P is for Personal

P is for Personal


In a world where employment is no longer guaranteed for life, where the skills sets of today might be meaningless tomorrow, we should be in charge of our own professional destiny. One way to achieve this control is through PKM, Personal Knowledge Management.


Organisational Knowledge Management is centred on acquiring, retaining, and transferring knowledge within the organisation and across its borders. These allow the organisation to be more effective and gain competitive advantage on its competitors.

Personal Knowledge Management, on the other hand, focuses on the knowledge and

skills possessed by the individual person. PKM can assist the individual to become more effective in the different aspects of its life (Gorman and Pauleen 2011). This can allow the individual to retain his own competitive position in the work market.

A major emphasis in the field of PKM is on personal accountability for acquiring and managing own knowledge. Prusak and Cranefield (2010), for instance, maintain that individuals should invest in managing, refreshing, and keeping up to date their knowledge assets.


To be of any value, PKM should have a practical framework which we will be able to implement and use.

Prusak and Cranefield (2010) suggested four PKM practices: scan and reinvent, vet and filter, invest in networks, and get out of the office.

Gorman and Pauleen (2011) focus on five areas where one should focus in his PKM strategy:

  1. Management – The creation of a PKM strategy particular to the individual situation.
  2. Lifelong learning – Continues education and training.
  3. Communication and interpersonal skills – The abilities present to, network with, and collaborate with others.
  4. Use of technology – How to use technology in a way it will assist in the implementation of the PKM strategy.
  5. Forecasting and anticipating – The understanding of future trends and preparing accordingly.


As mentioned above, Gorman and Pauleen (2011) have advocated planning and preparing for the future. Forecasting the future and deciding where we should invest our resources can be a very difficult task. One technique which can assist in accomplishing this is Self-SWOT Analysis.

A SWOT analysis is usually used to evaluate the situation of a business and figure out what direction it needs to take in order to succeed in the future. It consists of four parts: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.

SWOT analysis can be used at a personal level as well. Addams and Allred (2013) have advocated for a self-SWOT analysis for students as a preparation for career positions. In their article, Addams and Allred, also shared an example of a business person who used a self-SWOT analysis to plan his next career move.

After completing the analysis, a future path can be drawn. This path should capitalise on the individual strengths, deal with its weaknesses, exploit future opportunities, and mitigate possible threats.


A self-SWOT analysis can be a very cold and analytical process which may feel to some as if they analyse a company and not a human being. In order to augment the analysis with a warmer perspective, another P word can be used, Passions. In this new dimension, one can add his own interests, preferences and wishes. Adding these in deciding future personal development can increase the chances of success. After all, it is better to do something you like then something you are forced to.


PKM can be invaluable to modern employees facing an ever changing work environment. Rapid changes in competitive markets, fast paced technology changes, and explosion of information prohibit us from resting on our laurels. The onus is on the individual to continually invest in his capabilities, skills, and ultimately its own Personal Knowledge.


Addams, L. and Allred, A.T. (2013), “The First Step In Proactively Managing Students’ Careers: Teaching Self-SWOT Analysis”.

Gorman, G. and Pauleen, D. (2011), “The Nature and Value of Personal Knowledge Management”.

Prusak, L. and Cranefield, J. (2010), “Managing Your Own Knowledge: A Personal Perspective”.

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