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Knowledge Works: The Handbook of Practical Ways to Identify and Solve Common Organizational Problems for Better Performance by Jane McKenzie, Christine van Winkelen

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Chapter 3

TAKING KNOWLEDGE INITIATIVES TO THE FRONT LINE OF THE ORGANIZATION

Snapshot

How can a knowledge perspective make a difference to performance at the front line of operations in an organization? The front line is where the activities occur which allow an organization to achieve its main purpose and generate value.

The research showed that how you go about introducing knowledge initiatives to the front line depends more than anything on how much discretion individual people there have to decide how to do their job.

If people have a lot of autonomy and discretion in their jobs, then you have to get their buy-in and commitment. Communication must be about building understanding of why it matters, as much as what needs to be done and how it could happen.

If people have less discretion and autonomy in their roles because the nature of their job dictates what happens when, then you can be more focused on action. Communication must be about what needs to be done and how it could happen, as well as why it matters.

Why this Matters

“We’re too busy for that!”

Have you ever heard your company’s front line staff say that? In most businesses, the front line operates at a high speed. People are under intense time, cost, and performance pressures. Knowledge is often not valued, nor perceived to be part of the way to deliver what matters.

“Today’s work today!”

Sales, deliveries, output, productivity, profit etc. – these are the important things at the front line. Knowledge initiatives ...

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