How to Deliver Knowledge That Goes Further (Video)
There is a disconnect today between corporate priorities and the concerns of those on the front lines of businesses, said World Bank senior KM officer Pascual Saura.
Often executives are thinking about tomorrow and how to help their team succeed in the long term, he said. “But the problem is that your front line is only thinking about today, and that's perfectly legitimate. That's the emergency of the day-to-day grind, and everything they have to do to survive. And so there's a massive disconnect here between corporate strategies and the day-to-day of the front line.”
This is a classic problem when you're not online and you don't have a distributed workforce. “But when you're in a virtual work environment, then that becomes a real big problem. Your message does not come across that nicely,” he noted. “So by default we are using learning for this right? We're going to pipe down some information to the teams, which may or may not take it. I would propose two other strategies.”
The first one, he said, is the “giving hand strategy,” and this one is very simple and straightforward. As you are delivering seamlessly in a frictionless manner all those answers to the front line, you're also adding a slice of the knowledge to go further. You know? You asked for this, here it is, and, by the way there's also that very cool stuff that's coming in. You could find that helpful.”
The other strategy, he said, is a little more complicated, and represents what he calls the “leading answers strategy.” “You know as we say a leading question? You ask a leading question and you're kind of forcing the answer from your interlocutor. But a leading answer is exactly that.”
As an example, Saura said, when he joined the French embassy in the United States, he was in charge of overseeing the cultural and language centers all through the country. “And one of my first tasks was to drive the adoption for a new educational standard, which comprised a very cool evaluation scale for foreign languages. It was top-notch, it was built by the council of Europe, and it was really working and bringing us to the next phase of language teaching. The problem was that my front line, which were the language and cultural centers, couldn't care for it. You know they could see the merits, they could see that it was very nicely done, and it was really useful. But they already had that, they were not asking for it and they were happy with what they had. So they wouldn't take it.” Basically, the response was: “Nice but I didn't ask for this. Instead they were asking for other stuff, plenty of other stuff.”
One of the things that they were asking for was a way to connect with their audience outside of business hours. There was a website, but websites are passive, said Saura.
The centers felt very strongly that they needed something more. So, Saura said, an online placement test was built. “And so our language centers were free to have this in their tool box, and to be able to engage with their audience. They took it right away and it was for free online.”
The only catch, he said, was that along with this online placement test, the brand-new evaluation scale— that had been a struggle to get buy-in to just months before—was also put online.
“And because people loved the tool so much and because it was so useful, they kind of felt naturally that they had to adopt the new educational standard and to adopt the new evaluation scale. It was seamless and now they had a reason to do so.”
That, said Saura, is the leading answer or the leading solution. “It's when you provide a tool or a service that actually changes the behavior or the response of your interlocutor. It's very important when you have a virtual workspace.”
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Learn more at KMWorld 2019, coming to Washington, DC, Nov. 5-7.
Watch the complete video of this presentation in the KMWorld Conference 2018 Video Portal.