Inside Knowledge Magazine /Knowledge Management Magazine Archive
Volume 10 Issue 2
Can people’s minds be as flexible as the working patterns they are increasingly expected to adopt? How can staff adapt to organisational change when they have grown used to routine and, well, like working in the way that they always have done?
Change management is a term that everyone should be familiar with, one that is readily embraced by management (more enthusiastically the higher up an organisation you go). Yet lower down, it is treated with trepidation. Change management for the CEO frequently means either a big bonus for a job well done – or the sack, but sweetened by a big pay-off, for failure. Either way, he or she doesn’t suffer.
But on the shop floor, both success and failure may result in the same thing: at best, instability and uncertainty; at worst, a lost job, but without the same level of compensation that the failed CEO will enjoy…
Be that as it may, in a fast-changing world everyone must be adaptable, whether they like it or not.
Yet as change management guru Carol Kinsey Goman observes, our brains are often hard-wired for repetition. It is comfortable and takes much less mental energy than confronting change. Ipso facto, change often stimulates human beings’ natural ‘fight or flight’ responses, with all the resistance that entails.
Goman therefore suggests a simple six-point plan to prepare staff for change. This includes making change a familiar, regular theme at work; encouraging staff to initiate change – involving them in the details, rather than simply subjecting them to change; keeping it simple by breaking the change programme down into manageable chunks; providing a clear and convincing vision; and, telling the truth, however hard it may be.
Goman’s advice brought to mind the experience of an acquaintance who had worked for many years at a major international bank. Her job was being outsourced to Eastern Europe, yet the bank did not tell her that, although it wasn’t difficult to guess. They simply asked her to train the staff who would soon be doing her job.
Her response was natural enough. Instead of correcting their many mistakes, as she would have done in the past, she just let them go – they are the bank’s problem now and the bank will pay in the future for its disregard for the finer arts of change management.
Masterclass: Business taxonomy, part one
Taxonomies can be powerful tools. But too often, their complexity defeats the users they are supposed to help. The business taxonomy offers a simpler alternative, argues Zach Wahl.
Case study: HSBC
Just as knowledge-capture projects make many members of staff feel valued (because such initiatives reflect the value that the organisation places upon their knowledge, skills and accumulated experience) so does the introduction of flexible working if it is done correctly, for the right reasons and staff are adequately supported.
Case study The British Council
The British Council deployed social network analysis to help managers understand how knowledge is shared in the organisation and what they could do to make knowledge sharing more effective.
Cover story: Cadbury Schweppes
Cadbury Schweppes turned to KM and collaboration when it needed to improve team working following a series of mergers and acquisitions.
Book review: Return on learning
The Dilbert cartoon is, perhaps, over-quoted among management gurus. But there is one Dilbert strip that is almost universally applicable across the Anglo-Saxon corporate world.
The knowledge: Ross Dawson
Collaboration is at the heart of the new economy - within organisations, across national boundaries and online, as well as face-to-face. Sandra Higgison talks to Ross Dawson about 'connecting ideas and people at the edge of the future'.
The Gurteen Perspective: Personally speaking
A while back, a friend told me that she had forwarded my monthly knowledge letter to a number of colleagues and that several had commented that it was strange that I used the word I a lot.
Thought leader: Middle men are in for a hard time
People who pass on messages, ideas or even products are being disintermediated by the web. Whether it is print media, record companies, or retailers for significant numbers of people they increasingly dont add value, argues Euan Semple.