What is it we knowledge managers do for a living? What's your "elevator speech"? This was the question that caused a normally talkative group of large law firm knowledge managers to suddenly get very quiet today.
Once the discussion resumed, several themes emerged:
- nearly every KM professional in the room had a different title
- we sat in different places within our organizations
- no two knowledge managers seemed to do exactly the same things
- the variety in our jobs reflected the variety in the cultures and practices of our respective firms
When we tried to craft a general description of our work, it was too vague. But once we got into the nitty gritty of all the good things we were doing (or trying to do), the explanation became so long and complicated that it would have required several elevator trips.
If you think this doesn't matter, ask yourself how you explain your "value proposition" to your organization's executives when it is time to divvy up the resources in the annual budget.
Which left us with a troubling question: if we can't explain succinctly what it is we do, how can we expect others in our organizations to know what we do?