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KM self-assessment- session with managers

Posted by Roxanna Samii Wednesday, March 11, 2009


This morning we continued the KM self-assessment journey with a group of managers.

Dan, our facilitator, kicked off the day by saying that KM self-assessment shared Yoga's principles of "awareness, acceptance and transformation". Yoga and KM self-assessment share another dimension and that is attitude. And both require a "Yes we can" attitude. This means that leaders, manager, foot soldiers and the doers need to proactively and constructively remove all barriers to allow knowledge to flow.

Some managers indicated that there is tension between delivering the pipeline and engaging in knowledge sharing/management activities, while others mentioned that "if KM is not our business then we're out of business". They were reminded that as mentioned yesterday by the CPM, technical advisers and policy analysts yesterday, delivering the pipeline and KM are part and parcel of the same thing!

The managers agreed that we need to :

  • improve the way we work and share with other departments and divisions
  • turn data to learning and knowledge
  • educate colleagues to mainstream KM in their day-to-day work
  • find the right balance between striding for efficiency gains without jeopardizing learning and innovation process
  • systematically capture and document learning emerging from our projects and programmes and to reapply these

The managers while recognizing that knowledge sharing events have increased exponentially over the last 12 months, reflected that these are not regularly attended by country programme managers. They attributed the lack of participation to the fact that the events are not necessarily designed for CPMs. Interestingly enough, yesterday none of the CPMs made this observation. So, where does this leave us? The learning events are not attended by CPMs because they are not tailored for their needs, or is it because that CPMs have other priorities or both? And why is that some CPMs attend these events, while others do not? Hopefully on Friday we can talk about these and other challenges.

This group agreed to focus on improving:

  • networking and communities from level 3 to 4
  • measuring the value from level 2 to 3
  • capturing and reapplying knowledge from level 3 to 4
  • innovation from level 2 to 3

They also had the following to say:

  • "IFAD has made important strides and taken concrete actions, but progress is not systematic across the house and a crucial challenge is measuring and delivering value"
  • "KM is valued in IFAD, but improvements are needed in the application, in sharing knowledge consistently and in supporting staff"
  • "IFAD as a KM organization is like an adolescent: knows what to do, has an idea on how to do it, but unless pushed or reminded still not mature enough to act independently and fully"
  • "There is a sense of movement. Knowledge sharing is happening but not systematically. There are still silos and lip service. There is lack of individual responsibility and space to do KM across the house"

My take away message from this morning was that the leader (in this case the manager and/or director) is the one who sets the pace and acts as role model. If the manager encourages knowledge sharing, creates the conducive environment and her/himself proactively engages in knowledge sharing, inevitably his/her staff will follow suit! Leaders and managers should stride to remove barriers and obstacles adopt a positive attitude towards knowledge sharing. This will help their staff to become more responsible for their personal actions and as a result take it upon themselves to not only consistently share knowledge but to make KM a way of life!

On Friday the three groups will share their recommendations and action plans with the Vice-President, President-elect and KM champion. So make sure you tune-in to find out the outcome of Friday meeting.

Now, it is quite late and I need to get some sleep. I know there are many people out there who are interested in the process we went through to do the assessment. Promise tomorrow I'll post something outlining the process and some highlights of these three sessions. Till then, goodbye and good night.

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