How can I”know who knows” None of us can personally know more than around 250 people, yet we want our businesses to be smart, learning organisations where it’s easy to find the ideal person to talk to. This is the reason why a lot of organisations create”yellow pages” applications, which enable employees to find and contact other staff with particular expertise and skills. Nonetheless, these systems can be fraught with difficulty in their implementation, and often end up as obsolete, glorified intranet telephone directories. This article, drawn from a bestselling knowledge management fieldbook by its author, identifies ten key steps involved in creating and sustaining an effective, employee-owned yellow pages system.

1 Maintain a clean and distinctive vision. Be cautious about what it is you’re attempting to achieve and avoid compromise. Everybody will need a slice of this action - don’t lose sight of the overarching goal of your system - making it simple to locate people who you don’t already know.
2 Strive for personal ownership and maintenance. Create a procedure whereby only the individuals concerned can create and update their entries. This will drive a much deeper feeling of ownership across the populace.
3 Strike a balance between informal and formal content. Encourage individuals to share non-work information about themselves along with valuable company information. .
4 Support the photos wherever possible. There’s nothing more powerful and private than a picture. It speaks volumes about the person, raises the curiosity levels of others also creates personal ownership of the content. If possible encourage people to incorporate a casual photograph. The security-pass-rabbit-in-the-headlights shots rarely show people in their best light! Better to have a picture which says more about the individual and what inspires them.
5 Ensure your product design is inclusive and flexible. Recognize that different people relate to templates, pushes and structure in various ways.
6 Start using a customer-facing pilot. Critical mass is all important, so begin with a group of individuals who have a natural desire to be observable to internal customers. This might include supporting purposes, existing communities or networks, or even business areas with fresh direction.
7 Deliver through local fans. Centrally-driven push isn?t consistently the best method to engage the workforce. Tap into local enthusiasts and champions if at all possible? They’ll know the way to”sell” the concept locally.
8 Use success stories as a marketing tool. Reinforce the usefulness of the knowledge directory at every opportunity. Publicize any examples or successes widely, and ancient, to reinforce your undertaking.
9 Encourage use, but lead by example rather than edict. Avoid mandating the population and usage of the information directory. Folks might provide better quality articles should they feel they are volunteering the information. At the conclusion of the day, you can?t actually conscript knowledge - you can only ever exude it.
And let?s face it, there’s very little point in finding the one person with expertise or expertise that you require, when you call them on the phone, they’re reluctant to speak!
10 Embed into individuals processes. Search for process and intranet”hooks” that may initiate and maintain the use of your knowledge directory (e.g. recruitment or induction of new staff, the launch of new networks, any mention on an intranet site which mentions a person’s name can become link to their personal page.