To know why what I don't know-and grow: Knowledge Development groups in organizations
1 July 2014
Organizations aware of Knowledge Management's role in promoting business success, invest much effort and resources in adapting and conserving the knowledge as well as making it accessible for the relevant target audiences. Recently, this activity has been generating increasing awareness. Yet simultaneously, another field associated with KM is gaining volume and resonance: detecting "knowledge holes" and "knowledge gaps" in the organization and accordingly developing essential knowledge to support work processes. The innovation involved in this exciting case is the use of teamwork to perform tasks.
This teamwork focuses on the way, in which knowledge can be shared, methods of developing new knowledge, and leading thinking processes and organizational learning through a collective framework; colleagues, partners or alternatively, workers with different roles and perceptions in the same organizational process. This field is popular due to the belief that an ongoing process of personal meetings between similar and different people creates potential for producing knowledge, solutions and new developments that would not be possible in other organizational platforms.
The professional director which enables to channel, manage and direct the group dynamics and subliminal group processes assists the group in fully reaching their goals in the shortest time and most relaxed ambiance as possible.
Knowledge Management counselors specializing in directing groups may assist organizations in promoting the creation of new knowledge in the following ways:
Directing knowledge development groups (with an emphasis on work process-supporting knowledge).
Directing dynamic professional development (with an emphasis on personal knowledge & professional skills).
Courses and workshops teaching knowledge development in groups (knowledge regarding routinely exercising collective processes in the organization).
The common denominator of all these solutions is the attempt to plan the process which the team is to experience throughout its lifetime and anticipate the nature of each expected encounter in a manner that will assist the natural processes and leverage them on the road to success. This type of teamwork will therefore attempt to:
Create an enabling team climate, based on trust and honesty on the road to reaching the collective goal.
Understanding the source of malfunctions in the teamwork (moments and periods in which the group stops working and their path diverts far from the goal) and knowing how to solve them.
Regarding the group psychology: roles and positions, regard to authority, group defense mechanisms, etc. and guiding the group towards its goal.
Study case: the birth of a new knowledge development group
A virtual organization dealing with providing services realized that many of its members share an interest in social networks. These members have a social life managed in social networks beside their professional lives and present professional inquiries and consultations instead of channeling them to the organization's experts.
The question that troubled this organization was: how can we channel the use of social networks into the organization and more specifically how can we keep the professional knowledge in the organization instead of diverting it grow elsewhere? In other words, can we successfully merge the personal with the professional and how?
Since this knowledge did not exist in the organization and was never previously discussed or monitored, the organization decided to establish a group of colleagues that will attempt to collect and develop knowledge, perceptions and tools on the subject. The defined goal was that the knowledge and personal experience of each group member will be the basis for sharing knowledge and individual experiences, and during the second phase weaving a new organizational technological perception.
Nowadays, the team is still being established. It seems to generate much interest on behalf of the workers, who expressed their will to participate in the knowledge development process.
As an old saying goes, "with the food comes the appetite". The more the organization experiences with Knowledge Management the more it grows conscious of its importance and the added value that can be provided by potential knowledge. Furthermore, and equally important, the organization recognizes the knowledge gaps and is ready to confront them with teamwork gains not only learning and growing but also the promotion of its workers' feeling of empowerment as well as an enhancement of their satisfaction and sense of belonging and developing a climate fitting a "learning organization".
I wish you good luck and a joyful learning experience!