Your People Need Answers, Especially During Emergencies.
Why knowledge management is essential
If you own or operate a company, then you are in a leadership position that requires you to ensure the safety of your people — they are relying on you and entrusting you with their well being. Because of that, you have the duty and responsibility to provide transparency and insights on how you will guide them safely through these trying times.
This morning I messaged a nurse friend of mine to say hi and give some moral support. We ended up down the rabbit hole on how healthcare workers are creatively gaining access to relevant COVID 19 updates.
An hour later, I read this message from an EMT firefighter in Washington,
“Work really sucks right now. We have 14 in quarantine and they’re canceling vacations and asking guys to either cancel their retirements or come back if they recently retired.”
There’s hope, but the pain is palatable in these trials by fire moments and people are looking for answers.
The challenges of being (mis)informed
The WHO and the media are excellent sources for macro insights, but when it comes to local knowledge about, let’s say, how things are going in Tampa, Fl vs. Miami, Fl well, access to those insights are not as straightforward. Most of the updates that we see will come via word of mouth, text messages, email, and social media posts. The reality is, these modes of communication present serious challenges, especially when trying to keep large groups of people informed. Why?
- Having content in multiple places means that it cannot be easily indexed or found
- The information we read may be false or not credible (reference misinformation on social media)
- Information is not knowledge, rather it is structured data that’s left for interpretation
- Furthermore, knowledge brings information together in a way that offers a solution; it’s the answer to how we take action in order to arrive at the desired outcome
Knowledge management requires strategy
How are you sharing knowledge with your constituents, peers, and employees? The likely answer is via email or messaging tools like Slack. That may work for now and that’s okay but not ideal because people will be left to search through threads and find answers to their questions. As a manager, ask yourself the question, how will I build upon our efforts five months from now?
It will be difficult because there will be many messages and emails to sort through and make sense of.
Access to knowledge during emergencies is paramount, which means people cannot waste time searching. As a leader, your job is to provide safety, which means lessening the friction between, “what do I do to stay safe?” and the course of action.
Creating an emergency plan requires a strategy. Structure-wise people need a single space that gives them quick access to answers so they can make the right decisions.
With that, knowledge management is different than distributing information. During times of emergency people need “know” what to do. If they have a question, they need to “know” how to access the answer. The answers should already be spelled out and retrieving those answers should require very little effort because people “know” exactly where to find them.
That’s why we exist, to connect people to the knowledge they need to take action.
Please explore the examples below on how you can solve this communication and logistics problem by executing your knowledge management strategy using bundleIQ. (Fee free to email firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to chat or set up a demo)
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