Timely communication is critical to successfully introducing a new KM initiative and keeping users and advocates informed on progress and the positive impact of knowledge management.
One type of content that should be a priority for many of your communication vehicles is the success story. These should be regularly requested and gathered in one of three ways:
- Ask all KM leaders to submit them each month and include them in the monthly newsletter
- If you have a KM incentive system, request success story content as part of giving out points for desired behavior
- Monitor the community threaded discussions for testimonials of how the community helped a member in a time of need
In Putting Stories to Work: Mastering Business Storytelling, Chapter 6, Shawn Callahan wrote:
“As Dan Pink points out in To Sell Is Human, we are all selling something, whether it’s a product, a service, an idea, even when cajoling your kids to study. And whenever we’re selling, we need success stories in our back pocket which we can pull out whenever they are needed. Knowing that others have successfully done what they are setting out to do is a powerful motivator.”
When capturing success stories, ask the following questions:
- What challenges did you face?
- What knowledge resources did you use?
- How did you use these resources to address these challenges?
- What was the outcome?
- What benefits did you realize from using the resources? (e.g., time saved, costs avoided, incremental revenue, problems avoided, increased customer satisfaction, accelerated delivery, innovation, process improvement, etc.)
- What benefits did you and your organization derive?
- Did anyone else benefit as well (e.g., a community)?
- What alternatives (instead of using the knowledge resources) did you consider?
- Which alternatives did you try?
- If you did not use the knowledge resources, how do you think the outcome would have been different?
Enterprise Social Networks
If you have an Enterprise Social Network, such as Yammer, create a group called ESN Wins. Share threads that are examples of success. When someone asks about the value of the ESN, proof is right there, in the words of the actual users.
At Deloitte, we had many hundreds of examples collected, and every time I saw a new one, I added it immediately. The typical sequence was:
- Can anyone help me?
- [Help is provided]
- Thanks a lot - that was just what I needed!
Create a separate group and then use the share function to share threads into that group, with highlights of the original query and subsequent acknowledgement. Here is an example:
>Any tips and insights on knowledge retention?
>Thank you very much, the information is very helpful!
You can point leaders to the group, or extract examples from it to share with them in a presentation. It serves as a curated collection, and allows you to add text that highlights the success when sharing.
Provide user instruction:
To help identify and promote examples of successful ESN use, add a success story tag. In addition, use hashtags to identify business benefits that result from ESN usage. Add topics or reply to a thread using one or more of these to demonstrate the value of the ESN, whenever you see an example.
Here is a list of hashtags to use in identifying business benefits that resulted from using Yammer.
- #advanced (an opportunity)
- #connected (in person or expanded a social network)
- #delivered (work)
- #found (a needed resource)
- #improved (upon an existing solution or invented a new one)
- #learned (or developed personally)
- #profits (or revenue realized)
- #reused (a solution to save effort or expense)
- #solved (or avoided a problem)
- #won (new business)
Lucidea Press has published my latest book, Proven Practices for Promoting a Knowledge Management Program, which includes more information on storytelling, as well as additional advice and insights drawn from my career as a KM practitioner.