August 24, 2012

To lose or to win?

I was flicking through a volume of the Engineering and Technology Journal when the following caught my eye – “Research shows that 80 per cent of leaders and managers are engaged in a battle ‘not to lose’.”

I am not sure why it caught my eye; perhaps it was the conclusion that only 20 percent of our leaders and managers were focused on winning?

Somehow that just doesn’t feel right to me, I have met many leaders and managers whom I would describe as focused on winning, sure their definition of winning depends on the industry they are in.  In some cases it is increasing market share, in some it’s access to acreage to explore for oil and gas, in some its about driving down accidents and impact on the environment.  Sure they don’t want to lose what they have gained, some even talk about ‘banking current success’ but the focus in on continuous improvement.

One of the benefits of a knowledge management strategy is that it helps the leadership and managers of an organisation to clearly articulate the knowledge that will be needed to support delivery of the business strategy.  So if you want to increase market share by moving into new markets, the knowledge management strategy would define what knowledge you would need to achieve that, who would manage that knowledge and how the knowledge would be exploited.

Perhaps it doesn’t matter whether the leaders and managers of your organisation are focused on not losing or winning, perhaps what is important is that the organisation is clear on the business objectives and has access to the knowledge to deliver it.

August 23, 2012

Appropriate Knowledge

I would like to share with you this story to illustrate that the right knowledge at the right time can lead to better decisions.  It’s not about managing all knowledge, its about being able to access that knowledge which you need, when you need it.

The newly qualified school teacher is standing in front of her class of six year olds for the first time.  She sets the lesson as she has been trained to do; the lesson was ‘draw a picture of someone you love. 

A hand appears in the air and one of the young pupils says, “Can I draw a picture of Santa Claus?”  to which the newly qualified teachers replied “I would prefer if your picture was of someone real”.  The result, lots of tears, looks of horror and shock from the young pupils.

Sometimes it’s better not to share the knowledge you have.

August 10, 2012

KM and Innovation

Knowledge management and innovation aren’t always seen as being supportive of one another.  Several commentators have written the equivalent of knowledge management prevents innovation.  I tend not to agree with that sentiment.

In the current edition of the Knoconewsletter various members of the Knoco family share their views on how knowledge management and innovation work together.

We hope you enjoy reading the latest edition of the newsletter and as always if you have any comments, we would love to hear them.

August 3, 2012

Why I Didn't Learn

I am just back from vacation and found myself wondering why I hadn’t learned the lessons from previous vacations and implement them this time around.

Don’t get me wrong, nothing disastrous happened, just simple things that I already know but hadn’t embedded in my thinking or behaviour.  In effect, I re-invented the wheel.

Why did I do this?

Well perhaps it was because I don’t go on vacation every month and as I don’t have ‘written procedures’ on how to planand implement vacations, I just forgot what happened last time I went on vacation.  The other thing is that the consequence of not getting it right are trivial, sure it was a pain and annoying at the time but ten minutes, thirty minutes, next day I had forgotten all about it and got back to the more important aspects of enjoying my vacation.

So does this help us when we are designing lessons learned systems in the corporate world?  I think it does.  Firstly, one of the reason that I didn’t do anything about the ‘lesson’ that I had learned is that the consequences of repeating the same experience were negligible.  Nobody was going to be hurt, the environment wasn’t going to be negatively impacted, our business wasn’t going to lose market share, I would just be upset for a few minutes, then get back to what I was doing.  I would suggest that in order to make changes to what you do, there has to be a negative consequence of not doing it.