Sustaining Participation in KCS

A friend (who does not have a support background) told me a story yesterday about some trouble she was having getting her young son set up for an online summer school class. She sent an email to the overwhelmed IT administrator at the school district, but figured it out herself before he responded.

She sent a follow up email saying she had solved it, and he responded with “I am getting that question a lot, and hoping that a teacher will make a quick video about how to do it.”

As she’s telling me the story, she says, “I can’t watch one more how-to video, so I sent him a note back with a list of steps and screen shots.” Two hours later, she got a reply saying, “THANK YOU. I have sent this to several people already!”

She felt like a hero. She solved a problem, saw some demand for sharing the knowledge she gained, captured that knowledge in the way that she preferred to consume it, shared it, and then got feedback that the knowledge she shared made other people’s lives easier. And she volunteered her time and energy to do this!

Running buddies Kristy and Kelly during a race on the Seattle waterfront.
Full disclosure: this friend (left) has heard about KCS on many long runs.

There are so many things I love about this story – not the least of which is that she built a knowledge article and knew I’d be so proud – but it got me thinking (again) about how knowing that we’re having an impact is one of the biggest motivators for doing knowledge work.

The IT administrator could have responded to her knowledge article with “Thanks.” – or he could have not responded at all. But the fact that he closed the loop with her was what made her feel like this was effort well spent.

Peter Drucker said, “All knowledge workers are volunteers.” How do we keep volunteers engaged? We show them that what they’re doing is improving the situation, whatever that may be.

We have so many opportunities to show knowledge workers that what they’re doing is making a positive impact for fellow knowledge workers, customers/ requestors, and the organization as a whole! Providing visibility to that impact at all levels of the organization is the most important way of sustaining interest and participation in a KCS implementation.

For a list of the positive impacts of KCS, please see KCS: The Great Enabler in the KCS v6 Adoption Guide. It is knowledge workers and their commitment to Solve Loop activities that drive these big-picture outcomes; let’s make sure they know it!

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