Can We Stop Talking About The Knowledge Management Nonsense Please? Knowledge Is Not Power. The Ability To Act On Knowledge Is Real Power.

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The concept of knowledge management is purely an academic topic and has very little relevancy to the real world. When consultants start promoting it as if it is the central piece of strategy or oganization, I have a problem with it.

When companies are thinking to hire a Chief Knowledge Officer to do the job of managing knowledge, we should first consider Chief Culture Officer or Chief Common Sense Officer, Chief Foresight Officer, Chief Politics Bashing Officer or Chief Human Factor Officer. These are more practical.

If the job of a CKO is to be the chief librarian or chief facilitator, then a company will have 100 chiefs. Some are suggesting CKOs can take a more strategic perspective, scanning across the enterprise to discover how they might improve processes and customer relationship management as well as promote employee learning. That’s called organizational design.

Some even suggest that in complex organizations where cross-business and cross-functional interventions aren’t likely to happen unless someone from the top team takes express responsibility for them, appointing a CKO would seem to be a good idea. That’s unrealistic. No P&L ownership means no influence. We need a better reason to justify another chief.

Forget a knowledge-management strategy, this is what the snake-oil salesmen/consultants invented to make them look good. Why we keep calling many things something they are not. Everything we are talking about is called “management”. If we take strategy, organization, knowledge, innovation away from management, what’s left in management? Perhaps for some management means the art of doing nothing. 

Management is a systematic way of ensuring carrying out of all activities is smooth and well aligned. It is different from leadership. Yes, now should I propose companies should add another chief – Chief Leadership Officer? Unless someone tells me knowledge is more important than leadership.

It is time for us to re-emphasize different aspects of ‘management.’ 
 Its task is to make managers and staffs capable of having shared vision, joint performance, to make their weaknesses irrelevant, says the Management Guru Peter Drucker. It creates harmony in working together – equilibrium in thoughts and actions, goals and achievements, plans and performance, products and markets

Lack of ‘good’ management causes inefficiency, disorder, confusion, low morale, delay, and negatively impacts company performance. Managing knowledge, money, people, processes and materials in the best possible way is the most important and essential factor for good management.

Knowledge is not the power. Power is power. The ability to act on knowledge is real power. Knowledge is useless when people can make sense of them. The ability comes from leadership.  Many managers in marge organizations do not have the ability and courage to act on the knowledge they possess even though by not doing so will cause the company to suffer or fail. It is not about knowledge. It is about leadership. End of story and please stop selling useless nonsense. Let’s get back to work to improve ‘management’.

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