A Leader’s Guide to Knowledge Management

By: John & JoAnn Girard

Today when most executives consider the intellectual capital of their organization, they focus on the present. They seek tools and techniques to exploit their organizational knowledge for some immediate gain. There is an emerging shift in thinking that will provide a lasting competitive advantage – the shift is from the present to the future. This book is unique in that it focuses on what executives should be doing now (or soon) to ensure the next generation of organizational leaders know what we knew. In other words, are we creating organizational memories today, which will be useful to the next generation of leaders? Will today’s baby-boomer based practices pass the test of time? Are our current processes the most relevant ones for the next generation of organizational leaders?

To answer these questions the book is divided into three parts. Part 1 is introductory in nature and provides a concise overview of knowledge management: its genesis, the theory of knowledge, and the types of knowledge that exist. Part 2 builds on this foundation and highlights some of the successes and failures during the past two decades as baby-boomer executives struggled to develop effective ways of sharing what their organizations know. A review of projects suggests that many first generation knowledge management projects were based on collecting and classifying information. Second-generation knowledge management projects shifted the focus to codifying tacit knowledge and combining explicit knowledge to create new knowledge.

Part 3 focuses on emerging ideas that show great potential. Today we are seeing some very promising results from third generation knowledge projects, which focus on connecting people and facilitating collaboration. Some pioneering organizations are now reaping the benefits of using social media tools such as wikis for collaboration and commercial social networking tools, for connecting people. These emerging tools and techniques provide flexible, agile, and intuitive solutions for connecting people with people and facilitating coordination, communication, and collaboration.

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