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Recognizing the KM Inclusive Practices that Make Business Sense

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Recognizing the KM Inclusive Practices that Make Business Sense

May 11, 2022   |  By
KMI Guest Blogger Michael Sequeira

Knowledge Management practices can be highly improved through supporting work culture advance minority communities.

Have you been in a team meeting where the leader expects everyone to come on time and has rolled out the agenda before the meeting to ensure he is understood? We all want to be heard. As the meeting starts the leader sets up his slides and begins the session pointing at each slide in the line of sight with his joystick hoping that he has the viewers’ attention. Its break time and during this time he connects with a few individuals seeking feedback about the session and connecting it to their day as they smell the coffee. As the session begins there are breakout rooms and slowly it is time for activities. This is when the audience really gets a taste of what they have grasped as there is one person who clearly comes out a leader. Soon it's time for the day to end and the leader asks the team 'So what did you like?' and rolls out the feedback forms with the hope that his knowledge truly connected and touched a chord that wants the audience to say 'I learned more than I expected.'
So, was the training truly effective?

Knowledge Management is a touchy topic - some want it to progress because they want to be heard and recognized, and others want it in-sight so their teams can create & share valuable information that can be traced. However, when teams see individuals walk out the door and get a feel (touch) of their own culture of not creating a safe workplace where knowledge can be shared freely, is where the real problem lies. We need to ensure that we serve KM according to the taste of our customers, partners, teams, and most important have a taste for it ourselves when building an inclusive culture.

Everyone is talking about workplace diversity and it is important for driving business. However, few understand the right techniques.  Let me explore below:

1. know-what (accessibility v/s inclusive design): Persons with disabilities are experts in adapting to their surroundings. Ever imagine the HR orientation and introducing a person with visual impairment to his surroundings? Most of the time we provide accessibility by giving a larger system or software. Truly however, we are called to apply instructive design principles, then we can ensure we 'solve for one and extend to many'. Recognizing exclusion is more important than accepting inclusion, and recognizing our own biases helps us seek out new ideas to truly create a diverse workplace.

2. know-when (inclusive best practices within KM teams): Many times we know that inclusive workplaces are the key to ensuring we bring these diverse ideas to the workplace. We want teams to start engaging in creative thinking and engage to create new work practices. However, we fail to integrate these best practices into designing our workplace policies and in-time training practices remain the same. It is important we recognize that having diversity in the KM team can also encourage sustenance, as quite often these individuals themselves would evolve as leaders and recognize the need.

3. know-how (it all starts with inclusion hires doing KM): There are so many levers we use to ensure our users are adopting KM practices; knowledge is flowing through the organization, and is helpful to those who need it at the right time and the right place. However, can we guarantee it is helping the right person all the time? Organizations that invest in diversity work practices like having team leads with hearing impairment, pair up with interpreter's and conduct technical courses to the larger team help them develop empathy. This ensures we are open to learning from people with a broad range of perspectives that help us create products designed for the larger user community, including people with hearing, visual, and other kinds of impairment.

4. know-why: Once KM impacts innovation and is acknowledged and sustained, it becomes a lever for business change. Leaders start measuring it and investing in sharing a narrative of how it has impacted business. However, culture is contrary to inclusion as it involves changing mindsets, having those tough conversations with leaders who do not want to practice hiring persons with disabilities, coaching team members who truly bring diverse viewpoints and growing them as leaders. It is important we identify leaders who can be a part of the boardroom and have these conversations to truly ensure we are advancing our community as a diverse workforce.

5. care-why: Having built a truly inclusive knowledge management ecosystem as leaders, we want to define the right metrics and measure the business value. Many times this extends to our customers, and we need to solicit truly how our workplace practices impacted through KM is making their products, culture and practices incrementally improve.

In-Summary: If we ‘care-why’ to create long term value for our clients but do not recognize that inclusion starts with seeking out new ideas to truly create a diverse workplace, we are missing true business value. We need to align our workplace and recognize through the right KM practices that we can advance our workforce to develop empathy, ideas, and build products that are aligned to inclusive design. In time the incremental value we create for our customers alike would help us gain market share of a larger community that would improve our own work practice culture.

Disclaimer: These are purely my own views and experiences as a seasoned KM partitioner in defining KM services aligned to organization strategy through design thinking.

About the Author: Michael Sequeira is an independent consultant who is passionate about helping organizations discover how KM can be a key differentiator for their business, teams, and clients. If you would like to learn more about his background and get-in-touch you can connect with him on LinkedIn


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