What does a KM toxic organisation look like/sound like/feel like?  I did a bit of a personal brain dump, and came up with the following:

Look like 

Sound like 

Feel like 

Everyone in separate cubicles with their head down  Very quiet       Isolated/disconnected      
Few communal areas to meet and talk  We don’t do that here..  Frustrating 
No coffee/tea points  We can’t do that..  Always running to catch up 
A maze  We work in silos…  Us and them 
Hierarchical organisation chart reflected in hierarchical offices  No-one really understands what I do  Afraid to make suggestions 
   I have to ask my boss  Disempowered 
   I don’t know who can help me  Helpless 

Doesn’t really seem a great place to work.  Of course, for some people, this sort of environment is safe and means they don’t have to take risks with demonstrating what they can or cannot do.  When it comes down to it, however, if they are doing something excellent, it can’t do them any harm to share it and if they aren’t – should they be working in that job in the first place?  A bit harsh maybe, but I think KM is a lot about realising the potential of people.  Not everyone is an ‘expert’ but I would suggest that everyone has a contribution to make – they just need to work in an environment that encourages and recognises that contribution.

So what might a KM enabled organisation be like?

Look like 

Sound like 

Feel like 

People grouped around desks discussing their work and teaching each other  Buzzing  Part of the bigger picture   

Many meeting rooms and open areas for people to sit and read/work/talk  Let’s try it…   

Connected   
Communal coffee/tea points – ideally a staff restaurant  I know someone who knows about this..let’s see if they can help  Empowered    

Flexible working space that can be easily negotiated and can enable both sharing and privacy  Why don’t we look at this differently?   

Enthusiastic   

   I have a great idea…  Innovative 
   Not a problem….    

I know where I would rather work….