As knowledge people, we spend lots of time on PowerPoint decks for executives explaining the benefits and ROI of our work. We generally spend some time thinking about how we’re going to get staff aligned, too. We do communications plans, talk about what’s-in-it-for-me, and build recognition programs.
What we don’t do, nearly enough, is focus on the managers.
I feel for the managers we work with. Here they are, doing their best to satisfy more and more customers, with increasingly complex problems, and little extra funding. Again and again, they’re told their team needs to participate in new initiatives…any one of which would be great, but taken as a whole, it’s just overwhelming. And few look as overwhelming as knowledge.
As knowledge professionals, we know that knowledge really isn’t a new initiative. It’s a new way of doing business, and it’s going to really help support managers. They’ll have more efficient staff, because they’ll all rely on the organization’s collective wisdom. They’ll have happier customers, receiving shorter resolutions and talking with more knowledgeable people. The team will be happier, with better work-life balance, opportunities to do new things, and fewer redundant cases. Self-service works, too: As one engineer told me, “I love helping people when I sleep!”
So we know it’s all good news for managers. But don’t expect to show them your PowerPoints and have them applaud. They’re stretched to the breaking point, and all they’ll hear, at first, is that we’re asking for more.
Slow down and take the time to have the conversations.