Most PSLs and KMers that I meet struggle with the demands of their teams and their role. This made me wonder – what are the 3 most common time-wasting mistakes that I made when a PSL?
- Failing to be strategic – PSLs tend to have very limited time for a potentially wide-ranging role. They need to understand the strategy of the department in order to support it in the best way. They also need to understand the *true* strategy of the department, which may be implicit and different to the actual written strategy. Find someone who will tell you the truth about what is important to senior management in the team and write a KM strategy which supports this.
- Failing to learn enough about Knowledge Management theory and look outside the legal sector for inspiration – great strides have been made in relation to KM over the past 5-10 years and, although the data-info-knowledge pyramid has its place, it isn’t enough any more. Too many lawyers value only technical legal knowledge and discourage PSLs from pursuing their understanding of KM. There is a reason organisations like KPMG have massive KM support structures within their businesses – KM is complex but offers competitive advantage. Argue for your share of the training budget and spend it wisely (is another trip to KM Legal the right use of the money, what about a different conference or course).
- Failing to value their networks and relationships – I used to think “networking” was for sales people and job seekers, and thought email was terribly efficient (probably a hang-up from those years spent chasing the chargeable hour!) Since I learned more about how information and knowledge is passed between people, I have begun to understand how important a trusting network is and, if you can manage it, face-to-face conversation. Make the most of your opportunities to network and meet people. This *is* a good use of your time.
Those are my lessons-learned from mistakes I’ve made. What would yours be? I’d love to hear in the comments below.
I don’t pretend to have all the answers, but I do what I can to help, so you learn lessons from my mistakes.
If you have resolved to learn more about KM theory and practice, I run a foundation course three times a year (January/May/September in London), an afternoon workshop on KM metrics in Feb/June/October and a workshop on KM Strategy in July (click here to see all my events on Eventbrite). I also run in-house and bespoke training sessions and can create your annual training day too.
I have also written 2 very practical textbooks for you.
If you want to join a network of like-minded law firm KMers, consider Knowledge Network UK, in Bristol, Birmingham and Manchester (so far).
And if you are interested in KM Strategy, I’ve written extensive about it in my KM Handbook textbook, but also here (for free, yay!) just search for “strategy” or start with this top tips post.