Inside Knowledge Magazine /Knowledge Management Magazine Archive
Volume 8 Issue 2
Inside knowledge: KM and leadership
On the train to London this morning I overheard a perfect example of impromptu networking in action. A woman who was talking (rather loudly) on her mobile phone was drawn into debate by the man opposite when she had finished her conversation about an elderly social-services user in Shropshire and the problems she was currently facing. It seems her fellow commuter was also part of the Shropshire social services team and they spent the rest of the journey sharing stories and experiences, and discussing upcoming conferences. By the time we pulled into Euston, they had swapped e-mail addresses and were planning to meet up at a conference in Wem.
One of the knowledge-sharing duo’s gripes was the lack of adequate management and leadership from those higher up in social services. They complained that these so-called leaders had no real idea about the goings on at the user level of their respective departments. Both were convinced that if these leaders actually met the users they were supposed to be providing a service for, they would make more effective and educated decisions.
Leadership is the focus of this month’s issue and the topic has provoked some compelling and passionate contributions from KM leaders such as Robert Buckman and Victor Newman, who believe that successful leaders cannot be cultivated in a command and control climate.
Bearing this in mind, I was surprised to hear about a new book that is sweeping the US. Hardball is written by George Stalk, a senior partner at the Boston Consulting Group, and Rob Lachenauer, boss of GEO2, a car-engine technology firm. They claim that American business schools and executives now pay far too much attention to ‘soft’ management issues, such as leadership, corporate culture, customer care and employee management. Instead, the book urges managers to “plagiarise, don’t shade your eyes” and to “take it and make it your own”. The book has caused uproar – it is hardly a KM-friendly read – but its candour does serve as an illustration of why employees are still reluctant to share their knowledge. Organisations need to build a culture of trust and I only hope that Hardball does not represent the future of management. If this October issue proves anything it’s that Stalk and Lachenauer have a long way to go before they convince Knowledge Management and its contributors that their literary offering really does present the best way forwards for modern organisations.
Entovation: get in the zone
From Australia to Finland, knowledge innovation zones (KIZ) are emerging in the quest for sustainable growth and economic development within cities, regions, countries and enterprises. Debra Amidon and Bryan Elliot Davis explain the role of KIZs within the KM arena and discuss combatting the global collaboration challenge.
Aon: captured, not confined
Global organisations are beginning to assert their role within the knowledge economy, but employees are often reluctant or ill-equipped to share what they know. Sandra Higgison explains how Aon is using case studies to capture, share and re-use knowledge, and charts the development of a knowledge-conscious culture at the company.
DWP: fuelling the search engine
When it came to implementing a search and retrieval strategy, the UKs Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) was determined to create a user-friendly intranet search engine. Rebecca Cavalôt speaks to a librarian at the DWP about the challenge of keeping thousands of civil servants satisfied with innovative content-retrieval methods.
Elizabeth Lank: a knowledge-conscious curriculum
Managers are increasingly focused on leading employees towards a knowledge-sharing culture, but leaders must be truly knowledge-conscious if they are to affect transformational changes. Elizabeth Lank investigates effective educational options open to leaders who want to encourage staff to share knowledge to facilitate organisation-wide KM initiatives.
Book review: Lost Knowledge: Confronting the Threat of an Aging Workforce
Patti Anklam reviews Lost Knowledge: Confronting the Threat of an Aging Workforce by David DeLong
Jerry Ash: knowledgeworks
Senior managers are slowly accepting the value of intangible assets, but guaranteed ROI is still high up on the organisational wish list. Jerry Ash investigates tying knowledge-management proposals to critical success factors and offers an antidote to the scepticism that is hindering KM potential.
Your say: leading by example
Organisations are constantly exploring ways to keep pace with KM developments and one way they can do this is to ensure that their leaders are truly knowledge savvy. Many organisations however, are still unsure about what constitutes a knowledge-conscious leader. Rebecca Cavalôt investigates ways in which successful KM leadership can keep companies one step ahead of their competitors.
The knowledge: Carol Kinsey Goman
As a consultant, coach and international lecturer, Carol Kinsey Goman has built a reputation as a specialist in organisational change from a human perspective. Today, her roles as trusted confidant and coach have become interchangeable. She speaks to Rebecca Cavalôt about her passion for unleashing individual potential and the importance of trust, and highlights some shocking KM statistics.
Put it to the board: Dorothy Leonard
Managers in the western world and parts of Asia are wrestling with an issue that has always been integral to managing knowledge. In numerous industries and countries the pending retirement tsunami of so-called baby boomers will soon reach crisis proportions. Some employees will depart without causing even a momentary ripple in the flow of organisational operations, as much of their useful knowledge can be easily captured.