Learning from the past

Should all knowledge workers and leaders learn poker?

I recently listened to “Future You”, part of this series about thinking by Prof Steven Pinker, expecting something useful for my New Year’s resolutions.

In fact, it was primarily about future discounting in decision making, in particular, how poorly people assess risk based on numbers, in comparison to risk based on personal experience* (“the description experience gap”).

It’s something we often discuss in relation to storytelling for knowledge sharing or influencing as KMers, but I enjoyed hearing Dr Kournikova, psychologist and poker champion, discuss how useful poker has been for her to gain personal experience of what a 1% or 2% edge means, so that she can understand levels of risk in different situations where she doesn’t have personal experience.

Perhaps we should all learn a little poker? What do you think?

With lots of other interesting thoughts relevant to knowledge sharing in the podcast, it’s definitely worth 30 mins of your time. In fact, any Open University podcast that manages to include quotes from The Simpsons definitely gets my vote.

Picture of hands shuffling cards.

* It’s obviously not as simple as “experience = good” “numbers = bad” for decision-making and risk assessment, but listen to the podcast and let me know what you think!

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Knowledge Network 2022

Ready to make 2022 the year you focus on your KM knowledge and practice?

Join Knowledge Network for learning, knowledge sharing and networking.

What is the Knowledge Network?

Knowledge Network is a supportive and friendly group for those who work in Information, Knowledge and Learning in professional services firms, such as law firms.

It is run by me, Helene Russell of TheKnowledgeBusiness, and has been supporting KMers for more than a decade.

Currently all events, coaching and networking are delivered virtually.

What is included for 2022?

  • 6x hour-long virtual learning events/webinars
  • 2x 45 minute coaching calls
  • 2x virtual coffee connections
  • discount on many TKB virtual workshops

Who is it for?

If you are interested in learning, information and knowledge and work for any kind of professional services organisation (or indeed any other kind of business) you will find it interesting and useful.

We have had a wide variety of members, including Heads of Knowledge, Heads of Information and Library, Information professionals at all levels, Knowledge Systems Managers, Professional Support and Knowledge Lawyers, and consultant lawyers. We’ve also had a variety of senior leaders come along to individual events of particular interest to them.

The majority of members are from the UK, but we also have members from Europe, US, India and the Channel Islands. Learning events are held in English and during UK / GMT lunchtimes, so as long as you can attend then (whatever time it is in your time-zone), you are welcome.

What topics do we cover?

In the past we’ve had events on AI and machine learning, ISO 30401, design thinking for KM, after action reviews, social media for knowledge sharing, promoting KM, metrics and measurements, new technologies, KM strategies, culture, motivations for sharing, innovation, intranets that work, GDPR, leadership and influencing, writing in plain English, mobile KM, international management challenges, change management and all kinds of topics.

We’ve heard from practitioners (legal, health, engineering, marketing and other sectors), consultants and academics.

We’ve heard from speakers from US, Canada, Europe and UK.

Topics always depend on the needs of the members. At the time of writing this, for the 2022 programme, I have speakers booked to talk about internal communications and value, knowledge sharing vlogs, influencing and KM teams, and KM systems and technologies. If you’d like to add your favourite topic to the list, book your space early and ask!

How much does it cost?

£265 for one person/space for an annual subscription.

Two spaces within the same organisation are discounted to £475.

If you’d like to book 3 or more spaces, get in touch.

How do I book?

Email me for an invoice. It’s that simple.

Not quite right for you?

If this isn’t quite right for you, have you thought of organising your own in-house training day or training programme? I can offer virtual or in person events (depending on lockdown/tier rules of course) on a wide variety of topics. Get in touch to ask me more.

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Carry it forward …

My colleagues and I at Law Consultancy Network have been analysing the gains made in the legal profession during the pandemic/various lockdowns and considering how firms could build on those gains and improve their practices.

My thoughts are at page 30, but there are articles about pricing, management, diversity, zombies and all sorts.

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Lunch ‘n’ learns for virtual teams – a dozen ideas

A very common updating and learning tool in law firms, is the lunch n learn, but how can we make virtual lunch n learns more compelling?

I’ve been asking various PSLs, KMers and law firm leaders what they’re doing to help make their lunch n learns more compelling and have gathered a dozen ideas to help you.

  1. Get the basics right – you can’t get everyone superfast fibre broadband, but you can ensure everyone has access to decent laptops, headphones and microphones.
  2. Keep some elements the same as in-person learning (i.e. stick to the same times/days so everyone knows what to expect).
  3. Some elements will need extra thought and emphasis compared to in-person training
    • make sure everyone takes time to switch off from their work and switch on to learning and take a moment to focus on the purpose of the event/their personal learning aims;
    • if lecturing, you might also need to speak more slowly during online training and take more pauses to check understanding as you won’t be able to access body language in the same way;
    • review any slides previously used for in-person training – check images/text will this work for small screens or poor connectivity;
    • consider whether closed captioning be useful.
  4. Know your audience – adapt your delivery strategy depending on the audience and if there are different needs (most commonly partners versus trainees) consider running different sessions.
  5. Set expectations around attendance (easier to do with more frequent, shorter events).
  6. Encourage everyone to speak early on – this can be a “check-in” at the beginning of the session (an “appreciation, apology or aha” session or a discussion of intentions/personal challenges related to the topic).
  7. Improve interactivity – and include interactive elements such as quizzes, polls, encourage use of chat tools or group messaging. Quizzes and polls are useful to support anonymous answers and feedback, which might be important for your audience.
  8. Switch up elements of teaching – try a watch party followed by discussions; vary event lengths/times; think carefully about what needs to be synchronous (all on the same call) and be respectful of people’s out-of-hours time. Asynchronous elements (such as videos or articles) can be consumed at the individuals’ preferred time and perhaps commented on before the synchronous discussion.
  9. Improving the quality of discussions
    • 4-5 people is the ideal number for an interactive discussion.
    • If you need discussions in larger groups, the “2-4-more” strategy can help (running short discussions in groups of 2, then groups of 4, before moving to your larger groups, can help people to settle into discussions).
    • Sometimes the discussion itself is sufficient for learning and trying to capture comments (whether using lengthy plenaries or a padlet to write down responses) can inhibit the discussion.
    • If the discussion has to be captured, consider having some facilitators whose main role is note taking, to produce a mind map of discussions.
    • Consider whether recording a session will inhibit discussions and the relative importance of both.
    • You probably won’t need rules of engagement to ensure that discussions remain polite and inclusive, but keep an eye on this, and remind people that they can private message the organiser if they see something inappropriate.
    • Time spent on improving the quality of networks and trusting relationships between colleagues is never wasted and will help to improve respectful engagement and general knowledge sharing.
  10. Keep attendees engaged and fresh – if people are attending during their lunch hour, consider having more breaks or fun, interactive elements.
  11. Link and embed the learning in practice – ensure that attendees are signposted to relevant precedents and practice notes and encouraged to use new skills and learning as soon as possible.
  12. Keep improving – use feedback forms or encourage informal feedback to keep improving your online practice.

What do you do to make your lunch n learns more compelling? I’d love to hear in the comments below.

If you have enjoyed this post, consider following the blog (button at the top right) or sign up for the roughly monthly newsletter (click on the “Who is K4L” tab).

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Your KMS journey

How can we use existing systems to boost knowledge sharing? And how can effective KM technology minimise the impact of information overload?

I’m hosting a virtual event next week (Thursday 25th November) with Tiger Eye, all about KM technologies and the journey most law firms move through from their first DMS to a more organised, user-friendly and efficient KMS, to improve their knowledge sharing.

Dave Wilson and Alessandro Kaye from Tiger Eye will be answering your questions, to help smooth your way along your firm’s DMS to KMS journey.

You can get your tickets here https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/207815029347 and feel free to put your questions for Dave and Alessandro below.

#KM #KMS #KnowledgeSystems #VirtualEvent #KnowledgeNetwork

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I’m often asked for book recommendations …

So here are two good ones – reasonably priced, theoretically sound, practical and easy to read.

If you are new-ish to KM or have never had any formal training, you might enjoy “Knowledge Management: A Practical Guide for Librarians” by Jennifer Bartlett and if you are more experienced, or a senior leader, try “Critical Knowledge Transfer” by Dorothy Leonard.

Bartlett’s “A Practical Guide …” is a great straightforward introduction to KM. It’s written for librarians, but I imagine lots of people will find it useful.

The book is divided into 2 parts: with KM background, theory and frameworks in Part 1 and more detailed, practical implementation ideas around the knowledge cycle in Part 2.

Each chapter is clearly set out, with plenty of bullet points and diagrams and has a nice “key points” summary and reference list at the end.

Critical Knowledge Transfer is another practical book full of tools and examples but aimed at senior leaders.

Written by Dorothy Leonard, who has been William J. Abernathy Professor of Business Administration Emerita at Harvard Business School for nearly 20 years, it is based on original research, numerous interviews with top managers, and has a wide range of corporate examples.

Critical Knowledge Transfer provides a variety of practical options for identifying your organisation’s deep smarts and transferring that intelligence from experts to successors. In particular, it can help managers to understand, in practical terms, how to:

  • Identify the deep smarts essential to their business.
  • Develop a programme using proven techniques to transfer knowledge when its loss is imminent
  • Identify and implement long-term knowledge transfer apprenticeships
  • Set up individual learning plans for successors
  • Assess the success of their knowledge transfer initiatives

Have you read either of these? What did you think?

Which books would you recommend to new and experienced KMers?

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A podcast on knowledge sharing

I recently spoke to Edwin Morris, Monica Danese-Perrin and Ginetta Gueli about how the pandemic has shaped KM in the legal sector for the better and what challenges remain.

I’d be interested to hear about your experiences in the comments below.

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Knowledge Journeys (1) – Hank Malik

I’ve always found the people who work in Knowledge roles fascinating and inspiring, so I’m delighted to introduce you to some of the interesting people that I’ve met.

Today we meet Hank Malik of HanKMalik Consulting.

Hank is an Independent Knowledge Management and Transformation Lead, recently arrived in UK.

Hi Hank, welcome to Knowledge4Lawyers (and 4EveryoneElseToo). I’m looking forward to hearing about your journey so far in KM.

How did you end up in your current role? Was there a key factor/turning point in your ending up in this role?

I have just started my own consultancy in the UK, after a successful career in Knowledge Management, Transformation, Information Management, Change Management and Learning.  Thankfully, I have enjoyed a rewarding career where I was fortunate enough to work for some of the largest and most prestigious Management Consultancies, focusing on Knowledge Management as an external service to many international clients in both the private and public sectors.  In addition, I have led multiple KM teams, with a recent focus in the Energy sector and Digital Transformation in the Middle East.   So now seemed a perfect time to branch out independently with the aim of providing expert interim services on a select basis.

What aspect of KM do you find most fascinating?

I have always enjoyed the full scope of Knowledge Management from design and development, through to launch, implementation, and on-going sustainability.  The areas I find most rewarding include the project managing and leading the delivery of all-encompassing Knowledge Management Programmes. Here I can blend my expert Project Management and KM specialist skills and transfer my expertise to the wider KM teams, so we can all win together and achieve real outcomes.  I also really enjoy to coach and mentor junior KM staff and seeing them develop their skills and progress their careers.

What is the biggest change that you have witnessed during your career in Knowledge?

I want to cover the change and the challenge.

The Change

I see the urgent need to change the mindset and traditional concept of the Knowledge Manager – incumbent today. KM needs to urgently embrace the opportunities of Digital Transformation and all the benefits it can bring. The KM skill sets need to change from traditional Information Management to include all things Digitalisation, including AI, Machine Learning and Big Data.

The Challenge

 With Knowledge Management there are always challenges unfortunately and today`s KMer needs to show tenacity and be inspirational in order to survive let alone develop!  Getting Snr Leadership support is critical for KM and without this, KM will always remain a type of `cottage industry`.  It is a big challenge to achieve this and without the support I would not support a KM programme.

What three things are you focusing on for the next three years?

1.Developing KM and Digital Transformation with the aim of blending the two together to offer an integrated service

2. KM Benefits realisation for the Digital world – adding real value

3. KM Career Path development – training, coaching, certification, and lifelong learning

What do you think is the most exciting new development coming in Knowledge work/KM?

To finally show the real value the sound concepts and approach KM can bring to supporting some of the biggest global challenge we face today. Key in taking the lead with lessons learned from the Pandemic and sharing the key insights so we are better prepared next time.  This needs a concerted effort.

Plus of course as I mentioned above the promise of the benefits of Digitalisation to vastly improve knowledge acquisition, sharing, retention and application for real benefits to be achieved.  Key here is the new thinking in Agile KM and intelligent cognitive discovery search.

Thanks Hank.

If you’d like to connect with Hank and learn more about his work, you can find his LinkedIn profile here.

And if you are a senior KMer who has an interesting KM journey and would like to join in this Q&A series, email me or reply in the comments below.

If you would like to read the next Knowledge Journey, don’t forget to follow the blog (button at the top right) or sign up for the newsletter which gives a monthly round-up of posts and events (or both of course).

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Organisational storytelling – a workshop

Are you looking to improve the sharing of complex knowledge inside your organisation? Are you seeking to understand the benefits of your knowledge sharing activities and persuade others of the value? If so, this workshop will probably be of benefit.

Stories have the capacity to tap into emotions, shape understanding and precipitate action. They enable us to humanise events and make data real and memorable.

Whether you need to influence, engage and persuade people or ensure that learning sticks, telling the right story, in the right way, is the key.

Stories are particularly useful for uncovering and conveying complex lessons which are difficult to impart or enforce using changes to precedents, documents or processes.

More information and book here Organisational Storytelling in Law Firms Tickets, Tue 11 May 2021 at 12:30 | Eventbrite

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Often those of us who work in Knowledge and Learning have to ask people to go beyond their core role: we ask lawyers to supervise junior members of staff; we ask them to write articles about complex areas of law in jargon-less language for clients; we ask them to create/review/perfect precedents and processes; and we ask them to share all their worst mistakes so we can learn from them.

And when one combines that with a work culture that prioritises the chargeable hour over everything else, it can become a herculean task.

But, without re-engineering your whole organisation, what can you do?

Personally, I think the answer is in helping people to find a sense of meaning in their work.

No matter one’s level, industry or career, we all need to find a personal sense of meaning in what we do.

Some people find meaning in helping others, some love to teach, others love to write. If you can align the right person to the right task, you are far more likely to persuade people to go above and beyond.

And if you aren’t sure how to start the conversation about what gives their work meaning? Try this article from HBR.

Ask Your Employees These Questions. They Will Thank You (hbr.org)

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