Imaginist35’s Weblog

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Understanding the impact of distrust in KM programmes

I have been struck by the impact of distrust between members of an organisation on their attempts to set up and run knowledge management programmes. Having developed a model for quantifying distrust and applied it within our Change Equation methodology, I have been experimenting with using it within a KM programme.The model started life as a series of scribbles while reading a Steven Covey book: ‘The Speed of Trust‘. The book sets out the clear relationship between a manager’s ability to gain trust and his/her effectiveness as a leader and change agent. But it fell short of quantifying this relationship – surely, I thought, one could develop a model to do this? So I did – and it works.

It’s simple really – all the best models are! Ask a manager 3 questions, each measured against a 4 point scale (poor-excellent).
The 3 questions relate :
1. senior managers
2. staff
3. managers in an equivalent position in other parts of the organisation with whom he/she interacts.
(If you want to know the questions we use, come and ask!).
Put the scores together and convert the result into a %. This is your distrust factor.

How does it impact on change and knowledge management? Well, think about it…

If I ask you for some information or to make a change to a process and you trust me, you’ll probably do it. If you don’t, you probably won’t! In exteme cases, where there is real distrust between us, I may have to ask several times, then escalate it to my boss to involve his opposite number and finally get the information or the change late and/or not at all. And the amount of time and effort I need to expend rises in direct proportion to the level of distrust.

So in a change project I can apply the distrust factor to the planned cost and timescales and come up with an estimate of the extra work and delay likely to be incurred unless the root cause is dealt with.

Similarly in a KM programme, I can assess the degree to which I should assume knowledge sharing and effectiveness of any KM strategy across the organisation.

If you are interested in trying this out in your own organisation, contact me



March 9, 2008 - Posted by | business change management, knowledge management, project and programme management | , , , , , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. Hi, this is a comment.
    To delete a comment, just log in, and view the posts’ comments, there you will have the option to edit or delete them.

    Comment by Mr WordPress | March 9, 2008 | Reply

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