My last post talked about the dangers of letting baby boomers slip out the door without first ensuring that they had left in their firm’s KM system “knowledge nuggets” containing their accumulated experience and learning. That post was intended to be a warning to knowledge managers. But perhaps we should launch a parallel appeal to baby boomers along the following lines:
The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) provides a handy online tool to help you calculate whether you have contributed enough to your retirement savings accounts to retire comfortably. There is another non-cash account that you also need to contribute to before retirement. Before you head out of your office door for the last time, please answer these questions:Have you contributed enough to the firm’s knowledge management system?And, how do you know what is enough?– Do your contributions to the KM system represent the best of your work product and learning over the time you’ve been affiliated with this firm?– Are they a suitable legacy of your work?
If individual lawyers paid as much attention to their contributions to the knowledge management system as they did to their contributions to their retirement accounts, we would have much more content in our KM systems. And, if those contributions were made with a view to ensuring a suitable professional legacy for the contributor, we would have high quality content in those KM systems.
It’s time to set up KM retirement accounts for every lawyer in your firm. In fact, it’s time to set up KM retirement accounts for every knowledge worker within your firm. No firm can afford to let valuable knowledge slip out the door with its retirees — regardless of whether those retirees are lawyers or non-legal professionals.