Tim Leberecht‘s post, The Writing Organization: Knowledge Management Made Easy, literally took my breath away this morning. I loved the idea. And then wondered if I or any of my KM colleagues in other law firms would have the audacity to propose it to our respective firms.
Here’s his suggestion:
Make it mandatory for every employee to keep an internal blog and post at least once per week. Depending on their role, employees can blog about customer experiences, sales tactics, strategy, product improvements, organizational design, competitors, market trends, and even gossip. Potential productivity losses are outweighed by the value of knowledge that is being generated and shared.
For a brief moment I had this vision of lawyers, legal assistants, administrators and support staff blogging away at their desks, capturing the minutiae of their daily lives — those things that usually reside in the back of your brain and are never needed by the firm until you are on vacation or out sick. And then, I wondered how easy or difficult it would be to obtain firm management support for this proposal.
Those of you who have already had your morning shot of caffeine will note astutely that law firms currently capture a great deal of daily detail in the form of time tickets or fee earner logs. And some firms even search and expose those details as part of their enterprise search capability. However, these daily entries often verge on the cryptic and they only track the work of fee earners, not those who spend their days ensuring the firm is well run. Yet, in terms of the institutional health of the firm, both pools of knowledge are important.
Tim Labrecht is correct when he says that by fostering a writing culture the firm increases the chances of making tacit knowledge explicit. And that once this knowledge is explicit, it can be found and used by people who didn’t know it existed or didn’t know they didn’t to know it. The potential power of this proposal is huge. But, can it work in a law firm?