2Know Magazine: Sharing KM Knowledge
2Know: Sharing KM Knowledge
May 2021 - Magazine No. 260
May 2021 - Magazine No. 260
Written By Maskit Robinshtein

This past month, we celebrated Israel’s Independence Day. For my two-and-a-half-year-old, every day seems to be Independence Day, or should I say: ‘I can do it myself’ Day… These events made we ponder about the level of independence a knowledge manager in an organization enjoys, especially if they’re an external consultant. How much does the manager or client enable those managing the organizational tool-portal/digital channel/service center- to take initiative and act independently. What is required of us to attain and retain this independency, and how should we balance our will to act free of any restraining or limiting factors and retaining the manager/client’s position and their part in the process.


In his book ‘Thinking for a living’, Thomas Davenport wrote that one of knowledge workers’ characteristics is that they aspire to be independent. He also recommended managers to define to their workers what to do but to leave the decision how to do it up to them. Independence allows knowledge workers, and more so knowledge managers, to bring their skills and experience to the job. If given the authority to decide ‘how’, we will feel safer to suggest ‘what else’ and thus advance KM and the organization.


Two months ago, I concluded my job as a unit portal manager in a large global organization (As an external consultant). I had the privilege of directing a complete lifecycle of a professional portal. When I first arrived, they were operating an outdated portal, both technologically and in terms of the content and structure than no longer suited the unit’s character and composition. After a short period, I received the ‘green light’ to set up a new portal. I mapped the existing content, planned a structured process for detecting current needs, analyzed the required solution, acted with design, development, and content personnel to set it up and finally implemented it in the organization. I managed the portal for four years till I was promoted to a different position and had to leave the unit. This portal is close to my heart, almost like another child… I made some friendships at the unit, and equally important- earned the client’s trust, which enabled me to take initiative, act manage the portal nearly entirely independent.


Trust is built gradually and there is no instant solution. Nevertheless, here are some tips I believe will help you generate trust:

  • Learning: it is important to dedicate some time to learning both the unit (activities, structure, etc.) and the current Knowledge Management solutions (structure, content, and work interfaces). During my first two weeks, I thoroughly reviewed all portal pages and user groups, created a website map, encountered the work interfaces, and even read a bit on the professional field the unit handles.
  • Initiative and involvement: do not fear to express your opinion! Even during initial stages, bring up ideas and share your experience and professional opinion. Even if they are not accepted, by bringing up these ideas you have positioned yourself as professional, creative, and initiating consultants that aspire to act independently and are entirely able to do so. This will make it easier the manager/client to ‘let it go’ and trust you.
  • Documentation and transparency: it’s crucial to be careful to document the tasks and actions and share with the manager/client. Create an orderly list of all activities you are required to complete, who initiated/demanded them and what is their estimated time of completion. During the first months I held a weekly meeting with the client during which we reviewed the tasks and she approved and prioritized them. I made sure to copy her on to every email to the unit and supporting parties and update her when the mission was completed and if any obstacles were met along the way.

Over time, by intensifying my acquaintance with the unit and the client, I proved my value as an orderly worker that takes all factors into consideration. This, in turn, caused the meeting frequency to decrease to a monthly meeting. The client was involved only in large projects or when disagreements with specific workers arose.

Here is another point of view on independence in Knowledge management, one which knowledge managers enables content experts. It is vital to not only cultivate a relationship and find the correct balance between knowledge managers’ independence and management’s involvement, but also implement a similar process among content experts. To train and direct them so they may operate independently in their territory, such as content portals. Of course, you must continue to direct them when required. Thus, their position as experts will be retained as they will feel sage to contribute their ‘what else’ and refrain from creating ‘bottlenecks’.

 In conclusion, finding the balance between distributing responsibility and allowing independence between managers/clients, knowledge managers and content experts are key components in the success of an organization’s Knowledge Management.



We’re used to being goal-oriented in our day-to-day routine, and the objective we strive to attain is usually performing our required tasks, as simple or complex as they may be. One central tool we use as human beings is oral communication, both tacit and explicit. That said, we often encounter different people relating to us and our content differently. Sometimes, the same person may relate to the same content differently on different occasions. So, what changed? Why does the same subject lead to such a wide range of response each time?

The way words are said can substantially alter the message they convey. It is the feeling we convey to the listener that isn’t confined to what we said.


As Knowledge Management personnel in a world which hardly uses the term, it’s important to pay extra attention to this issue. We will often decide on a certain organizational change or process while other relevant parties are either unaware of its importance or disagree upon it. Therefore, picking the intonation and communication most appropriate for the message we wish to convey is highly important for gaining our colleague’s support of our idea or task we wish to implement.


Focusing on the way we convey messages will be especially helpful in cases in which the need for change is unclear to the organization in which we’re operating. It is also vital for organizations fixated on a familiar work method and change is met with doubt and worries.

It’s important to develop interpersonal flexibility and sensitivity and be as aware as possible of the cultural and personality-oriented differences between us and our colleagues, and thus substantially improve the manner in which what we say is received.


We must learn to adapt our communication methods to the receiving end of our message and the context in which it is conveyed. This skill is crucial for generating greater trust and better inter-cultural work relationships, and thus implement changes and lead processes in the optimal and most efficient manner.






Everyone looks up information on the web, from business-related questions to studies and personal questions. And when we find the information… received answers may include professional content the search engine found relevant, but also promoted content, either organically promoted or sponsored, by various sources. Every question will receive multiple (sometimes many) answers and it is up to us to assess their quality and credibility:


Was the information published by a certified source? Is said source objective or biased? is its high quality or a risky and partial citing of anonymous sources? It is recommended and vital to think critically when reviewing the received answers.


Here are a few tips we recommend implementing:

The information must be relevant, up to date and reliable.

  • Check who stands behind the content
  • Check whether it is dated.
  • Compare it to other sources.
  • Assess the quality of the content’s writing and presentation.


What and how?

Author reliability

  • Ask who is the organization/author.
  • Review other content by this author.
  • Check if he/she is an experienced authority on this subject? Are they a business, a private author, or a government channel?
  • Who is the database/website intended for?


  • Search the document for information on the writer and the ‘about’ section for information on the website.
  • Review the language and use of professional terms- is the content targeted at the general public or a professional, academic, or other audience?
  • Search the homepage for a clear definition of the website and database’s purpose.
  • Review the URL address. Formal databases, with a public or government indication are more reliable than private databases. ‘.edu’ for educational institutions, ‘.gov’ for government institutions, ‘.org’ for organizations or associations, ‘.muni’ for municipalities, ‘.com’ for commercial websites, ‘.info’ for general information and ‘.net’ for private or other websites.



  • When was the data fist published? When was it last updated?
  • is the website/database updated regularly?


  • what is the data’s publishing date? When was it last updated?
  • Was the website/ database updated in this past year?


Content reliability

  • Are any sources through which the data can be verified cited?
  • Is the website funded or supported by a party of commercial or other interest?


  • Do the links refer to updated and relevant information?
  • Search for an agenda: do the displayed documents represent a particular point of view culturally, socially, or politically?
  • Crosscheck the information with other websites and databases.
  • Check for ads/partners/sponsors.



  • Assess the article’s quality.
  • Assess the website/database’s content and its organization method.


  • Is the information comprehensive and relevant or partial (a collection of quotes)?
  • Is the content written clearly and professionally, displayed in an accessible and organized fashion?
  • Is the website’s navigation clear, concise and simple?
  • Are writers’ copyrights retained?
  • Are there separate URL addresses for each document to simplify linking and data referencing?


In conclusion, check:

The database: what are its goals, who is behind it, and how is its data made possible.

The authors: who are the writers, what else have they published, are they reliable.

Updates: is the information up to date, how frequently is the database’s content updated

Supporting content: are there links to additional sources, do they support the published data.








Written by Rom Knowledgeware
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