Monday, September 29, 2008

Social Intelligence

Zeph pointed me to this wonderful resource - not surprisingly, from HBR - on Social Intelligence that Dan Goleman is now working on. It has a video, an article and a quick summary of the parameters of Social Intelligence. I found it to be fascinating, motivating and exciting. Thanks to my work roots - KM and Collaboration. I think this will find great use in the field of KM & a framework for enabling such a culture. Social Intelligence is not just required in leaders but also in every employee if one is looking to nurture a culture that is rich in knowledge management and collaboration.

Here is the table (Summary of the SI parameters) that HBR has on the home page of the link that I've provided above. You can watch the video and read the full article on following the link.

Understand what motivates other people, even those from different backgrounds? Are you sensitive to their needs?
Listen attentively and think about how others feel? Are you attuned to others’ moods?
Organizational Awareness
Appreciate your group’s or organization’s culture and values? Understand social networks and know their unspoken norms?
Persuade others by engaging them in discussion, appealing to their interests, and getting support from key people?
Developing Others
Coach and mentor others with compassion? Do you personally invest time and energy in mentoring and provide feedback that people find helpful for their professional development?
Articulate a compelling vision, build group pride, foster a positive emotional tone, and lead by bringing out the best in people?
Encourage the participation of everyone on your team, support all members, and foster cooperation?

Do organizations today have the purpose, intent, motivation and time to pursue such skills? Or will most business leaders trash this as rubbish and fluffy?

How we learn...

Terry has an interesting post on how we learn to be leaders. I am inclined to believe that this is how we learn almost everything....not just how to lead! :-)

Reproducing an excerpt that I want to remember forever...

~ 70% of the learning is in the doing (learning by experience)

~ 20% of the learning is in relationship with coaches and mentors (learning from others)

~ 10% of the learning is in formal settings like seminars, classes, and training programs (learning in formal learning environments)

Now, I think there is a lesson for KM as well here. The tools for collaboration catering to the 20% learning and the personal KM tools catering to the 70% learning.

Another thing on my mind is that this distribution also depends the stage of learning that you are in. For example, when you begin to learn something for the first time, the training and learning from others would be more critical than at later stages. Another not-so-obvious example would be the need for refreshing theoretical concepts after a long stretch of practice that almost makes us forget why we do something the way we do it.

Friday, September 26, 2008


By Paulo Coelho -Don’t try to be brave when it is enough to be intelligent. (The Pilgrimage)

Something to think about!

And...folks, I stepped into office this morning expecting a regular day but here I am, all cold and shivery. Not sure what could be wrong. So, scooting off to get some rest and medication.

Jeevan: I know there are a few KM queries that are pending to be answered. I wanted to post my responses to those over the next few days but it looks like it will have to wait. Apologies. Hope I come up with better answers once I recover!

Have a great weekend, everyone! :-)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

You've got You've got Knowledge

This comes at a controversial time - a time when many KMers I know are on a roll against Emails. While I quite agree that Emails are meant for one to one communication more than anything else (especially not for collaboration), I shall not rule out emails as a good source of an individual's knowledge as yet. In fact, increasingly, there are tools that are adopting the approach of analysing email flow from and to a person in order to assess her connectivity, popularity in terms of knowledge sharing, and expertise levels. This, ironically, is providing inputs for determining social networks, identifying potential communities, expertise identification etc.

My intention of writing this post was to share an idea that just came to me. This is a simple and obvious idea of cross leveraging on the comparatively recent phenomenon of tags and tag clouds. Its underlying intention is to help people manage knowledge via emails as well as share it. I think it would be a good idea to introduce tags for email management in applications like Outlook. (Gmail already allows users to attach tags to their mails.) Default tags could be suggested by the application (based on the sender of the email, the subject and the contents). Additionally, the user should be allowed to edit the tag list. Tag clouds should then be created on a dynamic basis so as to allow for a visual image of the individual's interests and further aid the easy location of knowledge via the tag cloud links. And, yes, these tag clouds could be made public and searchable as well. Another point I almost forgot to mention - users should be allowed to mark certain emails as public (and such emails should be copied and pushed into a corporate email tag cloud via links).

I think this would be an example of adapting to the culture rather than trying to change it radically!

Simplify and Simply Fly

I like playing with my GTalk status message. It is fun to key in something extremely inspiring or something ridiculous and meaningless. The rest are more or less boring. But I don't really stop to think what made me compose my status message. I let anything dictate and like it that way.

Here's my current message: Great Life = Enthusiasm+Energy+Excitement. Always. And while I was generally looking at the message and wondering how incomplete the message sounded and that there has to be a lot more on the right hand side of the equation, something struck me in a flash.

Imagine any task that you need to take up in life and then look at my silly equation, if you will. When you get started with the task, you must have all the enthusiasm that it takes. When you get going, you must give it all the energy that it needs and when you're done with it, you must have all the excitement that it deserves (be happy about the outcome and what you've done irrespective of whether it goes to the Oscars or not. Just be excited about where you are and what you have learnt). Taking this to the next step, a string of tasks approached from this perspective promises a great life. Uh?

Sorry if you don't believe in simplification. My view on simplification is otherwise. If it's true that what matters is our attitude and how we react to things, then why not look at this complex world/life (that's the truth, of course) and simplify your perception of it, so you start believing you know exactly what to do (and not worry about other things which are anyway not under your control)? After all, what you can achieve! ;-)

With due apologies to an erstwhile local airline....simplify and simply fly!

Brain Games...

Awesome list.

There's so much that one can do to lead an exciting life!...and here we are....most of us....complaining about this and that! Hmph!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Need for a Common Repository

I was just thinking about wrapping up Atul's recent musings on the need for a common repository with re. to KM (as opposed to separate team KM areas that are independently maintained but searchable) and my own excited response to that, in a single post. So, I headed towards his blog promptly and... what do I discover? He has saved me some energy and created such a post himself! :-) So, all I have to do is provide a link here...! Thanks Atul!

Here's the link then...


"Lots of organizations don't seem to buy the idea of a common repository! And my key point was very much what you have mentioned here - having a common repository urges employees to get into the sharing (and out of the silo) mentality. A common repository means common taxonomy...a common way of identifying and locating artifacts. A common repository means a visually rich big picture that tells you about all sorts of possibilities....not one that is carved out of a narrow search term!! A common repository means a process of consolidation and integration. A common repository means an upfront identification of overlaps and differences! :-)

Contribution to a Noble Cause...

This is a post based on a request from Chessia Kelley. Here's what she wrote to me and I, in turn, urge you to consider her organization's noble intentions and participate in whatever way possible. And do spread the message...

My organization, International Medical Corps, was nominated to be one of the Top 25 in American Express' Members Projects, "Saving the Lives of Malnourished Children." Our project was chosen out of 1,190 projects and is now eligible to receive up to $1.5 million to help feed hungry children, but the voting ends next Tuesday and we need your help to spread the word. I've put together this blogger friendly web release explaining everything.

If you are able to post something on Aa..Ha [Thinking Inside The Blog!], please send me the link, it would really help and could potentially save many lives. At the minimum, please vote for "Saving the Lives of Malnourished Children." Please let me know either way. Many thanks.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Silos - Silent Killers

HBR articles never cease to intrigue me. Here's something interesting and KMish. For your benefit, here's the gist - Research conducted by a HBR team indicates that boundaryless organizations exist only in theory and that silos are a given. Goes a long way to prove that the larger the organization the more difficult it will be to break silos.

Interestingly enough, just before reading this article I was wondering about why senior managers are so hesitant to aim for a consensus. They seem to run away from anything that calls for a consensus. They see it as time-consuming, pointless, unmanageable and so forth. There is this underlying urge to be quick and get things done rather than understand or admit the long term implications of not involving as many people as possible. No wonder we live in silos. Silos of departments, silos based on seniority etc. Communication, itself, is seen as a pain. Imagine discussing, debating and concluding on a regular basis! What we need to realize is that engagement of employees need not necessarily contribute to decision making but they are nevertheless required to ensure commitment and enthusiasm.

Web 2.0 will help in bringing to light the existing boundaries and provide a path for breaking them. Web 2.0 will enable movements within the organization that may or may not scale all the levels. More often than not, they may cut through the lower and middle levels but not enter into the senior levels of heirarchy. They may help erase some department-based boundaries but I am not so sure about seniority based boundaries. But the movement at the lower levels will, I believe, force the management to reconsider their management philosophies or face failure.

Monday, September 22, 2008

KM - Identifying Training Needs

Click here for the context

So, here's my response to the first query. How does KM help in Identifying Training Needs?

Would KM drive this need or simply enable it?: KM is an enabler for identifying training needs

Traditionally: The employee along with her manager identifies the training programs that she needs to attend on an occasional basis. The inputs come from the Job description, performance appraisals and futuristic plans.

So, What is KM’s Value-add? KM can bring in peer perspective and peer triggers and improve overall awareness of the training (aka knowledge) gaps

The Idea: A KM environment promises awareness of peer knowledge and competencies, which in turn can prove to be a trigger for identifying training gaps. Additionally, focused peer feedback and interaction can bring to light the knowledge gaps which results in identification of training needs. Also, an environment that is knowledge-oriented (repositories, blogs, wikis, expertise locators) brings to light the potential areas that the employee needs to be in touch with.

The Details: Culture, Process and Technology: Social networking tools, community interaction, access to experts, publicity of organizational knowledge maps, and peer-based feedback are some of the solutions for the above

KM Queries

A friend from my personal KM network sent me a few queries a couple of days ago and I decided to attempt to answer them on my blog. He has various questions related to how KM can enable or drive something (viz. training, innovation etc). I have broken them up into different individual posts revolving around one query each (or similar queries) and would like to invite inputs and experiences from the readers as well.

Here’s the framework I’ve decided to use to answer his queries.

· Would KM drive this need or simply enable it? (Drive: The initiative can be owned, designed and managed by the KM ‘forces’. Enable: It is likely to be owned by someone else in the organization but KM can very well play the role of an enabler and work in coordination with the owner of the area)

· Traditionally….: This will indicate the traditional methods of handling the requirement under question. Mentioning this will hint at the benefit of adopting an approach revolving around the concepts of KM.

· So, What is KM’s Value-add: This will explicitly state the value that KM can bring into the situation

· The Idea: Very briefly, this will touch upon how KM can add value from the perspective of the typical KM elements

· The Details: Culture, Process and Technology. Wherever applicable, I will delve deeper into the Idea and provide readers with some details of each of the KM dimensions - C, P and T.

Note: Here’s a very important principle underlying this KM framework. What do I call KM?

· Purpose-led collective thinking, collective learning (past, present and future) and collective activity

· Identification and management of knowledge (business, operational, support, people, process, technology, strategic, competitive, customer, partner, market etc), its sources, its generation, its classification, its storage, its retrieval, its distribution, its usage and its enhancement

· Simplification of knowledge (through its life cycle and various forms) as it appears in business and operational procedures and practices

· Consolidation and presentation of information and knowledge in a well-organized manner. Assigning responsibilities, designing processes and tools

· Knowledge sharing – organized and on demand - and organized mentoring activities

· Proactive building a network or community of people who think alike, people from whom you can learn, people who need your help, people who can contribute to your tasks directly or indirectly

· Inculcating a discipline around, motivating, encouraging, facilitating, recognizing and rewarding the following behaviours – reflection, learning, sharing, mentoring, leadership, reusing and individual as well as team-based innovation

· Tools, utilities and applications that help in a) generation of new knowledge, b) consolidation, organization, distribution and usage of knowledge, c) collaborative activities and endeavors, d) discovery of trends and patterns associated with knowledge, e) reflection and sharing, f) reuse of knowledge, g) learning from the past, h) facilitating a collective approach to innovation g) recognition and analysis of people dynamics leading to better leveraged networks and creation of effective communities

· Personal KM elements – organizing one’s knowledge (thoughts, ideas, resources, network, articles etc), connecting with people, learning, reusing, working together with others.

· The study, measurement and assessment of the tangible and intangible benefits of KM - knowledge reuse, collective knowledge generation and collective competency development due to sharing and mentoring, management of knowledge artifacts resulting in improvement of performance, productivity, customer satisfaction, and employee satisfaction, and business growth due to innovation

I have a few more points hopping around in my mind and asking to be added to the list above but I think I’ll draw the line here, lest it gets confusing rather than add any further value. Hopefully, the list should be representative enough for us to go ahead with the queries.

PS: Answering the first query in the next post.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Stains are Good!

Been a long time since I discovered and/or wrote about examples of paradox thinking. You may know this if you're a keen observer of advertising in the Indian Media......especially visual media. There was a time when all advertisers demonstrated the pain of removing stains from clothes. The advertisement would be focused on proving how easy it was to remove stains with the product under question as compared to other competitive products. Period.

And then....someone in the advertising world suddenly woke up and thought otherwise. He/she adopted paradox thinking and created a lovely advertisement that said "Stains are good!". It shook most of us. We were intrigued. We wanted to know why. We wanted to understand the logic behind it. We thoroughly enjoyed the first such ad. It showed two little siblings get closer when the girl fell into a mud puddle and the brother pretended to fight with the puddle for what it had 'done' to his little sister. There were more such advertisements following the resounding success of the first. The advts. revolved around how stains could bring people closer, stop fights on the road, and- the latest - stop someone's hiccups. (I wonder if I missed any other such advts. given that I am not a regular TV-watcher). The subtle message, of course, was that we should not avoid stains when they could do so much good and the product under question was anyway available for removing stains in a jiffy! :-)

I love all these advts. I am sure they've had an impact on most people. Proves that one of the best ways to bring some excitement into life is through paradox thinking. Have you experienced it?

Friday, September 19, 2008


The mother bears the baby. She, then, bears with the absolutely unfair rules of the society as well.
Sample the world we live in....Are feminine principles only meant to be celebrated but not followed?

Ills of the Corporate World - Aftermath of Lehman and AIG

Do we do anything much beyond reading such articles from HBR, Wharton, McKinsey and perhaps Business Week? Knowing is different from accepting. Knowing is different from doing. The unilateral pressure to increase profits can only spell more disaster.

KM in 2 Minutes...

Here's a simple and light product that includes most of the stuff that organizations might be interested in from the knowledge management and collaboration perspective. Noodle.

- Intranet pages and announcements
- Ability to create new pages and portlets
- User profiles and an associated social networking dimension (What are you working on, expertise etc)
- Blogs
- Wikis
- Calendar
- Discussion forums
- Folders and files
- Notifications

Gaps - RSS? Security? Roles? Content management based on taxonomy?

I am not so much of an expert when it comes to software evaluation and comparison. Looking at too many products that are designed with a similar purpose in mind sometimes makes me wonder whether it all, eventually, boils down to user experience (which in turn depends on so many factors), the price and politics more than anything else. The product road map is rarely clear to the makers of the product themselves. Of course, that's why marketing strategies and the style of selling make a world of difference.

Anyway, here's what I think. This one's a cool product for the smaller organizations!

Digital Grapevine

Here comes micro-Blogging within the enterprise.

PS: And I'd said....

Thursday, September 18, 2008


I think this is extremely sensible advice; especially for parents. From

Resisting the Urge to Control
Imposing Your Will On Others

The right to make your own choices is a precious one. We grow when we have the freedom to decide our own paths and determine what makes us happy. Yet there are those who are inclined to try and control others. They may be driven by insecurity, envy, fear, or the need for power. These people are deeply critical of themselves in their own minds, and underlying that critical nature is unhappiness. Their need to feel sure-footed and secure is quenched by controlling those around them, whether they are friends, colleagues, or even pets. However, nearly everyone has found themselves imposing their will upon others at one time or another.

Trying to impose your will on others can be tempting for many reasons. You may feel that your way is the best way or that you have a keener insight into the direction their life should be taking. But, in imposing your will, you are indirectly saying, “I want to control you.” Even when you have the best of intentions, others may end up resenting you for your actions. It is always helpful to remember that it is possible to influence people and change their behavior through education or example without imposing your will on them.

If you’ve caught yourself being a bit bossy on a regular basis, make a note of it. Write down what the situation was and why you acted the way you did. You may have pushed a friend to try something new, because deep inside you wanted to try it yourself but were feeling hesitant. Or you may be unjustly interfering with work teammates, because you aren’t sure of their abilities. Next, make an effort to understand and accept their preferences and ways of doing things. It can feel natural to impose your will when you feel that you “know best.” But there is a freedom to trusting others to find their own methods and joys, even when they might differ from yours. Sometimes the best course of action is to step back and relinquish control. You may, in doing so, see everything from a different point of view.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Just Like That....

While I write frequently about introspective and philosophical thoughts that cross my mind and quite happily soak in the subsequent discoveries and revelations, I must admit that I tend to go around with a crazy grin and walk with a spring in my step only on occasions when I happen to churn out a hilarious (silly for many) post or a cool poem. (Psst: This may be because an introspective or philosophical post means you have something to mull over for a long time after the post is published while other posts are done the minute you click the 'Publish Post' button. More importantly, the funny and poetic posts make me feel like I own the world! ;-))

The reason why I mention this is because I've not had an opportunity to sport that crazy grin or jump around with joy for some time now! :-| It's been ages since I got to write a hilarious post or pen a thoughtful poem. Makes me wonder whether something is wrong with my outlook these days...! I hope not. I can't wait to come across an event that will elicit a hilarious post from me. It will feel like I am alive and connected with everything good again! I can't wait to come across something that will make me churn out some satisfying poetry. It will feel like I can see beyond the ordinary and express it in the best ever way possible! Hello World, are you listening? Huh? Nimmy wants laughter and rhyme and not for no rhyme or reason. Whatever!

Double Juggle

On my mind this morning is what appears, to me, to be one of the most intriguing paradoxes - It is most important to have an open mind, be ready for all the experiences that life has to offer, be flexible enough to absorb contradictory opinions from the world around us, be humble enough to accept that truth can have multiple flavours and dimensions etc. At the same time, it is equally important to be firm and confident about one's thoughts & ideas, to act based on conviction, to have the faith that one's decision will turn out to be appropriate & accurate and so forth. While it is hard to work with people who think they know it all and rarely have space for outside views and apprehensions, it can be equally hard to work with people who can't take decisions because they have too much of an open mind. If you've learned to juggle the two attitudes so well that it appears like you're not juggling two independent things but just playing an easy game with one continuous're it.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Funny Truth

George Bernard Shaw - "When a thing is funny, search it carefully for a hidden truth." of the reasons why I am fascinated by certain kinds of humour. Sometimes I laugh till it hurts and then suddenly freeze to an absolute stop as I begin to see beyond the initial humour. It takes me a while to come out of the see-saw experience. Have you heard of clever humour? Have you heard of utter nonsensical humour? What is what? When do you laugh and then think? When do you think and then laugh?

Mmm. Nonsense sometimes makes more sense than know?

Monday, September 08, 2008

How True...!

Erica Jong -"Take your life in your own hands and what happens? A terrible thing: no one to blame."

Aaahhh!! Taking just the first part of the quote - Taking life in your own hands - I guess there are people who..... this and are happy (Bliss! Freedom!) this but are unhappy (End up looking for support and approval...! Can be confusing! Are they looking for someone to just guide or someone who will take decisions for them? Where does the influence stop?)
......don't do this and are unhappy (Unable to release themselves! Terrible! Blame game indeed)
......don't do this but are happy (Blind followers. Thinking isn't easy anyway? Go get a life?)

Hmmm. Blink. Hmmm. Sigh. Is it parenting that largely determines which category one belongs to? Or is it really about the context. Some people can take their own decisions on what to eat when in a restaurant but not what to purchase when it comes to clothing! Eh?


Update: I think I have not done justice to this tag and post. I realize that my language is almost indifferent and somewhat crazy. I had absolutely no intentions to hurt the person who so kindly passed this tag to me and also appreciated my blog! God! And I took up the post like as if it is a burden! Thanks to the foul mood I was in at the time of writing this post. It seriously has nothing to do with my not wanting to take this tag or pass it on! I was too disturbed to write like my usual self and I guess I did not have the mental strength to spend time on passing on the tag and awards to selected people because of my state of mind. Shame on me! And apologies to all those who felt they were wasting their time on a neutral post. S-O-R-R-Y! :( And if you decide to pick up this tag and pass it on, please do so and let me know. You can make amends for my crazy state of mind and general blogging lethargy! Thanks in advance!


I've been tagged (and given an award as well)....and after a really loooooong time. There was a time when I found tags coming to me somewhat frequently but then, later, the traffic died down. Since then, I've wished for tags to come my way especially when subjected to extreme blogging boredom. This isn't really such an occasion but I, nevertheless, would love to take this tag and pass it on. The tag comes from here. Thank you, Prashant! So, here goes....

1. Print screen your desktop, post the image here and write a story on it.
2. Give away some
Blogging Friends Forever awards
3. Give away some
Brilliant Weblog awards

Here's what my desktop looks like - for the past one week or so! I actually had a cute little pic of Calvin and Hobbes till last week. But, having recently celebrated Ganesh Chaturthi and feasted on lots of sweets and snacks prepared for the one and only Elephant God, I replaced the C&H pic with one of my favourite pics of the former, on an impulse. I love this pic of Ganesha. He looks fresh, charming, colourful and creative - made out of beautiful flowers and the special 'Ganesha grass'. Apart from the pic, if there's anything else I must say about my desktop, I like it to be as 'empty' as possible. The fewer the icons, the better. Love to have all my shortcuts on the thin bar on the right hand side. Can't manage without a few desktop Post Its. And I rarely keep the same pic for more than a month. I like life as well as on my desktop.

The Blogging Friends Forever Award: If you're reading this, then it's yours. Simple. :-) (Psst: I don't intend to rely on my memory to list down all the people I have met in Blogosphere. Remember, I've been blogging for more than 4 years now)

The Brilliant Weblog Award: I think I've already mentioned most of the blogs that I like to read in many of my previous posts and via my Blogroll. I believe t
hat there are plenty of blogs that make for brilliant reading. I have no inclination to repeat my previous posts or for that matter list down just a handful of blogs here. I sincerely think we all have flashes of brilliance now and most blogs will qualify for this award. I am in a generous mood today! (Did I hear you say "Generous or Lazy?!" ;P) No....really! I think there are too many brilliant blogs for me to be able to list them here. But if you insist, I think I'll give it to one top-of-the-mind blog now - The truly brilliant Eknath Easwaran. He is no more...but his thoughts are eternal. He has the capacity to weave wonderful stories around profound thoughts. I find his writings to be unique in the sense that they are very simple and yet extremely compelling.

PS: I pass on the tag to anyone who is reading this and feels like spending some time on it. :-)

Thursday, September 04, 2008


I love this delightful list created by Anthony Fernando, called Seven Life Lessons we can learn from Children.

1. Live in the moment***
2. Give yourself time to learn*
3. Believe anything is possible**
4. Laugh out loud**
5. Don't be afraid to love***
6. Forgive quickly and completely*
7. Never lose sense of your wonder**

Note to self:

*Work harder on these
**Pat yourself on these
*** Understand where you are on these

Reminds me of a post I wrote four years ago...and I see that there is, naturally, an overlap in the list.

|| and > (Pause and Play)

From here

Leonardo da Vinci spent countless hours ruminating upon things of the spirit as he worked on his famous canvas of the Last Supper. He spent so much time meditating in the cloister that some of the monks in the community became concerned. They remonstrated with the artist about his wasting precious time and money. "Why do you spend so much time with us in prayer when you have come here to work?" they wondered.

Leonardo answered, "When I pause the longest, I make the most telling strokes with my brush."


Hmm. In today's world, such pauses are considered to be nothing less than a crime. Especially in the corporate world. Ironically, lack of such pauses is what causes permanent gaps in the long run. Permanent gaps that smack of chaos caused by people who did not initially want to stop for a while.

Something tells me that most people will gradually and ultimately slow down when they need to and go in search of a life and work that allows them to take in life the way it should ideally be. I know of some people who have held their own in such a blind, meaningless and merciless world.
These are people who have, paradoxically, escaped herd mentality but tapped into the wisdom of a wiser 'world'. Hats off to these folks! They've found the guts, faith and conviction to take the less-trodden path and lead the way for the rest of us....toward a more serene and fulfilling future.

Being busy can be addictive (Like Calvin says, "Everybody is a slave to routine"). We need more and more people who can overcome this addiction and free the world from its clutches. People who can make it a better place to live in - for the current crowd and generations to come. We may not be able to save the world from its eventual fate but we can at least make the remaining parts of the journey more meaningful.

Spiritual thinking, as I know it, would advocate that we need to be calm and composed even when surrounded by such chaos, ambiguity and uncertainty. If one were to rule out the thought of running away from such a world, it leaves us with the next best (to my mind) option. Pausing, slowing down, taking breaks, experimenting, introspecting and being happy with a life that's 'different'. These may be the wisest ways to continue to be in the 'real' world and yet lead a more meaningful life. Such a style of living, I guess, will make us less desperate to change the world in one master stroke and have faith in its (and our own) evolving destiny.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

KM - Journey Vs Destination

Experience gives me the assurance that KM exists so it can deliver one or more of these four key tangible benefits to organizations: Operational Efficiency, Customer Intimacy, Innovation and Learning/Competency Development.

Most organizations, boringly enough, look for Operational Efficiency via KM. Because they can't think beyond cutting costs and time. Or because it is easier to prove improvement in efficiency as compared to, say, Innovation or Learning benefits. But, a serious challenge in terms of dipping customer satisfaction or the presence of a significantly novice workforce or a serious passion for breakthroughs (and/or a dying business) urges organizations to look beyond Operational Efficiency. At least, that's what it seems like to me. What is seen as high priority (and as safe) is attempting to be better at operations. Most other initiatives are 'risky' & complicated and, moreover, do not assure benefits. In other words, "Don't rock the boat!" is a prevalent attitude unless there is an alien on the boat or it seems to be capsizing.

Stepping away from the proven outcome(s) of KM, it struck me that the ultimate benefit of an effective KM initiative (with multiple dimensions) actually lies in the process of implementing KM. Let me elaborate. In the attempt to achieve these tangible outcomes, the process of creating an environment that appreciates and celebrates knowledge management involves concepts and philosophies of sharing, learning, collaboration and reuse. What this means is the ushering in of a unified work culture (the lack of which is the bane of many a large organization today). The next thing I see as an ultimate benefit is the necessity of instilling a single and well-defined (and understood) sense of purpose in order to set up such a unified culture! Step out of the CFO-mindset and step into that of a passionate founder and you'll see the meaning and joy of KM as an enabler for a unified work culture and a single sense of purpose!