I have a space left …

Just a quick one …

I have a couple of spaces left in my last 3 training events of the year. If you want one, click for more info & to book:


KM: The Works – a day-long foundation course in London on law firm/professional services KM, suitable for PSLs, LIS and KMers on 28th Sept 2017 10-4pm

“jam-packed” “practical and useful” “I would highly recommend Helene”


KM: The Scores – an afternoon workshop in London on KM project measurement on 12th October, 2-5pm

“really useful” “so useful for me … I’ll definitely be putting it into practice”


Innovation in law firms – a long-lunch workshop in Bristol, 12.30-2.30pm


Posted in Events, KM, Knowledge Network UK, Measurement, Professional Support Lawyers, The Knowledge Business | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

What is your key competency?

Follow the blog with the button at the top right, or sign up for the busy-person’s monthly summary.

Posted in collaboration, quotes | Tagged , | Leave a comment

6 steps to getting Lessons *Learned*

Lesson learning, retrospectives, look-backs, AALs, AARs, whatever you call it, it makes sense to learn what works and doesn’t within your own organisation – stops you reinventing the wheel, shares expertise around, keeps clients happy etc etc.

So why don’t more law firms have more success in learning lessons?

One of the problems is that lessons are often documented, but not *learned*.

So how can you change this in your organisation and get your lessons learned by your workforce (and steal a march on your competition)?




6 steps to learning your lessons

  1. Get your learning process right – Don’t just focus on the *end* of a project, matter or process
    1. Lessons are there to be learned throughout the project/matter/process and for a while afterwards as well. A review of multiple projects/matters/lessons can create valuable insights.
    2. Make it part of the process – are there any way-points in your case management system which could guide fee earners to learning lessons or sharing experiences? Can you add notes to practice notes or precedents? If not, how can you change processes (without creating extra unnecessary work) so that continuous learning becomes a natural part of working?
    3. Are identified lessons being *learned*, or are the same mistakes cropping up? Have a process to identify whether or not similar problems are recurring, that becomes an important point to investigate – why are the lessons not transferring into practice?
  2. Get your culture right – a culture which avoids blame and focuses on learning is key – keep working on this.
    1. An independent leader/facilitator for the review meetings can help keep everyone in a neutral learning-mode, rather than a blame-mode. Get an outsider in, or train up some independent people within your organisation.
    2. Read up on how the military create a learning culture in their AARs. If they can break out of their strict hierarchy to learn lessons, surely your lawyers/ your organisation can too?
    3. You need to get/keep your leadership team on board with the learning culture. They may need additional training if they don’t entirely see the benefit now. Make sure when mistakes are made, the focus is on how to understand the root cause of the problem and then share the learning (anonymised if appropriate).
  3. Get your technology right – a separate database full of “lessons” documents is usually unwieldy unless you have plenty of links to elsewhere in your case management system to keep signposting people back to them at the right point in their work process i.e. when they need that lesson. A sophisticated tagging/labelling system is also useful, as there are often many different lessons to be learned from one project and you will get different lessons drawn by different professionals from the same project – if they can all tag using their own natural language, then they are more likely to be able to find the lesson/document again at the right time.
  4. Get to the root cause – When thinking about what went wrong or right and what lesson can be drawn, it can be easy to put causes down to individuals, time management or communication skills, but you need to go deeper. Imagine a court date is missed by an individual. Why did that individual not meet that deadline? Did they know that a deadline existed? Did they understand the consequences of missing the deadline? Was it clear whose responsibility meeting that deadline was? Why did they prioritise their time differently? Is the technology they used fit for purpose? Are there sufficient staffing levels for that case load? Is there a process for catching deadlines when individuals are ill or on holiday? It isn’t enough to exhort an individual to “work harder/better”. The organisation will need to question its staffing levels, technology, processes, learning and knowledge sharing processes and understand how to engineer out these potential issues for the future.
  5. Keep it simple and human – although technology can assist with sharing the lessons widely, sometimes meetings, with the to-and-fro of conversations and discussions, are more effective ways to share the lessons.
  6. Measure your results – people care about processes which add value to their organisation. If you can demonstrate, with a mix of qualitative stories and quantitative data, the value of your lessons learned process, you can keep leadership teams on-side and persuade everyone that any effort which is required, is more than worthwhile.

If you want to find out more, there are plenty of other articles on after action learning here on the blog, or look out for my new article coming soon to Legal Information Management.

If you need help in running your AARs or training your staff in how to run then, get in touch. There is also an AAR project in my KM projects book, available here.

And if you’ve enjoyed this post, please share it on social media and within your firm, sign up for the blog (using the button at the top right) and sign up for the monthly busy-person’s summary.

Posted in KM, Process, Training and learning | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

The 3 minute KM plan

I still follow The Thesis Whisperer blog from my days doing my MBA and recently they hosted a guest blog from Mary Woessner who described her involvement in the “three minute thesis” competition (3MT). In the 3MT competition, PhD candidates must give a presentation overview of their PhD thesis to external judges who score it on comprehension, content, engagement and communication. Perhaps sounds easy, but actually extremely difficult.

It sounded like Mary found the process of taking stopwatchpart in the competition extremely helpful in teaching her how to share her research with a general audience in a manner that was both factual and engaging.


This got me thinking.


How often do you need to share your KM plans with those who don’t yet “get KM”?

The theory behind successful KM can seem (is) quite complex, but we all need to describe workable solutions within our organisations to non-experts.

It isn’t the same thing as the 3MT, but we do need to distil complex theory into workable solutions and then persuade non-experts that they are the right solution based on the right theory and data.

Do you think you could present your KM plans or strategy in three minutes and be persuasive, engaging and comprehensive?

Even if you never actually make that presentation, I think the activity would be a fantastic learning opportunity.

If you give it a try, let me know in the comments how you get on.vision eye


If you are struggling, maybe this download on creating your Knowledge Vision may help.


If you enjoyed this post, you can follow the blog using the button at the top right or sign up for the busy person’s monthly summary here, and please share it using the social share buttons below.

And if you are looking for KM training within your firm, I run open training sessions in London and also in-house sessions (standard or bespoke), as well as annual subscriptions to UK regional learning groups.

Posted in influencing, KM, Strategy | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Together we are an ocean

Sign up for the busy-person’s monthly summary, or follow the blog (button at top right).


Posted in collaboration, quotes | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

A new session on innovation

After our successful session in Birmingham, I have persuaded Dr Sheffield to run another innovation workshop in Bristol after the summer.

Come along if you are interested in

  • how to encourage innovative thought (in yourself, in your teams, in your firm)
  • how to create balanced teams that not only create innovative ideas, but can also evaluate them and deliver business benefits
  • how not to stifle existing innovative thinkers, but support and encourage them

If you are an existing annual subscriber to KN-UK Bristol, this is included in your membership. If you aren’t, but would like to come along anyway, you can buy tickets via Eventbrite. There are limited numbers (KN-UK events are always small, friendly and interactive), so if this is of interest, book asap.

For those of you who can’t get to Bristol, keep an eye on the blog (you can follow it using the top right button) or sign up for the busy person’s monthly summary, and read about the session afterwards.

And if you have any great experiences to share about innovation in your firm, I’d love to hear it in the comments below.

Posted in Events, Knowledge Network UK | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


Image | Posted on by | Tagged , | 2 Comments