September 16, 2010

Rapid Onboarding

At this time of year many young graduates will be starting out on first phase of their chose careers. Behind them are the endless hours of studying and the horrors of examination time. They are now ready to solve world hunger / put someone on Mars / invent a cure for Aids / invent the as yet unthought-of gadget that we must have and will make them a billionaire before they are thirty. The dreams and ambitions of the young know no boundaries or limitations.

On entering the workplace some will be the subject of traditional induction programs. They will sit through safety briefings, briefings on the vision of the organisation, be introduced to senior management, be parade around the office meeting countless faces, most of whom will be instantly forgotten about. They will be told about pensions, where the rest rooms are, where the staff restaurant is and set at a desk. They will be given procedures manual / standing orders manual / company standards and told to make themselves familiar with them. You can almost hear the enthusiasm with which they joined the organisation draining out of their big toe. Of the six hundred pages, which contains the most important things I need to know? How does it really work in practice? Who can I ask about this? For days they flounder until eventually their line manager is able to speak with them again. They are given some routine, menial task ‘to get them started’ and yet more enthusiasm drains from them. Soon they start to long for the weekend and release. Some start to question why they joined this organisation, some start to proactively seek opportunities outside the company. The fortunate ones will breakthrough and become motivated staff who make a contribution to the organisation and develop as individuals. The unfortunate ones become more and more disillusioned with their lot in life and seek fulfilment in out of office activities.

Fortunately not all of our young people will experience the same faith. Some will be lucky enough to join organisations who use processes such as rapid onboarding to provide ‘just in time knowledge’ to the person who has just joined the company. They don’t need to know every standard and operating procedure on day one, what they need to know is how to do the job they have been recruited for, no more, no less. They don’t need to be introduced to everyone in the department, they forget who have been introduced to anyway. If you are at a party and meet twenty people, how many names do you remember afterwards! All the need is to be introduced and paired with the people who they can ask advice from to get the job done and frequently that isn’t their line manager. They become productive on day one, they feel as if they are contributing, they feel good. They have been shown how to use the company knowledge portal, they ask questions, they contribute what they are learning. Motivation remains high, they know they have joined the right company. Rapid onboarding is just in time knowledge, to the person at the pace they need it and can apply it.

What will the young people experience when they join your organisation?

Knoco Ltd

September 9, 2010

Ancient Knowledge in Use Today

I was delighted to hear during a recent conversation with Charlotte Barnes that ancient knowledge is being used today. Charlotte was Knowledge Manager on the Gorgon Project and has recently moved into being Principal Proposals Specialist with MWKL, the EPC engineering group.

Charlotte explained how she had just participated in The Knutsford Great Race on her Penny-farthing bike, yes a real live Penny-farthing bike. People had travelled from all over the world to participate in the race. There are some great picture on this site but I think my favourite is of the ‘pace car’ was lead the first two warm up laps before the race began. Close second in terms of pictures has just got to be the picture of the ‘starting gun’. These guys really know how to do things with style.

But technology creeps into everything………..there was an RFID lap counting chip in a carrier on the small wheel. I am sure it makes things easier for the race organisers but somehow it doesn’t fit with my mental image of a Penny-farthing.

As if the use of technology wasn’t shocking enough, one rider even got disqualified for dangerous riding. Is nothing sacred I hear you say!

But this story has a happy ending, Charlotte and her Penny-farthing partner won the team event. A well deserved lap of honour was held in front to six thousand people.
Isn’t this a wonderful example of ancient knowledge being retained and re-used?

Knoco Ltd

September 6, 2010

Five Question AAR

The After Action Review (AAR) which was originally developed by the US Army is now used extensively in industry and the public sector as a knowledge gathering process. In most of the text books, the After Action Review is described as a four question process but increasingly we are using a five question version.

The first question is, what was supposed to happen?
The second question is, what actually happened?
The third question is, why was there a difference?
And the forth question is, what have we learned?

But now we like to add another question, what action needs to be taken?

The reason that we now include this fifth question is to start to move the conversation from ‘learning’ to ‘action’. It is designed to encourage the team who have been participating in the After Action Review to take ownership for their learning and then do something with it. It is moving from lessons identified to lessons learned because we did something about it.

If you already use the AAR process, why not try the five question version, we think you will be pleasantly surprised with the impact. If you don’t already use the AAR process, why not give it a go.

Knoco Ltd

September 2, 2010

Temporary Best Practice

I can almost feel the reaction to this as I type the words on to the screen. Yes, I believe in Best Practice. Now to go and hide while the replies come storming in. Amongst them will be the concern that BP stifles innovation.

Let me suggest away forward. I would like to suggest that in future instead of BP we refer to TBP.

What is TBP?

TBP stands for Temporary Best Practice.

Let me try to explain how it works.

Imagine you are in a world where you haven’t done anything before. No, lets making it really exciting and suggest that nobody has done it before. Let’s call it edradouring. After you have edradoured for the first time you will have knowledge of how to edradour, it probably wont be perfect but it will be a start. You now have a TBP.

The next time that you are about to edradour, you can review you TBP on edradouring and apply that knowledge. If you chose to share your knowledge of how to edradour, other people could review your TBP and learn from it.

After you have edradoured for the second time, you can include any new knowledge of how to edradour in your TBP.

The essence of TBP is that it is never static, it is never finished, it is always in a state of transition in the cycle of review, apply, update. It never becomes a BP, because it always in a transition from the current version to the next version.

So for all those who don’t like the term Best Practice, how about Temporary Best Practice?

Knoco Ltd