Strategic Planning for Knowledge Management Course for the Working with SMEs Tribe: This is a Test

In our ever-expanding quest to spread the Working with Subject Matter Experts gospel, we test platforms beyond the blog  to get the message out. This week, we created a test course, Strategic Planning for Knowledge Management.

As a writer, I love to write so that is my go-to communication method. But you absorb information in different ways, so we like to play with other formats to help reach you and teach you where you’re at. We enjoy creating the podcasts and will probably keep them going in some fashion after our first season. In the meantime, I am developing a series of online courses and thought I would share a 10-minute sample of an introductory course with you here for your feedback.

Because this is a test, I realize the lighting and framing of the video is poor. That is the fault of me, the user, and my Internet connection. The actual platform and technology is really cool  and if you like the idea, I will refine it and spend some time improving the video on my end.

Content: Is this information helpful?

Audience: Will leaders in your organization find the information useful?

Format: Would this online course suffice in place of live workshops?

Value: Would you like to drill down in this topic of strategic planning for knowledge management and learn more about how to find your experts using this framework?

Platform: How about the platform? Do you like the slides plus video? Would it be helpful to add the text so you can follow along and read it (Of course, we will make formal courses 508 Compliant)? Would slides plus just audio voiceover be better?

We continue to welcome your comments and feedback. Some of you choose to reach out directly to us at and that works for us, too. We read everything and respond.

Thanks for following and sharing this information with others.


Episode 15: The Value of a Chief Learning Officer

In today’s episode of the Working with SMEs podcast, co-host Nathan Eckel and I discuss the expansion of the C-Suite, and in particular the value of adding a Chief Learning Officer to the mix. A CLO integrates and elevates talent development and knowledge management functions into the long-term business plan. A trainer and learning professional at the head table brings a lot to the party when they become experts in the business and the industry.

In a little less than 12 minutes, we talk about the practical and the theoretical aspects of a CLO position. A great C-Suite does not just “think” ahead of the curve because change is no longer linear. Rather, change is exponential so a great CLO helps colleagues “dream” ahead of the curve.

Please comment below. We like hearing from you!

The Working with SMEs 2017 Survey Says…

Survey word cloud 

It’s that time of year where we report the results of the Working with SMEs Annual Survey.

Our respondents are all male and many are near or at retirement age, although none ready to retire, it seems!  Why quit when we are doing something we love?

As for our concerns, readers continue to struggle with developing training that achieves behavioral outcomes. The solution is creating training that reaches today’s learners as Millennials take over as the single largest generation in the workforce. Millennials and Gen 2020 learn in smaller snippets, and they want information all the time at the point of need.

We found that technology, manufacturing and intellectual property dominate, if not our reader population, certainly our respondents. They felt most compelled to speak up in our survey. Respondents confirmed that capturing and transferring proprietary information is an ongoing business need.

As decades of experience leave the workforce, it pays to:

·         capture what you need to retain as soon as possible

·         transfer it using methods that reach your new learners

·         continue to focus knowledge transfer using strategies that create behavior change

Thank you to everyone who participated in our survey. 

Please comment below. We appreciate your readership and involvement in our community.


Here’s what we learned in our Working with SMEs survey this year:


Female – 0%

Male – 100%

(Hello, ladies!)


35-50 – 25%

51-65 – 25%

65+ – 50%


Training and Talent Development – 25%

Executive (C-suite/Management) – 25%

Consultants (business/talent development/marketing/branding) – 50%


Technology – 25%

Professional Services – 25%

Manufacturing – 25%

Marketing, Sales and Public Relations – 25%

Biggest Challenge:

Creating training tools and approaches for Millennials – 25%

Developing training that achieves behavioral outcomes – 50%

Assuring protection of intellectual property, patent – 25%

Episode 12: Planning to Avoid Shelfware

Welcome to the Working with SMEs Podcast with our co-host Nathan Eckel. In this episode, Nathan asks the question, “What could be worse than losing friends on Facebook over your political opinions?” The answer: Shelfware. Want to know more? Then listen here.



Training that is built and doesn’t get used has two major problems:

1. It is a waste of money.

2. Valuable information has been collected but is not disseminated.

When you are proactive in your approach to your training needs analysis -rather than reactive – you can avoid building training that doesn’t get used.

Thank you for listening! We look forward to your comments.

In Favor of a CLO? When Next Gen Learning Needs a View from the Top

This post originally ran May 28, 2016.

When organizations do knowledge management well, it is usually because territorial battles waged. Someone with authority at the top made decisions and roles of responsibility in the training department realigned. That is why it is critical for organizations to have a chief learning officer sitting in the C-suite. Territorial battles need referees who have the big picture and no entrenched interests in preserving an individual fiefdom in the kingdom that is your corporation.

Knowing which knowledge to capture, retain or discard requires trainers to be part of the inner circle of business leaders in an organization. It becomes the role of the training expert to also understand business in general as well as their organizations and industries specifically so they can be at the helm with other executives to assist them in making these decisions. We are beginning to see Chief Learning Officers (CLO) alongside the CEO, CFO, CIO and, in medical organizations, CMO. As we think about successful businesses as learning organizations, it follows logically that the training department is an essential member of the team that determines the direction of the organization.

This critical role at the big kids’ table requires trainers to learn the business of business, as well as the industry in which they work. Without industry knowledge, programs lack context and this contributes to the fact that training programs often wind up as shelfware, never used or cast aside after a brief time. If the instructional designer has little knowledge of the business or industry in which they work, how can their programs have context or relevance to the enterprise? The answer, of course, is that they can’t.

The subject of knowledge management is now as much part of an organization’s success strategy as its sales, R&D and marketing strategies.

Here are 5 steps to guide your organization’s critical knowledge capture requiring a champion in the C-suite

1. Funnel all training and knowledge management through one pathway in the organization that ends at the top

2. Identify the expertise you need to capture by doing a matrix walk-through

3. Create a plan for working with your critical subject matter experts and conduct interviews that result in capturing critical information for your training programs

4. Develop a logical single system for storing and retrieving critical knowledge

5. Establish a review process to assess the ongoing relevancy and accuracy of critical knowledge stored in your organization

The final arbiter of the value of existing knowledge and its relevance going forward must be someone who has the widest possible vantage point in the organization. That person needs to have as few attachments to the way things are done as possible because it is their job to envision the way things need to be. CLOs,  or someone in a similar high-level, above-the-fray capacity, needs to be able to make the tough calls regarding which training is most effective and which consultants are adding value.

Does your training department have a strong voice in the executive suite?

Podcast Episode 6: Succession Planning is More Than Replacing an Individual; It’s About Knowledge Transfer

Welcome to Episode 6 of the Working with SMEs Podcast.  In today’s conversation with co-host Nathan Eckel, we discuss the challenges of succession planning. Succession planning is more than just grooming the right person and getting out of the way, but it’s about making sure new leaders have all the information they need to move forward.

Nathan reminds us, “The first job of a leader is to define reality.”

A great leader must embody qualities like vision and the ability to inspire, but he or she also needs the right information to be able to accurately define reality and make good decisions. A strong learning organization has all that information available and usable.

An organization is a living, breathing organism. Everybody’s contribution makes the organization work, and that is why knowledge capture and transfer is at the heart of success.

As your key people retire, are you capturing what you need to know for business continuity?

(Warning: Peggy tells a joke in this episode.)

Podcast Episode 5: The Importance of Interviewing Experts and Sharing Information

In this episode of the Working with SMEs podcast, Nathan Eckel and I touch on a few issues regarding the importance of interviewing experts in an organized way and the value of information-sharing in a learning organization.

A few things we talk about today include:

  • decide what is important in your organization before you decide who is important in your organization
  • the value of interviewing your employees in an organized way for training purposes
  • why you need to have a culture of sharing information among employees in a learning organization

Thank you for listening to the podcast. Please add your thoughts and comments below.

Podcast Episode 4: How to Position Your Company for a Knowledge Transfer Best-Case Scenario

In this week’s episode of the Working with SMEs podcast, co-host Nathan Eckel and I discuss the three knowledge transfer scenarios in which a company will find itself: Best case, worst case and second worst case.

Find out which scenario your company is living today, and how to up your game (if you need to!).


In summary:

The worst case scenario is that your employees with your most valuable, critical skill sets have already left and you will never see them again. Ouch!

The second worst case scenario is that your employees with your most valuable, critical skills sets have retired but you can get them back – on their own schedule, at their own price.

The best case scenario is that you use the last, best years of your most valuable employees’ tenure to capture what they know so you can pass it on.

Which reality are you living today?

We’d like to hear how you handle the expert knowledge capture in your organization. Please comment below.


Podcast 3: Challenges and Opportunities of 5 Generations in the Workforce

Today, co-host Nathan Eckel leads the verbal charge in a discussion about the training, learning and communication challenges and opportunities of 5 generations in the workforce.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics tells us that we have 5 generations working and contributing in the workforce until 2020.

Listen as Nathan and Peggy discuss the exciting ways that the 5 generations affect corporate culture, communication, learning and knowledge transfer.

To recap, the 5 generations are:

World War II

Baby Boomers

Generation X


Gen 2020 – born post-2000 and entering the workforce this year 2017 as they begin to graduate from high school.

We welcome your comments below.



Podcast Premier: Lifelong Learning and a Department of Human Potential

Welcome to the premier of the Working with SMEs podcast. In this first episode, Nathan Eckel, author of Open Source Instructional Design, joins me as co-host in a discussion on the importance of lifelong learning. Nathan and I recorded a dozen episodes and they will appear in this blog space on Thursdays.

In this episode, we discuss the ways that people have become 24/7 learners aided by an all-info, all-the-time culture, and the implications that this kind of learning has for business.

Thank you for listening to this edition of the Working with SMEs podcast. Let us know if you like this format in the comment box below.