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It is widely acknowledged that the biggest hurdle of establish a long term knowledge management practice in any organization is culture. So what is culture? well in an organization its a set of unwritten rules, expectations and social customs that compel behaviours.
Culturals issues concerning KM initiatives generally arise due to the following factors :
Lack of time – The whole aim of the KM initiative is to increase the employees productivity by making their job easier, not burdening them with additional tasks. When KM adds to the average employee’s workload it automatically calls into question the so called benefits of the system. It’s like putting a bullet in your leg before you start running a marathon.
Lack of common persective – Unlike most other processes in organizations that are mandated, Knowledge Management cannot be forced down the end users throats. There has to be a collective buy-in and belief that this system will make things better. This buy-in has to be at the grass-roots level as well , as a large percentage of corporate knowledge does float around at the lower rungs of an organization.
Unconnected Reward System – In KM the carrot method will only go so far, for long term sustainability of any initiative there has to be a takeaway at the end of the day. If your meetings, or information sharing sessions arent percieved as having value providing incentives will not sustain its growth. People share information because they like watching their information and knowledge being used successfully and the attention and admiration they get from their peers.
No formal communication – Let your people know what is happening, make sure everyone is up to speed on what the initiative is, why it is required and how it will help them. Constant communication with your employees is one of the biggest issues faced with rolling out KM initiatives. If done properly it creates an excellent mechanism to gauge reactions to the initiative and in cases improve on it.
The bottom line is, do not hoard information. Get as much of it out to your people as possible. They just might surprise you.