“Knowledge Management in Practice: Chief Knowledge Officers and Chief-Learning Officers (ASTD, 2000) is a series of case studies at 18 global organizations representing a wide diversity of industries, including technology, health care, consulting services, retail, financial, education, government, accounting, and insurance. The cases define initial best practices and lessons learned, and provide guidance for people aspiring to be knowledge or learning leaders” (Bonner, 2000). From this and our course readings, I have extracted a consolidated list of Knowledge, Skills, and Ability’s (KSAs) required of CKOs and CLOs.
Chief knowledge officer positions should be created to envision, guide, direct organizational systems that deliberately leverage knowledge into tangible business benefits. Similarly, CLO positions should be designed to leverage learning. The organizational culture, the type of knowledge and organizational learning it wants to emphasize, and how technologically focused the duty requires will be essential factors in choosing between CKO and CLO KSA’s.
“CKOs locate knowledge within a company and find ways to capture, distribute, and create more of it. In some of the cases, the CKO position originated from that of chief information officer, which is primarily technology-driven. But a CKO is more likely to view technology as only an enabler for an effective knowledge management system, and he or she brings the added dimensions of strategic vision and business savvy” (Bonner, 2000). Nearly universally, the CKOs in the case studies and other literature on this new and growing profession emphasize the need for them be networkers and build key relationship creating access to knowledge leaders. “Nick Milton, a former knowledge manager and a knowledge management pioneer for British Petroleum, says, "The fundamental issues are people, culture, roles, behaviors, and the business processes in your organization. Don't just focus on technology. It may help you manage knowledge, but knowledge is a people issue. It lives in people's heads." Likewise, Andy Campbell, the CKO of the Central Intelligence Agency's Office of Training and Education, says, "Don't get seduced by the technologists." The chief learning officers in the cases generally shares that perspective. Pat Cataldo, CLO for Science Applications International Corporation, adds, "People--throughout the industry in general--are often tempted to view the advantages that new technologies bring to the table as a catch-all solution. One size or one solution does not fit all training situations"” (Bonner, 2000).
The following activities were cited universally or nearly so by all of the CKOs and CLOs in the cases as key knowledge areas and requirements for performance:
1. Align and integrate diverse functions or groups.
2. Use previous best practices or design benchmarking studies.
3. Develop a culture of acceptance of organizational learning, continuous learning, and knowledge management.
4. Have a customer service orientation.
5. Identify critical areas for improvement, through needs or gap analyses.
6. Create knowledge-content activities to contribute to or manage the capture, sharing, and retention activities.
7. Leverage corporate-wide learning.
8. Establish partnerships with senior managers.
9. Conduct strategic planning and implementation.
10. Be a visionary and champion for organizational learning and knowledge management.
11. Business objectives & performance (developed or supported)
12. Career planning/staff or professional development
13. Change manager role
14. Communications/build networks/use personal influence
15. Continuous and/or consistent learning systems highlighted
16. Corporate or in-house universities/ learning lab
17. Create/lead expert teams
18. Culture development for learning and/or knowledge
19. Customer service orientation
20. Employee orientation program
21. Employee retention/recruitment programs
22. Executive education and/or action learning
23. Financial knowledge management
24. Identify critical areas for improvement/needs analyses
25. Knowledge-content activities (capture, share & retain)
26. Knowledge-structure (tools, manage infrastructure)
27. Leverage corporate-wide learning and/or knowledge
28. Organization effectiveness consulting/OD activities
29. Partnerships with senior management/others
30. Project management activities
31. Sales/marketing/ business development
32. Strategic planning & implementation
33. Technology for learning/knowledge (developed or supported)
34. Training & education/workshops/retreats/meeting leader
In addition to these activities required for CKO and CLO performance, I have summarized a list of key Skills and Abilities required as additional criteria for selecting and hiring CKOs and CLOs.
1. Ability to design information systems (designing, evaluating, or choosing information content, database structures, indexing and knowledge representation, interfaces, networking, and technology.
2. Managing information systems (maintaining the integrity, quality, currency of the data, updating, modifying, improving the system, and operating the system).
3. Managing information resources (managing organizational information resources to support organizational missions and for competitive advantage).
4. Establish and sustain training (coaching, mentoring, community of practice start-up and life cycle training support, and feeding back lessons learned, best practices into training content).
5. Serve as information agent for the organization/agencies (acting as information consultants or guides for clients: advising, training, guiding on information, information sources, information use; acting as agents on behalf of clients: gathering, evaluating, analyzing, synthesizing, and summarizing information for clients).