Today I visited a CEO of a world famous company, leading in their field.
Doesn't happen to me often that I'm nervous - well I was today. These persons have the tendency to ask all kinds of strange questions and not sharing any information unless they are sure they know who they are dealing with. They tend to surprise me.
So I was surprised, because this very relaxed, open, unstressed, likeable CEO asked very logical questions. And sometimes those are the hardest when you are really in depth in your area of expertise (...I should write another time on that).
But an intresting topic was raised:
I try to avoid slides, but this time I used some of them. And on one of those slides more than 160 used techniques popped up. One by one. For 80 seconds, a new topic every half a second: "document management system", "CoP", "Knowledge Café", "Capturing meeting".
And this CEO surprised me really reading what was appearing saying "yes, we have this, we use that, yes, virtual teams too,..."
But the question was not "Do you know or use these tools and techniques".
The question is: do you use the right tools the right way in a coordinated way to grow in knowledge maturity?
When CoP is considered as a killer application within KM - it's a Queen on your chessboard.
A use of a knowledge based quality management system can be the king. And knowledge café's your horse.
But when there is no strategy behind all using these different tools and techniques,
when there is no strategy in coordinating alle the pieces of game,... you'll loose.
A knowledge strategy is not about 'hé, this is a new tool or technique - let's use it!'. It's not about 'we are already implementing a plan do check act cycle and continuous improvement'.
It's about unleashing the power of asking 'why'. Why are you moving your Queen, and does that effect the tower? Tools may be great in distributing knowledge - but is this knowledge reused?
The value of the field of expertise called knowledge management is the added value that you get when you coordinate the why with the how with the why again and with the whose, again asking yourself 'why'.
Just a pitty I didn not came up with this chess analogy this morning!