Saturday, March 31, 2007
What a wise attitude towards life, this is! :) I can't help but make an observation on the implications of this (the first part of the quote) on organizational culture - as seen from the perspective of KM.
In KM, we talk of the need for people to trust each other because, it is only then that they can then share and learn from each other. I’ve more often than not reacted to that statement by thinking that one has to indeed start by trusting everyone but it is not easy to trust absolutely everyone in the long run. (There are different types of trust-levels that need to be considered and in the context of KM, we are talking of trusting that the other person will not misuse the knowledge, will not take undue credit for it, will not leak it out to un-trusted entities, and sometimes we even trust that he will return the favour in one way or the other) Whether we admit it or not, there are both good and evil elements in life…and in organizations. It is better to understand and accept that there will be people who don’t deserve to be trusted. But it need not prevent us from sharing knowledge provided we do it with a little bit of caution that the situation deserves. It is hard but possible to love all while trusting just a few. That is, the second category is a subset of the first. Sharing accompanies love. Sharing is NOT necessarily = Love+Trust. You can extend love to a person and share knowledge with him but you may still not trust him completely. Love is to simply understand that we all have our strengths and weaknesses and forgive us our weaknesses. Trust is to be aware that the person has no weaknesses that can cause harm in a given context. I think that if we trust someone we will not only share whole heartedly but also be ready to learn from him/her and somewhere believe that the person will help you in return when you need him.
Which brings to my mind another term - Respect. What is respect and how is it related to sharing, love and trust? I think respect is not necessarily related to sharing if we consider that sharing is more connected with love. But the degree of interest in learning from someone you respect would be on the higher side. Respect is however strongly related to trust. When someone proves you’ve done right by trusting him, by manifesting it in the deeds he does, he naturally commands respect from you. With such respect comes more trust and more love. Relationships are perhaps most enjoyable when there’s mutual love, sharing, trust and respect in it. I am stating the obvious! But if it’s true that the obvious is often overlooked, it is worth being stated time and again!
Coming back to the implications for KM, next time one wants people to share knowledge, I think one needs to usher in a culture where there is love – love for humankind and love for the organization. Love will encourage people to be trustworthy.
- When it is a task that obviously lends itself to multiple perspectives and creative approaches
- When it is a situation that has been encountered so many times and has been handled in the same manner time and again that it now begs for some fresh thinking
- When the situation is quite unique and there is a glaring need to forget everything that exists without doing which there is a danger of losing the specific requirements of the situation
- When you need to fuel your passion for the job, one of the best ways is to do it your way and then compare notes with existing ideas – but this is practical only when there is enough time allocated for the job
- Finally, reuse makes greatest sense when what is reused is a tool rather than the core work itself, when one is working on an area where a plethora of ideas have been tried out and some of those proven to be the best, when one is running out of time and there is a looming deadline, and when for some reason new ideas are just not forthcoming…..
Friday, March 30, 2007
Have a casual idea that I want to put up here for your consumption. If you believe you’re really brave enough to consume such impractical-sounding ideas, lap it up and let me know what you think.
Assume we are talking about an organization where everyone has at least a small white board for themselves. What if we introduce a practice – let’s call it “tell me what you learned” - wherein employees are asked to write down 2-3 things that they learned that particular week, on every Friday morning. The writing has to be big, bold and visible. (A marker of a particular colour could be recommended for this purpose.) And there’s no compulsion to participate. If the employee has really something significant that he/she learned and really wants to share it, he/she does so. For example, if someone learns about how to identify areas for Best Practices Sharing, she could write this on her board – Best Practices-Identification of Areas. People, who find the topic interesting and want to learn more about it, can just walk in and ask for a few minutes and discuss the topic with the ‘sharer’.
In a given block/building, the person who seems to be sharing good stuff every Friday would be quite evident. Such people from each block/building could get some additional recognition and be referred to as “This month’s learning guru” on a common office notice board. This may or may not work based on the organizational culture…but without such practices, informal learning would be left to networking events and chance.
He quotes Penelope Trunk - "So you can be good at networking by caring about other people. And you can’t fake being interested — it’s almost impossible. That means you have to genuinely care about other people." and goes on to end the post by saying "Yes, it's a paradox, while networking is not about you, how you do it says a lot about who you are"
It's a pity that many people seem to network just to "use" people when the "need" arises. When it ceases to be about yourself and is more about the other person, then I'd prefer to call that friendship rather than networking.
PS: Maybe I am prejudiced by what I've seen so far, so I'll think it over again. :)
Thursday, March 29, 2007
"Quarrel not at all. No man resolved to make the most of himself can spare time for personal contention." – Abraham Lincoln
Something I have learned enough to put into practice these days. It is blissful when you are not always trying to prove that you’re right – of course, I am only talking about situations wherein you are reasonably confident of what you think. And – many people find this hard to admit - even if you are quite confident, there’s always some possibility of being wrong because of the myopic and prejudiced glasses that we all tend to use to look at life. Not an unpardonable mistake though. Like in one particular C&H strip, Calvin starts seeing both sides of everything in life (physical objects is what the strip presents as a metaphor) and he feels he is going insane as a result. :)
Coming back to the original quote, it reminds me of another quote. Someone said, it is better to be happy than right. I believe that more often than not, the objective is not to prove that you’re right but to understand the situation, different perspectives and, ultimately, get closer to the truth. Sometimes, if you’re trying to prove yourself right repeatedly and are doing it the wrong way – by quarrelling, rather than, for example, showing how it works- and the other person happens to stand there smiling and letting you waste all your energy, it can make you look like a mere mortal pitted against a divine entity focused on being happy and peaceful. While you’re wasting all your energy, the other person is saving his’, hopefully, for doing better things. Next time you are on a quarrelling mode, consider the following things and arrive at a more knowledgeable conclusion on whether it really matters or not. If it matters, and you genuinely believe that you know something that is valuable, try being assertive and confident rather than arrogant or condescending. Also, explore the best way to get the other person to understand your point of view rather than blindly using your oratory skills.
1. What is it that you are quarrelling or arguing about? – To start with, understand the topic well. You wouldn’t want to find yourself quarrelling about something not even remotely related to the topic under discussion
2. Is it something unimportant from your perspective? – It is not important to prove yourself right in an aggressive manner, for example, if all you’re talking about is a dish that someone likes but you don’t.
3. Is it something you don’t quite understand? – It is better you listen than talk. You’ll be respected more for such behaviour in such circumstances. But it ought to be okay to ask questions though there are people who’ll take advantage of your ignorance. Ignore them. Just focus on learning.
4. Is it something that if not understood well will impact some entity or the other adversely? – We are talking about something important and it’s important to consider all views
5. Is it something that if not done right will impact the world at large? – We are obviously talking about something important and it’s good to put forth perspectives in an amiable way
6. What if it’s personal - if you’re being targeted? If you’re being unnecessarily shown in bad light or
Ok. I can’t think of anything else as of now. :) If you’ve got some
Monday, March 26, 2007
Saturday, March 24, 2007
If you’re an e-cockroach and any of the characters in this post resembles you (wow, blogs are now popular amongst cockroaches as well, eh?), please do not jump the gun and register a complaint with the cockroach union in your city. Just contact me and I will throw some light on how I’ve been watching the cockroaches at home for some time now and that the resemblance in the characteristics, if any, may be attributed to your long-lost relative who ran away from home when he was no more than 2 years old. (If you’ve been waiting to meet the cockroach I am alluding to, I can help with the directions. Or just check Google Maps, I wouldn’t be surprised if they cater to the insect kingdom as well). If you are none other than one of the cockroaches I am going to talk about, I suggest that you hibernate for as long as possible and come back when you have grown so old that you are no longer recognizable. If you’re a human and don’t particularly appreciate cockroaches and their resilience……….and are also, unfortunately, imaginative and the kind who visualizes things, I am sorry about the scenery of this post. May your soul rest in peace.
The cockroaches in the house seem to have got into the habit of convening conferences at the shake of an antenna, which as we know is as frequent as the creation of blogs in the blogosphere. Yesterday, I happened to be awake reading a book when I felt thirsty and had to go to the kitchen for water. I tiptoed into the kitchen as I had already got wind of the frequent cockroach conferences therein and did not unnecessarily want to incur their wrath lest they decided to demonstrate how fast they could cover human ground. I got my water and was about to go back to my reading chair when I heard a sort of commotion. Many of the cockroaches looked agitated. And fortunately that had nothing to do with my quiet invasion, which had gone unnoticed.
One cockroach was standing up to his full height and telling his team something that sounded like “I am the king. You ought to be listening to me and doing just what I say. You don’t know as much as I do. Learn to respect my intelligence”. Now, there were about a dozen cockroaches altogether and it was interesting to watch the diversity in their attitudes, so I stood rooted to the spot eager to know more. One was quietly meditating in a what we could call a cockroach corner. He seemed to be aloof and away from the cockroach circle. The third was chattering away on his own oblivious to the complete absence of an audience. The fourth was, I can almost bet, busy dreaming of his adventurous dinner experience amongst the unwashed dishes, later that night. The fifth and sixth looked like rivals who had well reached the emotional peak of their own little discussion. The seventh seemed to be shrugging and wringing his antennae wondering how long the meeting would go on. The eighth had the best attitude, as far as I am concerned. He was lying upside down in a yoga-like posture and making reverberating noises and probably calling upon the Gods (at the frightening thought of attending many more such unproductive conferences perhaps?). The ninth was attempting to listen to everyone in the team and from the looks of it, did not seem to be getting anywhere. The remaining few seemed to be making some random notes in the air with their antennae. This completes the picture. And oh…yes, just imagine me standing there with a glass of water in one hand and a book in the other and gaping at all of the cockroaches in a dazed manner.
I know you must be curious to know what happened next. And you don’t have to tell me it’s because the scene above reminds you of some of the meetings you may have been a part of. I won’t keep you waiting. Here’s what happened. My feet started going numb after a bit, so I did a quick dance to improve the blood circulation realizing a little too late that it was the last thing I ought to have done in such a situation. The cockroach that was meditating was, not surprisingly, the first to notice my jig. The cockroach (my favourite amongst the lot) that was upside down proved my theory right by coming back to his normal posture and looking around with a reverence reserved for welcoming the Gods. The one that was trying to listen to all the cockroaches at the same time abandoned everything and stared in my direction intently, having understood that the world was coming to an end. The rival cockroach couple forgot their differences and hugged each other for support. The one who was dreaming of dinner awoke as if he had unexpectedly encountered a live human hand in the dish that he was dreaming of gulping down. The one that was chattering away increased the rate at which he was chattering as if this was his last chance to get some attention. The ones that were making random notes in the air froze like they’d made a fatal mistake. Here’s the best. The cockroach proclaiming to be the king and the Einstein amongst cockroaches stopped mid-sentence and flew away (He probably had no idea that flying cockroaches are the least popular).
Then, in what seemed like the most dangerous moment of my life, the world converged and seemed to have but one goal. To run me down. All cockroaches joined antennae and came towards me in what seemed to be an extremely brave move, to their credit. I quickly sacrificed the glass of water at the altar of earth’s gravity, but held on to the book tightly and jumped out of the kitchen in a flash (thanks, ironically, to my recent effort to get some blood running into my feet) closing the door behind me. I went back to my room admittedly shaken enough to imagine armed cockroaches coming towards me from all directions. It took me a while to recover and when I recovered I was glad to not find any representatives of the cockroach kingdom trying to strike a violent conversation with me. I have now decided to store water in my room and can’t imagine interrupting the regular cockroach conferences in the kitchen again – the kitchen seems to be the favourite venue for the obvious reason that it provides food for thought.
PS: I wanted to write something humorous and decided to talk about cockroaches because there are, truly, some cockroaches that have appeared from nowhere at home. When I started I had no clue whether I would be able to let my imagination go wild and find some humor but the way this post has shaped itself leaves me wanting no more - this is a sincere view and I don't intend to boast ;). I had to initially apply some thought to come up with the idea of integrating the theme of meetings with that of cockroaches and this was not very difficult even for a person like me because cockroaches seem to move around in groups. But the rest of this post just happened - I simply love this kind of animation; it is so much fun, isn’t it? :D
Friday, March 23, 2007
Why not? In other related news, some banks are using RSS to distribute information to clients and employees alike!
Scott Adams winds up one of his recent posts saying “Experts say that the most loyal customers are not the ones who had a flawless experience, but the ones who had a problem that was resolved. I think they’re right.”
Without a doubt! It is when things go wrong that you’re able to see and absorb a person’s real character! And there is no reason why it would be any different when it comes to organizations! :) Even if I buy a great laptop, I probably won’t think about the organization which makes it beyond a certain point; say, once I have got over its wonderful features. And in today’s world, to make matters worse for such an organization, I may find quite a few other laptops with similar, if not, better features. So, loyalty may not be guaranteed. If and once the laptop starts malfunctioning and I place a request for the resolution of the problem, how the organization deals with my request, resolves it and, in certain cases, makes up for it is what helps me see the true character of the company. A good and responsive character means an improved tendency on my part to stick with that vendor. Common sense tells me it’s simply not possible to have
Thursday, March 22, 2007
From the book, Ideation - The birth and death of ideas
“Competition brings out the best in products and the worst in people” – David Sarnoff
PS: I might as well add - collaboration has the capacity to bring out the best in products as well as people provided we have the attitude, patience, (collaboration) skills, tools and "time". Competition is like a steroid, effective in the short run but detrimental in the long. Collaboration is like natural nourishment, probably slow but healthy.
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
I am fascinated by this outlook.....and completely convinced that this is an amazing way of looking at life.
Knowing that one is Everything - Love.
Knowing that one is Nothing - Wisdom
Wow. Cool. (:-o
After watching the Indian Cricket team fare miserably in their match against Bangladesh in the ongoing ICC World Cup Cricket and then bounce back to make the highest ever total in World Cup Cricket against, minnows, Bermuda, I can’t help but wonder what reputation does to men….and teams. As Sidhu (former Indian cricketer) said in his thundering voice on NDTV, “The most difficult thing to build and the easiest thing to lose is a reputation”. Sad, but true.
Reputation is a paradox of sorts.
Part 3 of 3. Link to previous post.
WK: TD and LP quote Leonard-Barton- “Innovation occurs at the boundaries of mind-sets” and go on to say “but the mind-sets must connect for boundaries to exist”.
Me: Ultimately, the culture decides. Always.
WK: “Questioning” our own knowledge is probably the biggest indication of a “knowledge-generating” organization.
“If politics plays no part in a Knowledge Management initiative, it is a safe bet that the organization perceives nothing of value is at issue”.
“Research shows that knowledge is communicated most effectively through a convincing narrative that is delivered with formal elegance and passion”
Me: This is the reason why I think creative and passionate communication makes a lot of difference to the knowledge environment. I’ve seen it happen in places where I’ve worked. Time and again.
WK: “The existence of knowledge does not guarantee its use”
Me: Simply put, this is why we need KM.
WK: “The availability of “slack” time for learning and thinking may be one of the best metrics of a firm’s knowledge orientation”
Me: Really. A culture that emphasizes on action all the time and thinking on the feet isn’t a true knowledge organization. Thinking on the feet is a phrase that reflects an organization that will not tolerate the loss of a single moment in which money is not pouring into the corporate kitty. Whereas, true learning and thinking requires some quiet time to look inward, contemplate, set goals, and feel good.
WK: “A shared language is essential to productive knowledge transfer”. Without it there will be no understanding or trust.
“New ideas are so often sparked by access to existing ones”
Knowledge Management, organizational learning and intellectual capital offices need to be integrated.
Me: One wishes that politics doesn’t get in the way when it comes to such things.
WK: “Technology’s most valuable contribution in KM is extending the reach and enhancing the speed of knowledge transfer”
Me: I’ve always maintained that technology’s greatest contribution is to the efficiency of the organization. But nevertheless, some powerful technologies are capable of arousing and driving dormant desires that would have otherwise never emerged. It brings to light what we would have not imagined otherwise. But, yes, the emergence of such technologies, in the first place, is because of people who have the vision and the imagination. It’s just that they pass on their vision and imagination to the rest of the world through technology.
End of the series.
Friday, March 16, 2007
WK: Information is transformed into knowledge through the following four activities or methods of processing – comparison, consequences, connections and conversations.
Me: If you do this on your blogs, then you’re creating knowledge out of information. Comparison and consequences perhaps help in decision-making. Connections and conversations would help in innovation.
WK: “Knowledge can be likened to a living system, growing and changing as it interacts with the environment.”
Me: Perhaps the single-most important reason why KM is difficult and sounds like an oxymoron.
WK: Intuition is not mystical. It means we have learned the concepts “so thoroughly that they happen automatically, without conscious thought and therefore at great speed.” TD and LP refer to this as “compressed expertise”.
Me: That’s also Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink for you – the power of thinking without thinking! When knowledge reaches this level or rather people reach this level of thinking, Knowledge Management is a very challenging task because codification and articulation cannot be targeted.
WK: “Values and beliefs are integral to knowledge, determining in large part what the knower sees, absorbs, and concludes from his observations”
Me: This may have an implication that KMers will not be comfortable with at all. Knowledge transfer, then, may largely depend on the compatibility of the values and beliefs system of people. Only people with similar such systems will be able to see, absorb and conclude in similar manners. Else, it will be a challenging task for people tuned into different frequencies to learn together.
WK: They quote British Petroleum’s KM initiative as an example where the money that was spent on training and coaching was half of the budget for the pilot (virtual teamwork) concerned.
Me: Hope every organization that has ventured into KM learns from BP.
WK: Shared knowledge means innovation and productivity.
Me: Yup. Provided we all go around with open minds and hearts. :)
WK: “Social, economic and political realities must be fully taken into account to understand the markets for knowledge”
Me: Reason why KMers need to develop social, measurement and political skills.
WK: “Reciprocity, repute and altruism” are pointed out as the three “kinds of payment that exist in the knowledge market”
Me: Efforts to motivate your workforce thus needs to take these three needs into consideration. Reciprocity is a difficult thing because it needs an organization that is on the same plane. Repute is something that KMers and the management need to ensure. Altruism needs very little external motivation as long as there are no negative implications of sharing.
WK: “Knowledge altruism” exists and is real in “organizations that hire nice people and treat them nicely”. :)
Me: Recruitment practices are critical for organizations that are serious about KM.
WK: The three factors that “often cause knowledge markets to operate inefficiently in organizations: the incompleteness of information about the knowledge market, the asymmetry of knowledge and the localness of knowledge”
“High search cost for optimal knowledge is probably the biggest constraint to a completely efficient knowledge market within a firm, especially in large organizations”
Me: I’ve pondered over this and arrived at a blog-based single-window KM system that has the potential to eliminate this problem to a significant extent.
To be continued….(Last and final - Part 3)
Be warned that this is a pure rant, disguised…..err…rather….struggling to evolve into….a thoughtful post. :D
It is amazing how nature has something to cheer you up whenever you’re disturbed or upset; but only if you look for it and have faith in its capacity to brighten your day. After having had a disturbing day of revelations related to the behaviour and pretense of people around me, I found myself hoping for some time away from what seemed to be a ruthless (Dilbert-like) world and nature presented just the remedy I needed. On the way back home this evening, I spotted a large flock of egrets (probably 60 odd birds! :)) flying back home after, hopefully, a much better day than what I went through. The sight was so awesome that I found myself smiling at the part of the sky just vacated by those beautiful birds. Thank God for these treasures that nature certainly has an abundance of. And, I realize that I must thank God for giving me the quality of being able to find quick solace in nature just as quickly as I might get disturbed by things that I am going to talk/rant about now.
I am going to get honest and ask you something if you happen to be a blogger who doesn’t crib about people in any of your posts whatsoever. How in the world do you do it? When I started blogging 3 odd years ago, 1-2% of my posts probably dwelt on people who made life seem difficult. And then, I started going through this spiritual experience where I was ready to forget and forgive or at least ignore people who loved to get on my nerves. I slowly got into the habit of not talking about people who angered me - on my blog - because they ceased to play a dominant role in real life as well. I have just begun to feel a bit proud about it as it gives me a feeling that it is a sign of my improving emotional intelligence. I hope to continue this principle of not dwelling upon people problems, for why in the world should I get upset by people who have qualities I am not able to appreciate (to say the least) when I have the capacity to choose to ignore them or learn to deal with them in other ways. And, why in the name of God should my blog-readers be subjected to such unproductive gibberish? But this post, I am afraid, has broken my record and will be an aberration. This is why. A few days ago, a person who pretends to be a well-wisher provoked me – on a very irrational basis - by saying things that were surely intended to make me skeptical about my strengths. Now, the tone of this post has got nothing to do with my ego. It is just that I don’t expect this kind of behaviour from well-wishers. No one would. I have enough native intelligence to understand when something is meant to hurt me and cause me harm as compared to something that is a reflection of the truth and intended to help me improve.
I feel no compulsion to talk about passing strangers who might annoy me because I am not likely to have any expectations from them and moreover I will have to tolerate them only for a while. On the other hand, I’d love to blog about people who are genuine and nice to work with because it feels nice to do so. And I feel no compulsion to talk about people who generally don’t mean well because once I get to ‘know’ them, I stop expecting anything good from them and find it not so difficult to ignore them completely. The problem lies with the ones who pretend to be good and end up blowing hot and cold because of inherent contradictions…and in the process make your expectations do a tidal wave. These are the people who can kill one’s peace of mind. People who blow hot and cold because they are not exactly what they are pretending to be! And what’s more, when they blow hot, it is camouflaged to appear like something cold! They confuse me completely for I want to give them the benefit of doubt but just when I think I did the right thing, they are back to square one – blowing hot in a camouflaged manner and giving me the feeling that they deserve less attention than even the obviously ‘bad’ ones.
On a different note, forgiving, as I understand it now, is almost selfish. And such behaviour, I hope, forces me to always be selfish! :D
Anyways, I am not going to want to put up any more posts revolving around people who attempt to make life miserable for others in a camouflaged manner. I am going to find it difficult to extend my love to such people but neither do I want to fill my heart with hatred for them…for my own good. So, I want to use this opportunity to know the secret of bloggers who don’t waste their energy, intelligence, time, and their readers’ time posting such things. Is it that you…
1. …have some sort of a magic people filter and manage to completely focus on ideas and other such things and this helps you behave like as if you are all alone in this world
2. …are emotionally intelligent enough to take it in your stride, deal with it and jump over it in a jiffy?
3. …are smart\lucky enough to ignore\avoid such people?
4. …have some other means to vent your anger? ;)
5. …consciously make an effort to not post anything about such people even though you want to vent it out and have succeeded, unlike me?
6. …are lucky enough to have around you, people who are great or at least tolerable in case they aren’t actually great as far as you are concerned?
Time to face the harsh reality and the sooner I face it, the better. Sigh. Tell me why and how you manage to not talk about people problems; not even once?
PS: Scott Adams (the ‘Dilbert’ genius), for example, talks about annoying people most of the time and in the most hilarious of ways - in his hugely popular style! And it’s okay as long as it is meant to make people laugh their heads off while at the same time not pointing fingers at someone in particular or at least without hurting the subject – I know this is a huge challenge - if there is someone in particular being referred to. But, well, neither do I have such talent nor do I have intentions of talking about annoying people in my life because that’s the way I want myself to be. :)
Thursday, March 15, 2007
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
Err. I have a confession to make. What? Did you say something? No? Sure? OK!
If you’re a KMer and have a weak heart, then I suggest that you look away from the screen and don’t read this post till I tell you to do otherwise. Heh! :). 5 odd years ago, I picked up the book “Working Knowledge” by Thomas Davenport and Larry Prusak. But I don’t think I did a good job of reading it. In other words, I don’t think I was able to relate to the book the way I am able to, now; I don’t think I internalized it the way it should ideally have been. I happened to read other books on KM later but somehow did not get down to reading Working Knowledge again…though I must have planned for it many a time. I suspect that I was keen to pamper the independent and original thinker in me so I could finally rub my hands in glee when re-reading the book and discovering insights similar to the ones I myself would have gained through experience. (Please stop cackling!). OK, you can stop looking away from the screen and read the rest of this post. Everything that has the potential to kill you has been said.
I decided to pick up the book Working Knowledge (by Thomas Davenport and Larry Prusak – TD and LP) for the second time and relish it during my break last month. It was a truly juicy read. This post has some quotes, thoughts and ideas that I’d like to share and discuss based on the book. If you’re a KMer, then in all likelihood, you’ve already read and internalized this book. So, if you think this post is a day late and a dollar short, then……here’s my humble opinion. This post maybe a lot better than it would have been if I had written it 5-6 years ago. Because, the book has now been read from a perspective based on 8 odd years of KM experience. And like TD and LP themselves say, values and beliefs (which in turn are shaped by experience among other things) have an impact on what you understand and take from what you read. So there! :)
Before I go ahead and recount my interpretations and analysis of the book, I should probably mention the fact that I loved reading this book all the more because I got to read it amidst Mother Nature….trees, birds, fresh air and a beautifully blue sky. :)
Here are moments of the book I would like to capture and comment on.
WK: When Knowledge Management is being discussed for a company where knowledge isn’t a product, then “the business strategy needs to be supported by knowledge.”
Me: The implication may be the need for a KM adviser to the CEO rather than a KM Head in such companies.
“There is a vital connection between knowledge-oriented behaviour and overall employee performance.”
Me: Key reason why the HR folks and the operations head need to be involved and play an important role in KM initiatives.
WK: A critical aspect of KM will be “managing the flow of knowledge through and around the critical bottleneck of personal attention and learning capacity.
Me: Very important point, I think. Implies the usefulness of personal KM in channeling the right kind of knowledge to the right person. Also a reason why millions of blogs within the organization will not make sense unless there is some method in the madness and technology is leveraged to connect employees to exactly the kind of content they need. Or even better, design a blog system that moves away from “every employee gets a blog” strategy.
WK: “What creates the continuity that allows particular firms to thrive over time? We strongly believe that the way firms generate and pass on knowledge is an essential part of that continuity”
Me: Not just continuity but also evolution. For purposes of evolution, it would be important, at times, to move away from existing knowledge as well. Like TD and LP themselves indicate, there needs to be the right amount of questioning the knowledge that exists as well.
To be continued….
"Truly successful people in life are givers and forgivers."
Hmm. Give -> Get. Forgive -> Be happy -> ....so on and so forth!
Monday, March 12, 2007
I've always pondered over the significance of the trade-off between process and innovation. Somewhere down the road, I heard some process people speak passionately about innovation in processes themselves and also about saving money (by resorting to processes rather than ad-hoc methods to accomplish tasks) and using the money thus saved for investments in innovation.
I think, in larger organizations, there is also a belief that going the Big I way can be an issue (read impractical) because of the size. They'd rather take one bite at a time. And, I also believe that large organizations, over time, end up pampering those who stick to the rules and are “loyal” while chasing away the people who are innovative and “rebellious” and want to do something revolutionary...
Friday, March 09, 2007
I thank God with gratitude,
For the bliss of solitude,
The subsequent inspiration,
The joy of creation,
And then some celebration!
The world ceases to matter,
Even if it says I’m mad as a hatter!
Oh the bliss of solitude beyond compare,
It doeth reveal one’s divinity so rare!
But, in the long run, a song needs a singer,
A story deserves a reader,
And a picture desires a connoisseur.
This seems to be a principle quite rife,
Leading to the intricate web that is life!
PS: Inspired by the breeze in the morning...and influenced by my previous post....
PS: Inspired by the breeze in the morning...and influenced by my previous post....
Thursday, March 08, 2007
Skip this post if you’re not interested in complicated thoughts about the marketing of blogs :)
A recent comment from a new friend in blogosphere indicates that I may not be doing enough to market this blog. It’s funny, but I am one of those people who are immensely attracted to the concepts of branding and advertising (ethical and genuine campaigns only) and have invested a lot of time and effort in marketing and branding - for example - KM initiatives in my organization. But when it comes to my blog, I am not very keen to market it or brand it. I’d rather keep blogging like nothing mattered and let blog-readers enter this blog at their own risk. I don’t want to be sued for ‘over selling’ a crazy blog :) Amusingly enough, I had just started brewing something about my blogging philosophy when this comment was dropped on my blog. Here, I present you with the complete post that has been sort of re-brewed to suit the context that the comment brings in.
Live for a cause, not applause; Live to express, not impress.
I think this is the same as saying “Be yourself” because I believe that we are not intrinsically attracted to acknowledgement and fame. It is the society that we live in which intoxicates us with these qualities. Anyways, the people who are lucky enough to have retained the quality of intrinsic motivation would agree with the phrase above, whole heartedly. And the fact is that a person who lives for a cause is the one who will truly get applauded. And a person who lives to express rather than impress is the one who is truly impressive.
This is pretty much what I have intended my blogging philosophy to be like. Blog for a cause, not applause. Blog to express, not impress. There was a time when I did not dwell upon what my blog-readers might say or want before blogging my thoughts – because I knew nothing about my blog-readers and even whether there existed any, apart from my close friends. That, perhaps, made my posts sound extremely raw, honest, unfiltered and crazy. I did not consciously market my blog except for a couple of instances wherein I was eager to get feedback. But as I started getting attention from a handful of people who happened to visit my blog due to serendipitous endeavors, there were admittedly occasions when I had to think twice before expressing myself and I felt myself focus on what my blog-readers wanted as much as what I myself wanted to talk about. Now, this is akin to what we call a customer-centric approach. Nothing wrong about it, mind you. But, at times, it can stifle one’s inner voice a bit. Unless one has the maturity and intellect to draw a balance between the readers’ expectations and what one really wants to talk about. One ought to learn to take the feedback, queries, inputs et al and do with it what it deserves – see it as an encouragement, opportunity to think different etc. Even if one is temporarily affected and influenced by the attention one is getting and that is unfortunately hampering one’s natural style, if one is the intrinsically motivated types, time will certainly take one back to one’s original style.
All said and done, I’ve, admittedly, been fence-sitting when it comes to deciding between consciously marketing my blog versus not doing anything about getting more people into my blog due to such complications. I don’t want to consciously market my blog on the lines of a product with a huge branding and advertising budget. I am clear about that. I might mention it in some forums – as a part of my signature - mainly to quell my curiosity in terms of how many minds have similar views/ counter views and learn from those. At the same time, I realize that not inviting people actively does not help me tap into the potential knowledge that I would gain access to via feedback, comments, additional sources, and blog networks etc.
Whew! All this thinking about blog-marketing drains me somewhat. I don’t think I enjoy thinking about it too much. I think the best thing to do is to let the traffic come in naturally and at its own pace while leaving a few scattered messages about the blog in appropriate forums. Leaving comments on other blog-posts and linking to other blog-posts are two things that will improve one’s blog-network but that is something you ought to do only when you have a genuine opinion.
What’s your blogging philosophy? Is there something I can learn from you? :)
Monday, March 05, 2007
The meme is about media sources. Like Dave Snowden indicates, most of these memes are ego-strutting opportunities. So, err, please bear with me and skip the sections where I talk too much about myself. I shall understand.
Print - Books – I love books. I suspect that I suffer from some sort of obsessive compulsive disorder when it comes to books. There has not been a single occasion when I’ve stepped into a book shop and come out empty handed. That would be a crime as far as I am concerned. But a few months ago, I ran out of ideas on where to stack my books because my book shelves cannot possibly accommodate any more. And that has, unfortunately for the book shops, kept me at bay. I bought a couple of books last week though and might have to keep them under the pillow - Creativity by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi and C&H - Sunday Pages by Bill Watterson. I normally pick up Books on Business, KM, Creativity, Innovation, Humor, Adventure, Mystery, Autobiographies (Business Leaders), Philosophy, Self-Development and Spirituality.
Print – Magazines/Journals – When I was in Business School, I consumed every possible business magazine that was available, basically because I was passionate about business quizzes and wanted to know everything there was to know about business and business personalities. I also used to read a magazine on Investment - Outlook Money – as it was mandated by our SAPM (Securities and Portfolio Management) lecturer. And, well, err……you know….I even managed to win a quiz based on the magazine for which I received a book on the relationship between the tides in the sea and the share market movements (No, I do not apply this knowledge for my investments). Coming back to the present, the only magazines I get to read now are Harvard Business Review and McKinsey Quarterly, and this is only when I visit the office library. I am also subscribed to online articles from Knowledge @ Wharton, Fast Company and Business Week.
Print - Newspapers – I was addicted to Economic Times a few years ago. Now, I am ashamed to say that I don’t even touch newspapers. My love for business has been sacrificed at the altar of KM - now, this only means that I am not fully aware of what's happening in the world of business and has no implications in terms of understanding the relationship between KM and business and how the former can enable the latter :-). But I occasionally browse through RSS feeds from newspapers.
The Web – I spend a lot of time on the web. Googling for information is the rule. I use Bloglines to subscribe to blogs feeds as well as other general RSS feeds. Wikipedia is another great source of information. But I rarely am able to concentrate when on the web because of frequent disturbances at work. If there is something that appeals to me, I end up saving it for offline reading. (Most of the posts I write are also written offline when I am not subjected to disturbances.)
Communication – I rely on Email more than anything else. I was once obsessed about keeping my inbox almost empty. But I’ve got over that phase and ‘am now okay to see it bustling with mails. Apart from my office ID, I use Gmail and Yahoo. I use my mobile for making calls and exchanging messages with local friends. Long ago, I’d tried out Groove to keep in touch with cousins abroad but, now, I use Yahoo messenger.
Audio - Radio – I was addicted to the Radio but only till I bought an iPOD. I have 4 pocket radios and was known for carrying my pocket radio wherever I went when in college and for playing it 24 hours a day.
Audio & Video - Films/Movies – I rarely watch the ‘regular’ movies. But I love animation movies. I went berserk just a couple of days ago and decided to splurge on some animation movie DVDs – I am now a proud owner of Finding Nemo, Garfield, Madagascar, Ice Age 1 & 2, and a few Indian Mythological Stories.
Audio & Video - Music – Music is my oxygen. I can’t live without music. I bought an iPOD video a year ago and have accumulated over 3500 songs so far (apart from hundreds of photographs) . Looks like I will soon use up the remaining 11 GB of space as well. I listen to Indian film music (both old and new), Indian classical music, Western music (melodies only), fusion (I love albums that combine traditional Indian instruments with the Western ones), and a variety of instrumental music.
Audio & Video - TV – I’ve almost stopped watching TV for the past 1 year and ‘am happy for it. But during the weekends, I do spend some hours switching between animal planet, history channel, discovery, nat geo, cartoon network and pogo. I occasionally watch news channels like NDTV and CNBC. I also watch selected music programmes hosted by the Indian channels (Vijay/Jaya/Sony/Zee).
Time to pass it on. I tag the following: :)
Chris Collision, Gautam Ghosh, Ron Young, CHO, and Jack Vinson