“Just do it! First you make your habits, then your habits make you!”
― Lucas Remmerswaal
Managing knowledge is heavily reliant upon two things: process and habit. By process I mean that new information management practices must be included in our daily practice for them to take root. For example I once oversaw a team that would help clients use SharePoint to manage their data. Much of this work required that my team members engage with their clients from conceptualization to deployment of a project. Due to the interwoven nature of our organization, team members sometimes would work on projects that solved different aspects of the same problem. This would later cause difficulties as the solutions to the problem could potentially conflict with one another or waste human resources as more work was committed to than was required.
The problem was addressed by integrating additional information sharing practices into our project management process. We switched to a new project management approach (Agile Scrum) that made use of frequent knowledge sharing behaviors. Key defining characteristics of the methodology were collective planning and daily progress updates. These new behaviors allowed the team to spot potential synergies or conflicts between projects prior to work being done. The important thing was that these knowledge sharing practices were part of a formalized process and as a result, new behavioral habits were able to take root.
Which brings me to my second point, habits are powerful things. They allow us to engage in the world without giving much thought to the day to day actions we take. Habits allow us to conserve mental energy on mundane issues and deal with more complex concerns. Our habits support us without fail all day everyday while remaining on the periphery of our awareness. This characteristic is also the problem with habits. If our habits are not in alignment with the needs of our environment we experience all sorts of challenges and difficulties that seem to materialize out of nowhere. However through deliberate reflection we can assess our daily habits and align them appropriately. Memorializing effective habits and behaviors into a process will ensure that we sustain our new direction until environmental changes require we refine our approach.