There’s something quite comforting in the voice that reminds me to “mind the gap” when I travel the London Underground. That recorded message has saved me from many a misstep. It’s a pity we knowledge managers don’t hear a similar recorded message before we communicate with senior management or front line workers. There is a knowledge gap between us and our non-KM colleagues that can make good communication challenging. There are things we know about facilitating collaboration and expediting the flow of information that they may never think about. Equally, there may be things about their work that are not obvious to us, even as we work to provide them with knowledge management support. Under these conditions, it’s painfully easy to talk past each other. And that can be fatal.
Before you go to “sell” a knowledge management project to senior management or front line workers, think about it from their perspective. What do they care about? What do they want to know? What do they need to hear to better understand how your solution addresses their problem? Once you are able to approach things from the perspective of the people your KM system is supposed to serve, then you’ll go some distance in eliminating the risk of miscommunication. Until then, mind the gap.