Applied Knowledge Services: A New Approach for Management and Leadership in the 21st Century Organization
Applied Knowledge Services:
A New Approach for Management and Leadership
in the 21st Century Organization
September 15, 2020
Guy St. Clair and Barrie Levy
What We’ll Cover
Define Knowledge Services
Review Knowledge Services Value
Explain Knowledge Services Evolving Management and
Highlight Knowledge Services Critical Success Factors
Organizational Success Builds on Knowledge Sharing
The one issue that increasingly challenges all knowledge workers —
including business and enterprise leaders — is the management of
intellectual capital. It is the foundation for the organization’s intellectual
With knowledge services, the organization can realize strengthen
research, contextual decision making, accelerated innovation, and
successful knowledge asset management.
Intellectual capital: intellectual material that is put to use to create
wealth … the sum of everything everybody in a company knows that
gives it a competitive edge.
(Intellectual capital: the new wealth of organizations, 1997)
Thomas A. Stewart
Knowledge Services =
Since the early 1900s, organizations have
struggled to identify and manage practical
and utilitarian information, knowledge, and
The 20th century continuum from
information management to knowledge
management and the 21st century
continuum from KM to knowledge services
now enables the knowledge culture.
Defining Knowledge Services
Knowledge services is the
management and service-delivery
methodology that converges
knowledge management (KM), and
strategic learning into a single over-
arching operational function.
Knowledge Management Knowledge
Its purpose is to ensure the highest levels of knowledge sharing within the organization in
which knowledge services is practiced and enabled as a knowledge sharing culture.
Management and leadership for knowledge sharing is the responsibility of the knowledge
Knowledge Services is not just KM. It goes beyond KM. It includes KM but there is a
difference – knowledge services also converges with information management and strategic
Knowledge Services is similar to most understanding about KM, so perhaps it’s just
nomenclature: “A rose is a rose.”
A specific framework for managing knowledge sharing in any organization — for-profit, non-
profit, or not-for-profit.
Organization, profession, or subject agnostic. Knowledge Services works in any group or
Enables the application of management, leadership, and knowledge services principles to working
with information, knowledge, and strategic learning in and throughout the organization,
community, or group.
Combines prescriptive directions (“how-to”) for applying knowledge services with attention to the
philosophy and history of management and leadership and their connection with information and
Enables the knowledge strategist to use this background, in combination with management and
leadership skills, for knowledge sharing and establishing the value of knowledge services in
building the organizational knowledge culture.
…the management discipline
that ensures organizational
effectiveness (business success/
community success) by
matching intellectual capital
management with the
corporate, organizational, or
Management and Leadership
The Knowledge Strategist is uniquely
Understanding the organization’s
communication and knowledge-sharing
Using professional expertise and
background for evaluating how
information and knowledge are managed
Providing particular strengths for aligning
knowledge value and use with corporate
to Humanistic Management
Knowledge Services is an established discipline for strengthened knowledge
sharing — a single (whenever possible) enterprise-wide discipline for the benefit of
the business, organization, or community – connecting with organizational success
as knowledge workers seek to improve knowledge sharing in the workplace.
David E. Lilienthal (Management: A Humanist Art): The heart of the modern
managerial task is to close the gap between man’s goals and the fulfillment of
Peter Drucker (“the father of modern management”): Management has mostly
to do with people, not techniques and procedures. Their engagement is what
matters. … Management is about human beings.
From Human-Centric Management
to Transformational Leadership
Leadership is about leading by serving, not
by being subservient, but by bringing others
along, setting the example that it isn’t just
about the leader but also about those he or
– Deborah Hunt
Knowledge Strategist/Director, Mechanics
We need leaders who practice listening…
Successful leaders are those who are
listeners and unifiers, and through them we
find common ground.
– Frances Hesselbein,
President and CEO, The Frances Hesselbein
Frances Hesselbein has been long considered at the
forefront of transformational leadership, which she
describes with eight specific attributes. She calls them
”milestones,” tools for enabling organizations to “meet their
These directives are transformational, used to connect
knowledge strategy with the organizational mission, with
each contributing to the development of the organization
or community’s knowledge strategy.
1. Scan the environment
2. Revisit the mission
3. Ban the hierarchy
4. Challenge the gospel
5. Employ the power of
6. Disperse leadership across the
7. Lead from the front; don’t push
from the rear.
8. Assess performance.
All people want to belong to and feel part of
a community. ... This is why high engagement
leadership works well: it encourages people
for a cause they care about and relies on their
hearts and minds to find ways forward for
solving their own problems.
– Margaret Wheatley
Author and Consultant
“Real” managers recognize both their roles as
business tacticians and strategists but also as
leaders of people. … They build trusting
partnerships at the highest levels, enabling
culture and leading through change.
– Kevin Manion
Senior Manager, Employee Services,
Knowledge strategists understand that management and leadership
principles both support and drive knowledge strategy development and
implementation. Yet the leadership required for maintaining and
sustaining the knowledge culture must have a different focus.
We call it “knowledge leadership.” Its primary purpose is to ensure that
the knowledge services process is managed for the benefit of knowledge
use in the organization and that knowledge value is conveyed back to all
The knowledge strategist accepts the responsibility to provide
knowledge leadership, having the ability, the knowledge of concepts,
and the skills for that rarified role. Why? Because the knowledge
Knows the communication and knowledge sharing habits within the
Is particularly skilled for evaluating how intellectual capital is
developed, shared, and used in the community
Is expert in aligning knowledge value with organizational goals.
In an increasingly complex world, appointed
leaders simply don’t know enough to decide
what is new and better. Leadership is a group
sport, not an individual heroic activity.
– Dr. Edgar Schein
Appreciating the extraordinary but underutilized power of
conversation, recognizing that we can all lead, and adopting a
conversational approach to the way we live and work
Three core questions:
1. Are we having the conversation we need to be having right now?
2. Are we having it in the way we need to be having it?
3. In what ways are we forming community in this conversation?
Incorporating conversational leadership into knowledge
services – knowledge sharing – opens the door to “lighting
the way,” moving our organizations, communities, and other
groups out of the darkness we are currently experiencing into
a future when people come together to achieve mutually
We need a new approach to leadership. We
need to see leadership as a practice as opposed
to a role or a position of authority. It may be
time to consider that leadership is a choice that
is available to all of us.
– John Hovell
Managing Director & Co-Founder, STRATactical
Putting It All Together
Management, Leadership, and Knowledge Services
The knowledge strategist’s two-part primary leadership responsibility:
To define the knowledge culture for the larger organization
To pave the way for restructuring the organization – or strengthening it – as a
Three critical points of focus:
The Knowledge Audit
Critical Success Factors:
The Knowledge Services Audit
Why an “audit”?
Regulatory environment: “audit” is an up-or-down term – an operational activity that determines
specifically whether or not a particular regulatory requirement is – or has been – met
Not necessarily evaluative in the larger sense
With the knowledge services audit, the knowledge strategist seeks to broaden the evaluation:
how well is the situation being handled?
how well is service delivery being performed?
How well is knowledge being shared?
The activity itself can be described in whatever terminology is appropriate to the organizational
culture: “appraisal,” “assessment,” “evaluation,” “review,” etc. (“audit” is not always appropriate for
working, especially in financial services!).
Change Management and Collaboration
Change Management – Or Change Leadership?
Peter Drucker said it best: One cannot manage change. One can only be ahead of it (and especially in a period of
upheaval like what we are currently experiencing now), and change is the norm. But unless it is seen as the task
of the knowledge strategist to lead change, knowledge services and knowledge sharing will not survive. In a
period of rapid cultural change, Drucker said, the only ones who survive are the change leaders.
For the knowledge strategist, change is an opportunity. The knowledge strategist looks for change, knows how
to find the right changes, and knows how to make them effective both outside the organization and inside it. The
key element (perhaps the key element) for the knowledge strategist’s success has to do with change. The
knowledge strategist does not manage change. The knowledge strategist leads change.
Collaboration is the name of the game.
Organizational, community, or group success is based on how efficiently people find what they need. If they
spend too much time or money looking for information and knowledge, they are wasting resources and
inhibiting the community’s larger success. And finding themselves professionally frustrated.
Guy St. Clair
If You Want to Know More
Additional references for knowledge services include:
1. Guy and Barrie’s book, The Knowledge Services Handbook:
A Guide for the Knowledge Strategist, published by De
2. Guy’s earlier book (2016) Knowledge Services: A Strategic
Framework for the 21st Century Organization, also
published by De Gruyter.
3. Guy’s blog (SMR’s Knowledge Services Blog) is available at
SMR International or at http://bit.ly/2vqOfqH. It is also usually
posted at Guy’s profile on LinkedIn.
4. Guy also manages and invites you to join the LinkedIn Group
And to End with a Happy Announcement
Timothy W. Powell
The Value of
The Economics of
Series: Knowledge Services
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Stanley A. Garfield
A Guide to Leading
Communities of Practice
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