November 12, 2008

Aspiring to KM Geekdom

While I don't have a snowball's chance in any place warm of ever achieving geekdom, I couldn't resist testing my abilities against Gizmodo's The 50 Skills Every Geek Should Have. I flunked -- but I'm not too worried. In fact, I suspect that I'm in pretty good company.

That said, I do sometimes wonder what a comparable list for knowledge managers would contain. To do our work well, we need a strange mix of technical and people skills, as well as substantive legal knowledge if you're working in the world of law firms, for example. So here's my first stab at a list for knowledge management -- in no particular order:

1. Superior listening skills
2. Empathy
3. The ability to translate from user speak to "geek speek"
4. Skills in organizing chaos
5. Analytical ability
6. Superior persuasive writing and speaking skills
7. No tendency to technophobia
8. Deep knowledge of human nature
9. Openmindedness
10. A willingness to plan cooperatively via an iterative process rather than imposing solutions
11. Basic kindergarten competence (i.e., plays nicely with others, doesn't run with scissors, etc.)
12. Ability to build strong and productive teams
13. Creativity
14. An understanding of database configuration and functionality
15. An understanding of social computing
16. An understanding of law firm (or your industry's) economics
17. ?

What would you add? What would you omit? Why?

5 comments:

Edgar Tan said...

Hi Mary

To your list, I'd add:

- be part of external professional networks (because you need to swim with your own kind once in a while, to rebuild energy, get fresh ideas, etc)
- speak authoritatively on KM (because everybody thinks s/he knows a little about the subject and if you aren't authoritative they'd try to run you over with what little that they know)
- be the sort of person that anybody in the organisation would ask out for lunch (because that's when they'd wash their dirty KM laundry in front of you).

Cheers

Edgar Tan

Stephen Bounds said...

Mary,

On (7) -- I think the quality depends on your background.

If you have an IT background (as I do), this needs to read "no tendency to technophilia".

To be truly effective at KM in my opinion, if you like technology you must be prepared to walk away. And if you are suspicious of technology, you need to learn how to embrace it.

Stan Garfield said...

Hi, Mary.

This may be of interest:
KM Leader Job Description

Regards,
Stan

Samuel Driessen said...

Great list, Mary! I'd like to generalize nr. 3 a bit. Yes, KM-ers need to be translators. I'd say the translate or relate real-life systems to technical systems and vice versa. They easily move between 'business' and 'IT'.
An extra list item is: can process lots of information (analytical skills).

Jack Vinson said...

Good stuff (of course).

A number of your elements are "basic understanding of the business" which I think is right on. This is important for anyone who wishes to be heard by more than their own compatriots.

A parallel to this is knowing your own limitations and that there are others with differing world views. If your focus is IT, acknowledge it. If you are a librarian, embrace that. Etc. Do not forget that there are other people in the organization with different experiences and world views. They can help.