KM continues to be the Rodney Dangerfield of business disciplines...it just can't get any respect. Scott Thurm, of the Wall Street Journal, in his article, Companies struggle to pass on workers' knowledge, reports that "960 executives [were asked] about the effectiveness of 25 management tools, knowledge management ranked near the bottom."
Yet, there are millions of believers...Mr. Thurm opens his article with an interesting anecdote..."Trying to make conversation during a recent elevator ride, I asked a package-delivery courier whether it was more efficient to start at the top of the building and work down, or start at the bottom of the building and work up. "It depends on the time of day," he replied." Thurm continued, "what will happen when he moves to a different job or a different route? Will productivity at the delivery company decline until his successor learns the same lessons?" - Likely.
It reminded me of one of the interesting stories that was told when I took KMPro's Certified Knowledge Management class...The U.S. was one of the last countries to get into the whaling industry, but in a very short period of time, they became a leader. What caused their rapid rise? The crews of the whaling ships stayed within the industry, but typically moved around from captain to captain, working with different management and with different crew mates, taking their previous experience and enriching everyone else's during the new season. In addition, The captains kept detailed logs of locations and best practices. During the off-season, these logs were exchanged among other captains, each sharing with and learning from one another.
Interesting stories, both of them...but the importance of them is that it reminds me that KM has been around for a long time, and regardless of surveys, KM will be practiced by those who continue to see the benefits....