Getting A Handle On What Your Organization Knows: Knowledge Management And The Covid Quarantine

Getting A Handle On What Your Organization Knows: Knowledge Management And The Covid Quarantine

Knowledge Management And The Covid Quarantine: Acting as a learning organization remains critical during the Covid Quarantine. Knowledge Management is perhaps more important now than ever.

Organizations have separated themselves from hundreds or thousands of employees, contractors and partners. Knowledge from those employees may be inaccessible depending on the agreements between the parties.

Knowledge Management And The Covid Quarantine: 5 Action Every Organization Should Consider to Keep Its Knowledge Current

  1. Create communities of practice around mission-critical processes in the most widely used collaboration platform. Use the communities of practice to capture changes, reactions, and other learning
  2. Develop programs to pay employees to transfer knowledge prior to separation. It may be too late to do
  3. Ensure that training programs for new employees/contractors continue—and that related feedback loops remain in place. Unemployment systems are overwhelmed and unable to respond to claim requests or fraud reports. My unemployment insurance account has been hacked and all I can do is send an e-mail into the ether. I have personally received multiple packages from Amazon and Costco that were so poorly packed that items were damaged on delivery (imagine a glass jar of sea salt loose in a box with a cast iron pan—it wasn’t pretty).
  4. Consider a new meta-leadership role or team that examines incoming changes to existing processes and makes necessary adjustments to compensate for shifts in customer need, process competency, and other factors. It does no good to monitor emergence knowledge if no one leverages that learning and applies it back to the organization.
  5. Listen Actively. If the training of new employees isn’t working, they will tell you. If customers are frustrated, they will tell you. If processes that used to work are breaking down, KPIs and the people involved will tell you. By actively listening, organizations will learn not only what knowledge no longer works, they will also discover emergent knowledge. Listen. Pay attention.

When the crisis starts to abate, don’t assume that everything will start back up at the level of quality and competency that existed before the quarantine. Don’t assume that the organization will resume its previous shape or the customers will behave as they did in the past. The crisis hit a reset button in many areas. Much of what was known to be true is no longer valid.

As noted above, even for organizations thriving during the crisis, knowledge gaps are evident. It may be that most training will need to be reconsidered, along with the way the training is delivered and how learning is evaluated.

Every organization is a knowledge-based organization. If they don’t think of themselves that way, they will likely perish during the reset. If they recognize their knowledge, retain what is valid, and learn and adapt as they go, they can survive, albeit in a different way than they did in the past.

Part of knowledge management is forgetting. The organizations that hold on too tightly to what they think they know, their core competencies, and strategic strengths may find those things more anchors than tools of buoyancy.

Learning organizations critical

Because of the context reset, being, or becoming, a learning organization now is also critical. The knowledge that applied before the quarantine may no longer apply. It may take some time to figure out what knowledge remains valid, and what knowledge has been obsoleted by the crisis. Regardless of the state of extant knowledge, the evolving knowledge about how to work in a more physically distributed world requires capture, contemplation, and codification.

Even if that knowledge must be revised regularly—grappling with the moment, the changes inflicted by the crisis and the reactions and processes associated with it require constant and vigilant openness to new learning. Organizations must adapt to the evolving circumstances, and the only way to do that is to keep learning, apply what is learned, and monitor the effectiveness of the knowledge.


For more on knowledge management and collaboration from Serious Insights click here.

Daniel W. Rasmus

Daniel W. Rasmus, Founder and Principal Analyst of Serious Insights, is an internationally recognized speaker on the future of work and education. He is the author of several books, including Listening to the Future and Management by Design.

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