Chocolates and Roses

Chocolates and roses are traditional Valentine’s Day gifts. And they are given for what purpose? The cynic might say behavior modification. Unfortunately, while chocolates and roses may facilitate a pleasant evening, they rarely bring about lasting changes in behavior. Something else is required.

Knowledge management by its very nature leads to behavioral changes. Good knowledge management does this so subtly that the user doesn’t put up much of a fight. Bad knowledge management requires more obvious pressure to counter the user’s natural resistance.

So what tools are popular in most organizations?

– Fear — “Do this or else ….”
– Nagging — “I know you really don’t want to do it, but I’m going to bug you until you do it. “
– Begging — “Please, please contribute content or we’ll have an empty portal.”
– Bribes — “We’ll give a Starbucks card to the user that contributes the most content to the portal.”

And which of these tools work? Not one of them is entirely successful over the long term. If used together, the only predictable result is that the knowledge manager will be disliked within the organization. Over the next few days, I’d like to look at other methods that have a better chance of achieving long-lasting behavioral changes. Stay tuned.

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