All entries for April 2010
April 25, 2010
KM in SME's
I have read this topic in Umar's blogs. In his blog, he asked the necessity of a CKO in SME. I have a little thought on it.
I think, first of all, KM is a way of think and is a culture. It is invisible and abstract to be understood. Nevertheless, KM is so powerful that it can change and improve a company from top to bottom. It doesn't have to entitle a person with a specific role. But it is important to be promoted in the entire company.
I've come across some entrepreneurs who did really good job in business but were struggling in improving the efficiency of the business. As I mentioned in previous blogs, these businessmen are working with several well-known companies, including clothing, decoration, automotive and so on. Those big companies outsource manufacturing parts to these SME's companies. The SME's companies made their fortunes but hardly developed further. That is quite frustrating for those ambitious men.
I think it difficult to make KM work in SME's companies, especially some intensive manufacturing companies. But, I don't think it infeasible at all. Leaders must invest more on helping people who are without sufficient education to make them aware of the importance of their jobs, opinions and comments on their jobs. So that, this kind of companies could prepare a firm foundation for embedding new technology.
For those SME's who major in high technology business, it means even more to conduct KM as a business culture. Collecting existing knowledge is a base on which experts in the company could share and create more and later things for clients and markets. Those could bring more than profits for not only companies but themselves.
How would you do if you are running a SME's.
Leadership impact on knowledge management
Leadership is what we have been taught and talked a lot in the course. We all know the importance of leadership to a company. Now what about it on knowledge management.
Basically, knowledge should be necessarily managed by people in order to become helpful and applicable. Therefore, the effectiveness of applying knowledge management is in accordance with people's performance. Leadership is an essential part in business. Unless leaders like knowledge management, it wouldn't be recognised in a company. There are three ways which I think it should be done by leaders are: initiate, encourage and facilitate.
Whatever employees do, they all require directions from company, leaders exactly. Work overtime, raise wages, cut benefits are all decided by leaders. People won't work overtime if not asked by leaders. Wages won't be raised if not being told. It doesn't mean that initiating KM could eventually make it work. But this is the first and compulsory thing leaders are supposed to do if they want to promote KM. Like investment, leaders need to do things first regardless of whether succeeding or not.They should create a communication environment first, build up a certain structure to form an understanding of how KM benefits both company and individual. Employees' fears of sharing won't disappear by having such environment. Then what else leaders could do.
Encourage, right! There are three kinds of sharing: full sharing, partial sharing and no sharing. As leaders, we need to analyse why these different types exists. Full sharing is coming from those who are really thinking themselves as a part of the company. These people are happy to see the improvement of the company. Obviously, they will benefit from what they are doing. In fact, These people are models and should be rewarded and supported. Secondly, partial sharing shows people want to share though have some fears and threats on after sharing. They select what to share and when. The contents they share could be useful, but much less than the precious one. Leaders should do more to remove these obstacles by offering more protective rewarding for employees to open their minds. In MBE, we are in a safe environment to share. NOT for our own purposes, but for the improvement of the whole course. We won't be kicked out if we share all of our knowledge. Our own interests won't be damaged but boosted by sharing knowledge. Finally, no sharing people could be shy or don't want to. We can't force people to share. But what we can do is coach them to find out a way that what stop them to share knowledge and that make them aware that the benefits of sharing knowledge to them as well. I don't agree with SACKing people because they don't share. That's not fair and not effective leadership.
Facilitating KM is about providing resources to make it happen. Physically, it could be things like database, software, documentation and so on. Also, It should involve leadership coaching in facilitating application of KM. It is difficult to make KM work when only relying on physical resources. leadership is essential in popularising KM culture.
KM could be a part of Learning Organisation. and it is a key factor to support OL.
My understanding of KBAM
At first glance, I thought KBAM is asset management which direct companies to figure out how to practise strategies more effectively. lately, I found I was a little bit wrong about it. Asset management is actually important. However, how to make it more efficient is even essential. Then the topic will be moved onto Knowledge management which tells how to manage your existing knowledge to serve you in a positive way.
I like reading articles about successful businesses and the way how they manage. I surprisingly found that the success they have had is all the way down to how they manage their knowledge. Knowledge is not only about the means of which companies work on, but information etc. More importantly, knowledge management is not about what you are managing rather than how you manage them. Some companies are holding knowledge centrally and information. Leaders try to tell followers to do as chess pieces rather than creating a sharing environment and stimulating their initiative. It is quite scary that employees are working within a closed atmosphere. Then, consequences are disappointing that inefficiency of decision-making and deployment would draw companies back. Weakness will be transformed into distance between companies sooner or later.
I used to work for an education provider. The most remarkable activity which I think accelerate the company become the leader of the market is sharing knowledge session. At every certain intervals, the company asked departments organised their own sharing session. This, I think, largely increases the competence of the company by internal sharing, internal store, adopting, and creating. Most decisions were made with the help of outcomes from these sharing session. The company adjusted their performance to satisfy requirements of clients and markets.
In World War II, American troops were fighting very hard with Japanese Enemy. A group of Scientists proposed that they have a brand-new method to end the War. At that moment, people from MoD didn't believe that tiny atom could make such difference though they later on tried the proposal and drop the bomb with nuclear technology. The results are historical that the bombs destroyed weigh more people including innocent ones than normal troops could could do. Then, knowledge of new technology becomes more important ever.
This is a good example of how knowledge is important to development of mankind society though development of new weapons is not what we should persuade for. To be a student from a developing country, I have to admit that China need more knowledge reservation than ever as she is a blooming country. The difference between developed countries, such as USA, UK, Germany, and developing countries is basically the mastering of knowledge. The story above could explain everything about what knowledge could do.
I do think the knowledge we have in China is not quite enough. Simply looking into our economy, you will find some clues about what I am talking about. most of Chinese enterprises are manufacturing outsourced for multinational groups. We have been learning for decades and we have improved a lot. Sadly, we still cannot wholly produce our own innovative products with latest knowledge delivered by local academics.
We have very good research teams all over the country. What we need to do is to be aware of the importance of knowledge, to understand that transformation of knowledge into practical exercises is difficult but worth to have a go. Finally, ALWAYS keep a innovative heart to explore new things from where we are working at.