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KNOWLEDGE FACTOR

KM Six Pack #4
THE K FACTOR
Company: Not managing but enabling knowledge
This is the fourth in a series of six articles introducing newly engaged employees and
managers to the basics of knowledge-based enterprise.
By Jerry Ash change the old concept of communicate the things they
the firm. do know and get staff to do
Before cultural change in a ■ Seeing the role of the same with each other.
knowledge-based organization managers as one of Where the company
can occur on the shop floor, communicating, mentoring is willing to change its
the right corporate culture has and enabling, rather than organizational chart from
to be in place in the executive managing. vertical lines to overlapping
suite, creating an environment Organizations in the circles, hierarchy will take
where people are comfortable Industrial Age took big people on a wondrously different
developing new work and put them in little boxes, complexion.
practices. then gave them a half-written Modern-day leaders will
Restrictive procedures and script – the job description build environments of trust
guidelines from the top down – and expected them to play a and mutual respect where
leave little place, if any, for role. creative contribution is the
human emotions, inspiration, The minute they started norm.
know-how and individual or to be themselves, their scripts Such norms in corporate
collaborative adventure in the were stuffed in their faces. culture have, in recent years,
employee culture. Often the most common changed the way staffs work,
Managing today requires misconceptions remain that share, learn, and respond to
knowing what people face in employees have limited clients’ needs.
their jobs and finding ways or narrow capabilities, are These are self-motivated
to reconcile issues and enable untrustworthy or even workers who know their
creative thinking. disloyal – and thus, the need knowledge is important to the
Leading and following for rigid rules. performance of the company
in the KM community is And yet, no one’s goal in and to themselves.
a collaborative up-down life is to do a mediocre job at They are energized and
exercise. There are several a company he or she hates. In committed to increasing
keys to establishing a fact, most want to do a terrific innovation, performance
knowledge-friendly corporate job on meaningful projects at and productivity. They are
culture. The most important a company they care about testimony to the impact that
are: and with people they like. changes in corporate culture
■ Seeing the organization The organization that and management practice can
less as a machine operated genuinely recognizes have on the knowledge-driven
by people, and more as the necessity of KM and organization.
an organic and biological builds an environment that
organism composed of welcomes initiative and See Six Pack #1 through 3 in
people, expanding and collaboration will find that a the May through August issues
even mutating with positive change in employee [www.smartpeoplemagazine.
innovative ideas or faster culture – top to bottom – will com]. In the October issue: Not
response times than that of quickly follow and corporate hoarding but managing one’s
competitors. achievements will soar. personal knowledge.
■ Seeing the business In the best KM model,
based on individual and managers are valued not
collaborative commerce because they are in control or
instead of corporate know more than their staffs,
commerce, which will but because they can quickly

30 SMART PEOPLE