Creating "buy-in" for KM solutions in your association

Posted by Cindy Farris Thu, 15 Feb 2007 20:10:00 GMT

Just because you offer awesome KM solutions, it does not mean that your members and staff will use them.  To make your association’s KM initiatives successful you will need to get “buy-in” or support both externally and internally.

Approach for Building Member “Buy-In”

  • Ye old knowledge management proverb “tell me, I forget; show me, I remember; Involve me, I understand” source: The Power of Six Sigma by Subir Chowdhury
  • Use your SME’s and focus groups as champions of your KM solutions.  Have them participate in your needs assessments and give them periodic updates on the progression of your development.  Make them feel like they are part of the development team.
  • Include SME’s, focus group participants, BOD in your tool testing.  Let them be the first ones to try out new KM tools.  Champions are a great resource for getting the word out when something excites them.  They also like being the first to know about something new.
  • Ask for input from your testers on the value and usability of your KM solutions.  Their input can be invaluable in developing a user friendly tool that members will find helpful.  Being involved gives them the opportunity to truly understand the process of becoming a learning organization.

 Approach for Building Staff “Buy-In”

  • As the ye old KM proverb states “involve me; I understand.”  This applies to staff as well as members.
  • Encourage staff to get involved with KM projects for members.  Use them for product testing and conduct “train the trainer” sessions with them so that they are able to show members how to get maximum value out of the tool.
  • Find internal areas within your association that would benefit from KM and encourage staff to develop solutions.  These activities could include finding ways to automate a manual process and documenting the new process for other staff members to use or creating a FAQ to help staff better answer complex member questions.
  • Consider reward or incentive programs to spark the staff member’s “creative juices.”  Encourage them to create new ways to get members excited about the value added KM tools that you’ll be offering to members.  Everyone likes to be “cutting edge.”


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Ways you can use knowledge management in your association

Posted by Cindy Farris Wed, 07 Feb 2007 21:31:00 GMT

There are a number of reasons or motivations leading associations to undertake knowledge management initiatives.  The first and foremost reason is to help members gain the competitive advantage that comes with improved or faster learning and new knowledge creation.  KM programs or “managed knowledge” can lead to greater innovation, better member and consumer experiences, consistency in good business practices and access to reliable and relevant knowledge. 

Reasons to consider a knowledge management program for your association:

  • making available increased knowledge about all aspects of the real estate transaction and best practices in the profession
  • achieving shorter learning curves for new associates and brokers
  • facilitating and managing industry and local marketplace innovation
  • leveraging the expertise of people across the entire membership
  • managing the proliferation of information in real estate environments and allowing members to rapidly access useful and relevant knowledge resources and best practices guidelines (not all knowledge is good knowledge)
  • managing intellectual capital and intellectual assets in the membership (such as the expertise and “know-how” possessed by key brokers and associates in your marketplace) as individuals retire and new practitioners enter the workforce
  • making learning communities available to the membership

 Ideas for KM Solutions in Your Association


  • Online, searchable MLS Rules and Regulations
  • Online learning community for MLS training
  • Online self-help resource center with access to forms, system “how to” guides, FAQs, relevant industry articles, links to county public records information, etc
  • Online guide for completing profile sheets, required disclosures, and risk management tips
  • Printed “how to” guide with quick tips and techniques for either the MLS Rules and Regulations or using your MLS
  • Printed brochure addressing the most frequently asked questions received by your help desk.

Education/Knowledge Sharing

  • Using online learning communities versus online courses or instructor led classes
  • Create facilitated learning labs that combine instructors and online learning communities (this helps members adapt to using learning communities)
  • Online knowledge repositories for subject areas such as contracts, required disclosures, risk management, creating a value proposition, starting a brokerage firm, developing a business plan, etc.
  • Structured blogs that target knowledge for specific segments of your membership such as appraisers, commercial, new brokers, new associates, etc.
  • Printed checklist with tips and best practices for new brokers, new associates, or members trying to survive in a transitioning market
  • Monthly meetings to share marketplace statistics that includes guides in understanding what the numbers mean and how to adapt the information to listing presentations and consumer marketing pieces
  • Printed guide on best practices and tips for success from the best producers in your marketplace

Professional Standards/COE

  • Online searchable tool with the Code of Ethics and cases
  • Online learning community with staged “real world” video examples of COE violations and tips on how to avoid getting into trouble
  • A toolkit available to brokers to help them facilitate case studies, role playing and other COE learning activities that can be incorporated into weekly or monthly office meetings


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What is Knowledge Management?

Posted by Cindy Farris Wed, 07 Feb 2007 21:16:00 GMT

Knowledge management (KM) refers to the range of activities and practices used to identify, create, represent, and distribute knowledge for reuse, awareness, and learning.  The purpose of KM is to share intelligence, improve performance, create competitive advantage and higher levels of innovation.

Knowledge management is different from classroom training or online learning courses in that it is a combination of tacit and explicit knowledge.  Classroom training and online courses typically focus on explicit or codified knowledge, while KM blends both types of knowledge to create a more robust learning experience.  KM focuses heavily on the relevancy of the content and the needs of the end user.  Focusing on classroom training or online courses conditions adult learners to believe that learning begins and ends with formal training programs.  Adults stop taking a self-directed approach to education and ignore opportunities for vital informal learning.  KM in an organization builds a culture in which learning is viewed as an ongoing process and members are encouraged to take responsibility for their own learning and development.

The value of KM for associations relates directly to the effectiveness with which the “managed knowledge” enables the members to deal with today’s workplace, marketplace and industry situations.  Without access to “managed knowledge,” every work related situation is addressed based on what the individual member brings to the situation.  With access to “managed knowledge” (KM tools) real estate related situations can be addressed with the sum total of everything anyone in the membership has ever learned about a situation of a similar nature. 

Common KM Terms

Subject Matter Expert (SME) – individual possessing extensive explicit and tacit knowledge about a topic (subject area)

Information – relates to description, definition, or perspective (what, who, when, where)

Knowledge – comprises strategy, practice, method, or approach (how and why)


Types of Knowledge:

·        Explicit - knowledge that is easy to document and convey to another.

·        Tacit – “how to” knowledge that is derived from experience, instinct and personal insight.


Categories of Knowledge:

·        Sub-core knowledge – basic information needed to enter the profession.

·        Core knowledge – basic level of knowledge needed to function in the profession.

·        Advanced knowledge – knowledge that makes you (or your organization) competitively viable.

·        Innovative knowledge – knowledge that sets your (or your organization) apart in the industry and clearly differentiates your organization from the competition.


KM Elements:

  • Value added information – can be either tacit or explicit
  • Processes and procedures – explicit
  • Best practices – tacit
  • Experiences – tacit
  • Values – tacit
  • Expert insights – can be either tacit or explicit
  • Organizational culture or norms – can be either tacit or explicit


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