Successful Knowledge Leadership

Abstract: Understand and build the skills and abilities, behaviours, and techniques needed to drive KM success.

Effective knowledge management demands equally effective leaders.

Yet, what exactly is an effective knowledge leader? What are the attributes and skills needed? What are the challenges that knowledge leaders face and, importantly, how do they overcome them? 

Ark Group’s report, Successful Knowledge Leadership: Principles and Practice addresses these key questions, revealing the critical skills and abilities, behaviours, and techniques needed to drive KM success.

Respected KM experts and top influencers Arthur Shelley, Dave Snowden, Stan Garfield, Euan Semple, Alice MacGillivray and more offer their insightful advice on key topics, including: 

  • The 12 principles of knowledge leadership;
  • Discovering your leadership style;
  • How good leaders can improve the success of KM;
  • Establishing a results-oriented approach;
  • The importance of leadership and enabling change;
  • Moving from knowledge leadership to connected leadership;
  • Facilitating human interactions and improving knowledge sharing;
  • Aligning your KM programme with overall organisational strategy; and,  
  • Leveraging the benefits of social media (with a checklist for a social media model).

Practical examples are featured throughout the report highlighting successful KM leadership practices within organisations such as HP, SAP, the BBC, and the European Commission.

You’ll also find insightful case studies from knowledge leaders currently overcoming KM challenges and making a success of their projects and overall KM strategy. These include:

  • AstraZeneca – The role of the KM leader in developing a KM culture and embedding knowledge leadership as an accountability within key roles in the organisation;
  • Meyer Vandenberg – The leadership role in embedding a KM repository into everyday work practices;
  • Severn Trent Water – The role of leadership in knowledge management success;
  • EuropeAid – The hurdles for knowledge sharing and leadership in a big organisation;
  • The Department for Communities and Local Government UK – Leadership challenges with regards to shared services in public sector KM.


  • Chapter 1: 12 principles of knowledge leadership
  • Chapter 2: How good knowledge leaders can improve the success of KM
  • Chapter 3: The KM leadership challenge
  • Chapter 4: Praxis makes perfect: The nature of leadership in knowledge management
  • Chapter 5: The modern knowledge leader: A results-oriented approach
  • Chapter 6: Making sense of social media – The knowledge leader’s perspective
  • Chapter 7: Knowledge leadership on the edge
  • Chapter 8: From knowledge management to connected leadership
  • Chapter 9: What knowledge leader are you: Embedded, Consultant, or Product Entrepreneur?
  • Chapter 10: The hurdles for knowledge sharing in a big organisation – Two case studies on EuropeAid
  • Chapter 11: Knowledge management as stone soup – The recipe for success

Dr Arthur Shelley, Angelo Mohanan, Athanasios Karagrounas, Dave Snowden, Stan Garfield, Tushar Kulkarni, Alice MacGillivray, Euan Semple, Katrina Pugh, Glynys Thomas, Nico Keppens, William (Bill) Stockton, Alison Zartarian, Alison Jones, Emily Timmins, David Smith

Helen Roche (Ed.): Successful Knowledge Leadership: Principles and Practice. Ark Group (Ark Group Report), 2013, 95 pages, ISBN: 9781783580477

Copyright © Ark Group.

Related reading:

  • Arthur Shelley: 12 Principles of Knowledge Leadership. The Organizational Zoo Blog, September 23, 2013 Full text »
  • What It Takes to Become a Successful Knowledge Leader Columbia University (School of Continuing Education, IKS MSc News), Aug 14, 2013 Full text »

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