KM is change - and how to do it with stories


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Presented at the Ark Knowledge Management for Advanced Practitioners, 9-10 February 2009, Melbourne, Australia.

Please note that I still need to update the slide notes which I'm doing slowly.

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  • Metaphors are important
    In 2004 Mike Anglin got involved in helping BHP Billiton with their communities of practice.
    I was invited to the day (Gold coast hinterland) when each CoP leader described what they had done in the year and what they plan to do in the next 12 months
    My presentation was at the end of the day so I had time to listen to all the presos and I noticed something ...
    Everyone was describing what they were doing as if it were a machine, etc ...

    Today we are going to use a different metaphor to explore how storytelling techniques can be instrumental in facilitating change - the BRAIN (next slide)
  • Neuroscience has been stuck in its own metaphor rut for most of the 20th Century.
    The dominant metaphor was that the brain was also a machine with each part of the brain with a specific function. If a part was damaged that function was forever lost. From the 1960s a new breed of neuroscientists emerged - the plasticitists - those who believe the brain has an amazing capacity to re-wire itself (notice how mechanical metaphors still creep in).
    Here is Cheryl’s story.
  • Cheryl Schiltz had an operation - a hysterectomy.
    There was an infection and an antibiotic was used that affected her inner ear (vestibular apparatus).
    She lost her balance and felt she was falling all the time. Even when she fell down she felt like she was falling through the fall. This is the type of feeling you have in your worst nightmares.
    Paul Bach-Y-Rita is a neuroscientist who changed her life.

  • Cheryl’s brain has created new pathways.
    We need to create new pathways in organisations. This requires practice and repetition.
    New sensory input. Practice. Repetitions to create habits.
  • My key point is that all knowledge management is change management. When we develop KM initiatives much of the work is around changing behaviours.
    This presentation describes a narrative approach to change and in particular some of the key principles we’ve discovered.
    I’ll describe each principle in terms of a project we did for an investment bank headquartered in Sydney.
    About 2000 people across Australia and Asia.

  • Lewis and Clark story

  • Start with the results of a human synergistic survey.
    From the survey results, the Advocates decided on what themes were common across the businesses and which, if we focused on them, might have the greatest impact.
  • A cross section of employees were then invited to participate in confidential discussion groups (‘Anecdote Circles’), facilitated by the Advocates and held in Sydney and Melbourne, to see what stories people had that related to these themes.
    These Anecdote Circles provided us with rich, qualitative data that could never be found in a survey. The stories people told us gave us a picture of what is going on at Challenger.
    The Advocates distilled everything that they heard and agreed on the most compelling stories for each theme.
  • Initiatives included
    CoP for client service
    Capturing events on video
    Mentoring program
    MSC for client service stories
  • Tell the target shooting story.

  • 5 min
    Show this video and ask, what’s happening here?
    Illustrates that we tell stories to make sense of what we see or here.
    The video clip is from a Russian news program. There was an accident ata coal mine and people were accused of drinking on the job. Theinterviewer is trying to see if there is any truth in the rumour, andthen one of the other workers turns up unannounced.
    And if leaders are not providing stories of what’s happening everyone will make up something and the leaders might not be happy about it.
    Get them the think about when the CEO arrives unannounced and vists your bosses office. What do you tell yourself? You might think he is there to clarify the end of quarter numbers. Then your colleague scurries over to you and lets you know that there has been a death at a plant. The second story replaces the first.

  • Everett Rogers gained his PhD in sociology in the 1960s and the first job he had was at the university in Iowa helping farmers adopt new strains of corn.
  • Dr Rogers talked to many farmers but none were interested in the new strain of corn even though it promised to deliver far greater yields.
    Because Dr Rogers was completely different to Iowa farmers.
  • He spoke differently, dressed differently, were interested in different TV, books, films. The only thing he had in common was the English language.
    But he persisted until one day he found a hip farmer who wore Bermuda shorts and fancy sunglasses who was willing to give it a try.
    This innovator used the new strain of corn and had tremendous success. So Everett went back to the other farmers with the results.
    But the farmers were doubly sure they weren’t interested. This hipster dude was an insult to their culture.
    Everett dedicated his career to understanding this social conundrum.
  • Tell the story of my suggestion to the Advocates.
  • Here we helped them design initiatives.
    Dont show what ones I helped on.
  • Don’t only get the group established.
    Don’t have the ideas coming from the consultants
  • This is about leverage
    Persistence, repetition
  • 1989 in the East German city of Leipzig
    A handful of protesters against the German Democratic Republic (GDR)
    In January 500 people turned out
    Over the year they became more regular happening every Monday.
    Government didn’t try and stop them and bystanders noticed
    New people joined in every Monday. They grew little by little.
    In September the government ordered these activities stopped.

  • On the first Monday in November, 1989, 400,000 people turned out.
    The army was not willing to turn on so many citizens.
    The east german government collapsed.
    The entire East German Government resigned the next day. Two days later the Berlin wall started to come down.

  • KM is change - and how to do it with stories

    1. 1. KM is change - and how to do it with stories Shawn Callahan Wednesday, February 11, 2009
    2. 2. Wednesday, February 11, 2009
    3. 3. Cheryl’s Balance Problem Wednesday, February 11, 2009
    4. 4. Wednesday, February 11, 2009
    5. 5. Wednesday, February 11, 2009
    6. 6. Knowledge Management is Change Management Wednesday, February 11, 2009
    7. 7. Knowledge Management is Change Management After Action Reviews Lessons Learning Communities of Practice Peer Assist Knowledge Retention Wednesday, February 11, 2009
    8. 8. What we will cover Leverage Process Approach Power Stories Influencers Wednesday, February 11, 2009
    9. 9. Three journeys process Wednesday, February 11, 2009
    10. 10. Ist Journey Focussing question from the CEO Project objective from the Advocates Wednesday, February 11, 2009
    11. 11. Ist Journey Themes engagement My role is important and adequately challenging. I’m empowered to achieve and I’m clear about how I contribute to our success clarity of direction I have a good understanding of our objectives and priorities. I’m committed to achieving stated goals, knowing that my good performance will be rewarded appropriately customer service focus I am aware of my internal and external clients and and I’m focused on meeting their needs Wednesday, February 11, 2009
    12. 12. Second journey Wednesday, February 11, 2009
    13. 13. Third journey Wednesday, February 11, 2009
    14. 14. Stories Wednesday, February 11, 2009
    15. 15. I had a borrower once who was in arrears in 2006 and he's been charged 5000 {inaudible} higher rate of interest. He doesn't speak English too well and the broker was supposed to be managing his loan but now that we in-sourced it to us and we are handling it. I called him and he was like, he was shocked; he didn't know he was in arrears. And he paid it up the next day and he was like 'Can you please help me out?' by reversing the interest rate. So I spoke to [Name] and then he spoke to the originator and it was the originator's fault because they were not doing their job but they refused to actually reverse it, so we reversed it for the customer. I thought that was pretty nice. They were really happy as well. Wednesday, February 11, 2009
    16. 16. Influencers Wednesday, February 11, 2009
    17. 17. Wednesday, February 11, 2009
    18. 18. Wednesday, February 11, 2009
    19. 19. Wednesday, February 11, 2009
    20. 20. Avoid like the plague Wednesday, February 11, 2009
    21. 21. Effort here Avoid like the plague Wednesday, February 11, 2009
    22. 22. The Endorsement Group Wednesday, February 11, 2009
    23. 23. Small things Can make a BIG difference Wednesday, February 11, 2009
    24. 24. Leipzig, AugustusPlatz Wednesday, February 11, 2009
    25. 25. Wednesday, February 11, 2009
    26. 26. What we covered Leverage Process Approach Power Stories Influencers Wednesday, February 11, 2009
    27. 27. Shawn Callahan 0410 346 343 @unorder Wednesday, February 11, 2009