We are all in the middle of an unprecedented situation. The COVID-19 outbreak has developed very fast around the world and the impacts are reverberating extensively.
Although many advice to promote Knowledge Management , we know for a fact that in many regions the work knowledge managers are doing has been paused till the social distancing period is over. This obviously increases the risk of losing valuable knowledge assets yet we need to maintain KM efforts so that companies will not lose that advantage.
How can Knowledge Management adapt and keep working in order to help maintain operations steady?
To support the decisions and guidance given to our businesses, KM has to adapt in order to avoid missing opportunities to get ahead of the current situation. But the window for opportunity isn’t fully opened: there is little time and priorities are changing every day.
First, Knowledge Managers need to preserve and develop critical knowledge. This is in fact, the cornerstone of any KM initiative so it shouldn’t be considered an additional task in the KM agenda. Rather, we need to look closely at our knowledge matrix in order to see how critical knowledge might be at risk or the consequences of the situation in terms of how we need to approach the development of that knowledge. Bear in mind that you might need to rellocate resources and budget.
Second, we need to grasp priorities and re-evaluate our efforts. Can we still consider that knowledge critical? Do we need to add any additional knowledge to our matrix? What capabilities do we need to further develop knowledge?
Third, we need to help organizations mobilize resources that can guide learning, communication and knowledge transfer. For example, if you have a KM platform you can put it to use in order to complement home-office efforts, help guide strategic work sessions, promote learning programs and other activities that can provide support to your organization’s response strategy.
Fourth, we need to prioritize efforts and keep track on performance goals. At present times companies are engaging in various knowledge intensive activities and almost every day important decisions are taken. For most knowledge managers it’s easy to lose focus trying to keep up with everything that’s going on, so we need to remind ourselves that KM needs to focus on critical knowledge. Furthermore, we need to be very clear on the overall impact of our KM efforts in terms of supporting productivity and economic stability. If we can´t promise clear results we need to change our plan quickly.
Finally, once this period is over, we will need to help our organizations prepare for another threat. We have no way of knowing how soon that might happen, but we need to accelerate KM efforts in order to implement lessons learned, develop critical knowledge and strengthen KM technology so that it can help knowledge flow seamlessly in the organization, specially with the groups and people that are closely related to critical knowledge.
These are the actions Knowledge Managers should be looking at now.
Be safe and stay home.
See my answer to the first question: Is knowledge management important?