Forgetfulness and Fear are the Enemies of Knowledge

“Whenever you want to achieve something, keep your eyes open, concentrate and make sure you know exactly what it is you want. No one can hit their target with their eyes closed.” 
― Paulo Coelho

Forgetfulness and fear can destroy knowledge creation within an organization.

Loosing sight of organizational goals and challenges is detrimental to learning and innovation. The simple matter is we need a consistent purpose and challenge to spark our creative and intellectual energies.
It is not that I’m so smart. But I stay with the questions much longer.
As business leaders we should plan how we will use reminders to keep people focused on the big picture. Routines such as regularly scheduled planning meetings or progress report sessions  can help keep first things first.
“Fear helps create knowing doing gaps because acting on one’s knowledge requires that a person believe he or she will not be punished for doing so-that taking risks based on new information and insight will be rewarded, not punished”. -Jeffrey Pfeffer and Robert Sutton
Fear also can derail the creation of knowledge. Pfeffer and Sutton (2000 ) highlight in their book the Knowing-Doing Gap that the organizations they studied that failed to translate knowledge into action had a pervasive atmosphere of fear. Maya Angelo has a saying that courage is the most important virtue because without it no other virtue are possible.  It is important to address fear head-on by creating a safe space where people can share their ideas and suggestions. In Japanese this is called a Ba. Ikujiro Nonaka describes a BA as a shared space that serves as a foundation for knowledge creation. If people are afraid they will not share.
  • How do maintain focus in your organization?
  • What strategies you use to create a safe space for people to share?
I would love to hear your thoughts. Please share them in the comments below.

Knowledge Capture: You Know More Than You Think

We don’t know what we know until we have to know it.

We often become aware of our knowledge and the value that it holds within the organization when we are dealing with a challenge.

That’s why it’s important to make use of tools that allow us to capture knowledge created at the moment of problem resolution. When we document our thinking in resolving a situation, structuring those insights into a format that facilitate sharing and reuse we scale the impact and value of the knowledge.

However if a problem is resolved and the knowledge that was created in the process was not captured and shared, the value and impact of that knowledge is decreased drastically.

 A few final thoughts:

1. RESPECT: Value your daily experiences and challenges they are the generators of knowledge.

2. CAPTURE: Document knowledge at the moment it is created.

3. STRUCTURE: Use a simple template and format to structure your knowledge for ease-of-use.

4. BE MINDFUL: Work mindfully and recognize knowledge that can be reused and applied to address emerging situations.


Keeping Up With Life: The Value of Managing Personal Knowledge

With the speed and pace of business today, personal knowledge management (pkm) techniques are crucial to staying afloat. However even the best of strategies are not without limitations. Clarity of focus and intent are essential in keeping the important things the important things. Time, resources and a person’s ability to work are not infinite resources. Narrowing our to focus to spend time on critical tasks is essential. Personal knowledge management is also about introspection.
Setting time aside everyday to think about  important challenges and tasks is necessary for a pkm strategy to be effective. Clarity of purpose helps a person determine what is essential to know and how to manage the associated critical knowledge.This is why I think project management methods such as Agile Scrum are of such tremendous value. There is an emphasis placed on reflection and the prioritization of work. Reflection is a prerequisite to learning and a safeguard against the wasting of time and resources.
A few best practices
  • Start each day with a reflection on the important priorities to be achieved
  • Recap each day with an assessment of progress
  • Document reflection and thoughts daily using a resource like Evernote or OneNote
  • Use a calendar that is accessible via smart phone, tablet and desktop

Make the Best Use of Your Organization’s Knowledge. Write a KM Strategy

A knowledge management (km) strategy should begin with a diagnosis of the current situation and the goals of the organization. It is critical for an enterprise to take a pulse of its current position and the resources needed to achieve a desired outcome. From a km perspective it’s important to determine four things:

  1. What knowledge, skills and attitudes are needed to achieve a desired outcome
  2. Who are the people both inside and outside of the organization that possess the desired knowledge skills and attitudes needed for success
  3. What information and insights should be documented for reuse
  4. What sources of data and information can be used to drive learning and innovation
  5. What key performance indicators and metrics can be used to track organizational progress