Identifying and Communicating Impact

Earlier this week, KCS Certified Trainer Aprill Allen posted a Tweet that got me thinking about the many, many conversations we’ve been having about the importance of reflecting to people that their actions are making a difference – especially when we are doing “delayed gratification” work where the results of our efforts are not immediately apparent. 

KCS is a delayed gratification model.  Knowledge workers have to do the right things (search, link, flag or fix, create) over a long period of time before the results of those efforts can be seen.  If we want knowledge workers to keep doing these KCS activities, we have to make sure we tell them about the effect that their work is having!

Technique 8.7 in the KCS v6 Practices Guide describes building a Communications Plan, which we can also think of as the way we fulfill the promise of KCS.  When we launch a KCS implementation, we spend a lot of time talking about the benefits we expect to see. There is a very helpful exercise offered as part of the KCS v6 Practices workshop in which we think through “What’s In It For Me” for each of the internal KCS stakeholders: knowledge workers, managers, and executives.

For example, in our organization, the KCS benefit the knowledge workers are most excited about is getting to work on new issues as opposed to answering the same questions over and over.  Managers are interested in reducing time to new hire proficiency. Executives want to improve the customer experience by removing the root cause of pervasive issues.

Understanding the interests of each of these stakeholders, setting expectations about the time and efforts it will take to obtain results, and then communicating progress (especially small wins along the way) is absolutely key if we want to sustain interest in KCS.  As Aprill observes, “clear positive feedback on the results of behavior change are powerful motivators.”

The Communications Plan isn’t just for implementation; it’s an important tool to keep the KCS double loops feeding each other! Especially when we are asking people to do something new and for a sustained period of time, we have to be intentional about showing them that their participation is making a difference. 

Consortium Members had a great conversation recently around Enhancing KCS Roles – specifically how KCS Coaches and KDEs play an integral part in identifying and communicating the impact our KCS work is having. Members can access notes and recorded presentations in the Members-Only Wiki!

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