropriate technologies to introduce to the organisation.

Governance skills.
Finally the Km team needs a person who can look at KM from a high level – who can understand how it fits into the governance systems of the organisation, and who can work at a high level to introduce the policy changes and the governance systems that are vital to the long term survival of KM. This person can be the KM team leader, or even the executive sponsor.

Change Management skills

Even if you have the 4 skills areas that map to the legs on the table, there is still one more skill area you need – Change Management. The knowledge management implementation task force has a hard job ahead of them, changing the culture of the organisation. They will be working very closely with people, often sceptical people, and they will need very good influencing skills. Look for people with skills as change agents and influencers. Also the early stages of implementing knowledge management are all about raising awareness, and “selling” the idea. The KM team needs at least one person who is skilled at presenting, communicating and marketing/selling KM. This person will also be kept busy raising the profile of the company’s KM activities at external conferences. 

If the KM Table has 4 legs, then make sure there are people on the team with enough skills to look after each leg, to  make sure your final framework is sturdy and sound, and then add one or more people who are skilled in fostering Culture Change. 

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Shared by: Nick Milton

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