Show Me Candy #WhenVendorsAttack

l1001849_tonemappedVendor Demo

As a leader in IT, I have the benefit and the curse of 1,000+ vendors contacting me on a weekly basis.   Here are some challenges, issues, concerns and solutions for those selling warez.

Challenges for Vendors

Solving problems I don’t have or that I have nothing to do with..

Dear Howie,  As the IT leader for Knowledge Management I am pretty sure you need our UI / UX, AI, IA, RPAi, RPA, Workflow, Branding, Cloud SaaS,  CRM, Service Now, Crayola digital art kit.   How’s next Tuesday?  or Hey Howard (Howie) How-ster.. How-dog…  My SVP Fred Mcpuffinstuff asked me to setup a meeting with you to go over your needs in feeding puppies.   We are experts in puppies and we know that we can serve all your needs.   In fact, we will actually bring you a puppy when we see you and we will serve you puppy for dinner when we go out in town.

Honestly,  this is a very annoying at best and creates a situation where it impacts my productivity at worst.   You don’t know anything about me or what I do but you never know.. you may get lucky?   It isn’t likely..

Talking vs Demonstrating  | Demonstrating vs Talking

Tools.. tools… tools..   First they want to talk about the tools but then quickly realize things aren’t simple in the big enterprise environment.   Next we may talk about doing a demonstration but because there is a lack of understanding of the environment there isn’t an understanding of limitations.   The problem here is that vendors assume that we have 100% access to all of our resources.  They don’t take into consideration to ask about controls.  They also don’t know who they are speaking with relative to the demonstration. “This is the best bacon your Synagogue orthodox congregation will ever have.”  A real world example of this would be security vendors looking to sell me network solutions and wanting to demonstrate intrusion detection software.   That’s nice, but it really has nothing to do with me.    On the other end of the spectrum, some companies want to sell something that they can’t demonstrate beyond a wire-frame.  The reason is that they have the “talent” to build something custom or they have an “engine” to do whatever it is I can imagine.   My bologna has a first name.. ♪♫♬


Many companies are just trying to get their feet on the ground.  I understand that and in my opinion, there isn’t anything wrong with becoming an entrepreneur.   It takes a lot of courage to go out on your own and start a business.    The issue is about risk.

A few years ago, I was working for a very large oil and gas company as a consultant.   The company had decided to buy software from a very small company.  The software worked well but the small company couldn’t keep up with the demand from the large company.  At the end of the day, the large company had to buy the small company.     This happened because the company was understaffed and the licensing costs didn’t cover the operational and capital expenses.   They were successful in their sale but they could not afford to scale and they didn’t understand the scope of business relative to expense in operations vs sales.

Going with a startup or Small, Medium Business (SMB) is fine but we need to work with the companies to understand the risk / reward.  If the risk outweighs the reward, it simply isn’t worth it. Many companies try to hide information about themselves but they wind up having to answer these questions with the vendor management groups of large companies.  Lack of transparency up front will cost you a sale, even if someone like me loves you.

Issues for Vendors

Misrepresentation of intention

For simplicity sake,  I am friendly but not your friend.   Many people contact me like we are old friends and served in the armed forces together.   Hey man,  could you do me a solid and connect me with your CIO?   Sure, I will get right on that brother.   I don’t mind helping out or talking to people, but if you intention is to simply use a relationship with me that you didn’t have in the first place,  it isn’t working out well for your endeavor.

Poor listening skills

Understanding words like (yes or no).   Sometimes, people call me and I say “no” because I can’t or it is not comfortable for me.  Maybe I say “no” because I don’t want to do it.   In many cases, vendors are so persistent and aggressive that they literally can’t understand the word “no.”   This doesn’t work out well in the long run because if you had accepted what I had to say,  I would be happy to refer you to other people who might say “yes.”

If you can’t listen in the beginning, there is a good change that you can’t listen at all.

Asking for favors

This is one of my favorites.  I don’t mind helping people and I do go out of my way to help people.  Anyone who knows me, knows that I am willing to help.    Often times the vendor equivalent of Wimpy comes and knocks on my door asking for a bunch of hamburgers today that they will gladly pay me back for on Tuesday.    Over time, I have learned that they (mostly) take the burger and run.    Don’t ask a prospect that you don’t know for favors.   

Concerns for Vendors

  1. Loss of trust
  2. Loss of sale
  3. Loss of opportunity for the future

Solutions for Vendors

  1. Research the company (not the people individually)
  2. Do your homework.
  3. Contact the right people in the company.

The secret in successful engagement is to build a trusted relationship up front.  Listen carefully to the prospect.   Don’t run us over with the pitch.  Be honest, open and transparent.   If you are dealing with a large organization, understand that you will be putting skin in the game and that an engagement will cost you money.   It is an investment for you as much as it is for them.

There are so many stories about vendorzilla situations, that we could probably write a book on it.

What’s yours?


Hurricane Resources #Hurricane

Put together a list for family in Florida…  Just copying and sharing here as well..

Zello –

All Partners Access Network-

You Tube (Live) Stream news live from cell networks.

Police scanners online –


Disaster apps


WISER (includes CHEMM) application icon
  • Download for iPhone/iPad
  • Download for Android
  • Download for Blackberry
  • Launch in browser

WISER (Wireless Information System for Emergency Responders) assists first responders in Hazmat incidents, with features including substance identification support, containment and suppression advice, and medical treatment information. Content from CHEMM (Chemical Hazards Emergency Medical Management) is included in this app.

Mobile REMM application icon
  • Download for iPhone/iPad
  • Download for Android
  • Download for Blackberry
REMM (Radiation Emergency Medical Management) provides guidance about clinical diagnosis and treatment of radiation injuries during radiological and nuclear emergencies. It was developed by the National Library of Medicine and the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

ERG 2016 application icon
  • Download for iPhone/iPad
  • Download for Android

2016 Emergency Response Guidebook (ERG) from the PHMSA (U.S. Department of Transportation Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration) provides first responders with a go-to resource to help deal with hazmat accidents during the critical first 30 minutes.

CDC Blast Injury application icon
  • Download for iPhone/iPad
This application is designed to help healthcare providers and public health professionals treat injuries, prepare for blast events, and save lives.

TOXNET application icon
  • Launch in browser

TOXNET from the National Library of Medicine is an easy to use, mobile-optimized Web interface covering toxicology, hazardous chemicals, environmental health and related areas.

Tox-App application icon
  • Download for iPhone/iPad
Tox-App lets users search for industrial facilities that most recently reported releasing certain chemicals into the environment to the US EPA TRI program. This version of Tox-App provides some of the basic TOXMAP functions, including the ability to search for reporting facilities, or browse for these facilities by chemical, state, or county.

CAMEO Chemicals application icon
  • Download for iPhone/iPad
  • Download for Android
  • Launch in browser

CAMEO Chemicals is a tool designed for people involved in hazardous material and incident response and planning. It has a database of thousands of chemicals, with response information and a tool that tells you what reactions might occur if chemicals were mixed together. There is also a desktop program for Windows or Mac that, like the mobile apps, can be used offline.

Laboratory Response Network Rule-Out and Refer  application icon
  • Download for iPhone/iPad
This app from CDC allows sentinel labs to access important information regarding six potential bioterrorism agents, including information about biosafety, shipping and select agent compliance associated with each pathogen.

NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards Mobile Web Application application icon
  • Lunch in Browser

This app provides general industrial hygiene information for workers, employers, and occupational health professionals. The Pocket Guide presents key information and data in abbreviated tabular form for 677 chemicals or substance groupings.

Internal Contamination Clinical Reference application icon
  • Download for iPhone/iPad
  • Download for Android
This app estimates reference concentrations of radionuclides in urine assuming intakes equal to one Clinical Decision Guide (CDG) for each radionuclide. It is intended for clinicians, health professionals, radiation safety officers, medical and public health laboratory specialists, or any other professional interested in internal contamination with radioactive materials and their medical therapy. The app is to be used for educational and informational purposes only.

RadResponder application icon
  • Download for iPhone/iPad
  • Download for Android
  • Download for Windows laptop or tablet

RadResponder provides free software tools for logging, transmitting, storing, analyzing, and presenting environmental radiation monitoring data. Data is stored in a secure cloud environment accessible only by the user. Account registration is required through the RadResponder Network.

Medical and Health Information

PubMed application icon
  • Launch in browser

PubMed Mobile provides access to more than 21 million citations for biomedical literature from MEDLINE, life science journals, and online books.

LactMed application icon
  • Download for iPhone/iPad
  • Download for Android
LactMed provides access information about maternal and infant drug levels and possible effects of vaccines and radiologic agents on lactation and on breastfed infants.

MedlinePlus application icon
  • Launch in browser

MedlinePlus provides access to consumer-oriented health information on disaster topics in English and Spanish.

mTBI Pocket Guide  application icon
  • Download for iPhone/iPad
  • Download for Android
mTBI (Tramautic Brain Injury) Pocket Guide provides access to clinical guidelines for assessing and treating service members and Veterans who have sustained a mild TBI.

Drug Shortages application icon
  • Download for iPhone/iPad
  • Download for Android

This app from the FDA allows users to quickly identify current drug shortages, resolved shortages, and discontinuations of drug products, helping health practitioners made quick decisions about patient treatment.

MMWR Express application icon
  • Download for iPhone/iPad
The app provides access to full reports and available summaries from the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) which contains timely, authoritative, and useful public health information and recommendations from the CDC.

CDC Yellow Book 2018 - Travel Health Information application icon
  • Download for iPhone/iPad)
  • Download for Android

The fully revised and updated CDC Yellow Book 2018 app delivers the U.S. government’s most current travel health guidelines, including pre-travel vaccine recommendations, destination-specific health advice, and easy-to-reference maps, tables, and charts. Authored by a team of the world’s most esteemed travel medicine experts, this app best codifies the U.S. Government’s latest travel guidelines to staying healthy anywhere in the world.

MATx Mobile App to Support Medication-Assisted Treatment of Opioid Use Disorder application icon
  • Download for iPhone/iPad)
  • Download for Android
MATx empowers health care practitioners to provide effective, evidence-based care for opioid use disorders. This free app supports practitioners who currently provide medication-assisted treatment (MAT), as well as those who plan to do so in the future.

Responder Support and Safety

Med Field Ops  application icon
  • Download for iPhone/iPad

Mobile Medical Unit Field Operations Guide was developed for the Northern New England Metropolitan Response System but is applicable to other response teams such as MRC, CERT, DMAT and others. The app contains access to packing lists, deployment guidelines, treatment reference, and more.

OSHA-NIOSH Heat Safety Tool App application icon
  • Download for iPhone/iPad
  • Download for Android
The OSHA-NIOSH Heat Safety Tool is a useful resource for planning outdoor work activities based on how hot it feels throughout the day. Featuring real-time heat index and hourly forecasts, specific to your location, as well as occupational safety and health recommendations from OSHA and NIOSH.

CDC TravWell application icon
  • Download for iPhone/iPad
  • Download for Android

This app, designed for international travel, provides destination-specific vaccine recommendations, a travel checklist and a healthy travel packing list. You can also use this app to store travel documents and records of immunizations and to set reminders for getting vaccine boosters or taking medicine.

AFN-TIPS application icon
  • Download for iPhone/iPad
  • Launch in browser
This app is intended to support first responders and others who are assisting individuals with access and functional needs in times of crisis.

Show Me for Emergencies application icon
  • Download for iPhone/iPad
  • Download for Android

This app is for emergency workers and people with communication needs such as difficulty understanding English, hearing impairments, and cognitive disabilities. It uses easy-to-understand icons for two-way communication during an emergency.

RRAIN application icon
  • Download for iPhone/iPad
  • Download for Android
Response and Recovery App in Washington (RRAIN Washington) is designed to help first responders in the State of Washington access disaster information resources on a mobile device.

Psychological Health Tools

SAMHSA Behavioral Health Disaster Response  application icon
  • Download for iPhone/iPad
  • Download for Android
  • Download for BlackBerry

This app will connect behavioral health responders to evidenced-based behavioral health resources for use in the field. Users can access pre-loaded resources when Internet connectivity is limited, locate nearby treatment facilities, search for key materials and share information with colleagues and survivors.

PFA Mobile application icon
  • Download for iPhone/iPad
  • Download for Android
PFA Mobile assists responders who provide psychological first aid as part of an organized response effort. The app was funded by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ National Center for PTSD in partnership with the National Child Traumatic Stress Network, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the Department of Defense’s National Center for Telehealth & Technology (T2), and the VA’s Patient Care Services.

PTSD Coach application icon
  • Download for iPhone/iPad
  • Download for Android

PTSD Coach provides users with information about post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), including educational resources, information about professional care, a self-assessment tool, opportunities to find support, and tools to help manage the stresses of daily life with PTSD.

Provider Resilience application icon
  • Download for iPhone/iPad
  • Download for Android
Provider Resilience gives frontline providers tools to keep themselves productive and emotionally healthy as they help service members, veterans, and their families. The app also features stress-busting and compassion satisfaction-building tools.

Responder Self Care application icon
  • Download for iPhone/iPad
  • Download for Android

This mobile app aids those deployed to emergency response events in maintaining their own physical, emotional, and social wellbeing.

Help Kids Cope application icon
  • Download for iPhone/iPad
  • Download for Android
This app helps parents, caregivers, teachers, and emergency preparedness professionals talk with children about the disasters they may face and how to best support them before, during and after an event.

U.S. Federal Organizations

CDC application icon


CDC application icon
  • Download for iPhone/iPad
  • Download for Android

The CDC mobile app provides health and safety information related to emergencies and disasters.

FEMA application icon
  • Download for iPhone/iPad
  • Download for Android
  • Download for Blackberry
  • Launch in browser
FEMA app and mobile enhanced web page provide government disaster response information. Users can also upload and share disaster photos to help emergency managers.

American Red Cross Suite of Apps

First Aid by American Red Cross application icon
  • Download for iPhone/iPad
  • Download for Android

First Aid by American Red Cross provides free lifesaving first aid instruction and disaster preparedness information, including videos, interactive quizzes and simple step-by-step advice.

Red Cross Emergency  application icon
  • Download for iPhone/iPad
  • Download for Android
Red Cross Emergency is an “all-inclusive” app that combines more than 35 different severe weather and emergency alerts from natural to man-made, giving users real-time information about incidents that are about to occur in their location.

Earthquake - American Red Cross application icon
  • Download for iPhone/iPad
  • Download for Android

Earthquake – American Red Cross app provides step-by-step instructions on what to do before/during/after an earthquake. It also includes an “I’m Safe” feature to notify family and friends that you are okay.

Flood - American Red Cross application icon
  • Download for iPhone/iPad
  • Download for Android
Flood by American Red Cross app provides flood warning alerts, location of open shelters, information about dealing with floods and power outages and a customizable “I’m Safe” notification.

Hurricane - American Red Cross application icon
  • Download for iPhone/iPad
  • Download for Android

Hurricane by American Red Cross app provides access to local and real time information on what to do before, during and after hurricanes, including an “I’m safe” messaging alert.

Tornado - American Red Cross application icon
  • Download for iPhone/iPad
  • Download for Android
Tornado by American Red Cross app provides access to local and real time information on what to do before, during and after a tornado, including an audible siren when NOAA issues a tornado warning even if your app is closed.

Wildfires by American Red Cross application icon
  • Download for iPhone/iPad
  • Download for Android

Wildfires by American Red Cross shows where NOAA has issued wildfire warnings, notifies you when a new wildfire occurs and gives you a current view of the wildfire’s track and perimeter. You can also let loved ones know that you are safe even if the power is out and learn what steps you should take to prepare your family, home and pets.

Surveillance and Alerts

National Hurricane Center  application icon
  • Launch in browser

National Hurricane Center mobile enhanced Web page provides access to critical hurricane advisories and marine forecasts.

National Weather Service  application icon
  • Launch in browser
National Weather Service mobile enhanced Web page provides weather, hydrologic, and climate forecasts and warnings for the United States.

Disaster Alert  application icon
  • Download for iPhone/iPad
  • Download for Android

Disaster Alert provides access to information in both a list and on an interactive map about active hazards occurring around the globe.

Outbreaks Near Me application icon
  • Download for iPhone/iPad
  • Download for Android
Outbreaks Near Me provides real-time, searchable disease outbreak information for your neighborhood on interactive maps.

FluView application icon
  • Download for iPhone/iPad

FluView tracks influenza-like illness activity levels across the U.S.

ECDC Threat Reports application icon
  • Download for iPhone/iPad
  • Download for Android
  • Download for Windows Phone
The ECDC Threat Reports app gives you direct access to key updates and reports on communicable disease threats of concern to the European Union.

Epi Info application icon
  • Download for iPhone/iPad
  • Download for Android

Epi Info™ mobile apps bring many of the features of Epi Info™ for Windows onto Android and iOS mobile platforms. Epidemiologists can calculate sample sizes, collect data, and perform analysis using their smartphones or tablets to investigate outbreaks, respond to emergencies, or conduct public health research in locations lacking IT infrastructure.

Humanitarian Kiosk application icon
  • Download for iPhone/iPad
  • Download for Android
This app provides a range of up-to-the-minute humanitarian related information from emergencies around the world

ReliefWeb Crises application icon
  • Download for iPhone/iPad
  • Download for Android

RW Crises provides comprehensive coverage of over 20 crisis-affected countries. Get the latest humanitarian updates, disaster trends and country overviews as well as links to in-country contacts, datasets, and jobs and training opportunities. Follow updates in real time and save content for offline use.

Family Reunification

ReUnite application icon
  • Download for iPhone/iPad
  • Download for Android

ReUnite provides ability to upload missing and found person information for family reunification during and after disasters. It provides structured information to the National Library of Medicine’s People Locator service.

TriagePic application icon
  • Download for iPhone/iPad
  • Download for Android
This app is for use by hospital staff to reunify friends and family during a mass disaster. It is a reporting and tracking tool that allows staff to capture photos and brief information (name, age, gender, etc.) on disaster victims as they arrive at the hospital. This information on victims is stored in a database that may be searched by staff for family reunification purposes.

Apps for Disasters in Libraries

LibraryFloods application icon
  • Download for iPhone/iPad

LibraryFloods covers basic steps for recovering collections after a water emergency in your library.

ERS: Emergency Response and Salvage application icon
  • Download for iPhone/iPad
  • Download for Android
  • Download for Blackberry
ERS: Emergency Response and Salvage outlines critical stages of disaster response for damage to collections and significant records. It is based on the Heritage Preservation’s Emergency Response and Salvage Wheel.

For general emergency information from DOT:

For information and resources available from DOT pertaining to Hurricane Irma:

For more information on Hurricane Irma, please visit the following websites:

For information and resources available from DOT pertaining to Hurricane Harvey:

Digital Workplace Knowledge Capital

Paul Strassman wrote in 1999 “Indiscriminate discarding of knowledge assets, whether in the form of accumulated employee training or legacy software, has origins in ideas proposed over a century ago about the value of capital and labor. These theories claim that only capital assets increased the productivity of labor.

Consequently, the productivity of an enterprise is measured only in terms of the
productivity of its capital, such as Return-on-Assets or Return-on-Investment. The
providers of capital are then entitled to the surplus, called profit or rent. If
knowledge happens to be necessary for labor to make better uses of capital, that
becomes the justification for a higher wage rate for labor. By this reasoning, those
performing the actual labor are not entitled to collect rent from the knowledge they
have accumulated. Labor can receive only fair compensation for the time worked.
The most they are allowed to claim is to be awarded premium wages and a bonus
here or there.
The above reasoning is not only misleading, but results in judging the value of
employees on the basis of their wages, rather than how fast they accumulate useful
knowledge. The productivity of labor is not only a matter of wages. Productivity
comes from knowledge capital aggregated in the employee’s head in the form of
useful training and company-relevant experience.”


Understanding Knowledge Capital and Digital

Coca-cola talks about “Collective genius” in their values.  Fidelity says ” Expertise


Amazon built an internal Knowledge Management practice that applies personalization and advanced KM to their workforce in similar way that it does customers.

Practically every company refers to its own ability to “know” how to do something.  They talk about it in their mission statements,  their vision, values and as they describe who they are.

In some cases companies talk about their heritage which represents a record of delivery. This organizational history or heritage represents culture but it is also meant to prove an organizational body of knowledge.  An example could be or

In other cases, new younger companies may disrupt the market with new ideas and knowledge.   In the case of Lemonade insurance, they have new ideas to bring to market but they recognize industry knowledge as part of their plan for success ”

A Big Deal: Our Reinsurance Partners Believe In Lemonade

You may ask – will these partners always be around to support us? The good news is they take the really long-term perspective, and we are developing exactly as expected. I’m happy to report that we signed a new reinsurance contract a month ago, and many of the leading insurance and reinsurance companies from across the globe joined in. This includes two of the top three global reinsurers; expert specialists that reinsure and even write homeowners themselves. From New York, Bermuda, and London, these partners are in the hubs of insurance knowledge and capital.”

Tell you something new?

Well..  alright..  sort of..

I am going to go back to an old idea that Paul brought up way back in 1999.

 Organizations should report knowledge capital on their balance sheets. 

“It seems to me that if companies were allowed to record their knowledge capital in
the valuation of their shareholder equity as a matter of accounting routine, many of
the inconsistencies which currently show up in accounting and tax treatment of
company valuation would vanish. > >Pricing Knowledge Capital
It is the risk-adjusted interest in future earnings, in excess of the cost of capital,
which an investor is willing to pay for as the value of any intangible assets. Since
investors cannot differentiate between the price of capital for financial or knowledge
investments because they are intermingled, I use the identical price for all capital as
a first approximation. This yields a simple equation:
Knowledge Capital = Economic Value-Added / Price of Capital
This relation makes it possible to prepare a revised Balance Sheet for any firm, by
adding a line item Knowledge Capital on the Asset side of the ledger, and by
increasing (or decreasing) the reported valuation of Shareholder Equity by the
identical amount.” – Strassman

If knowledge were recognized as an asset of value with potential revenue as opposed to cost or savings, this would literally flip the model.   Currently knowledge assets are looked at as overhead which is charged against the cost center as either single or recurring costs.  Single cost with maintenance labor overhead costs don’t show actual value.  This is a cost model vs a productivity model.   The assertion is information or knowledge in action (productivity) is an investment in knowledge capital.  It moves knowledge management from operational to strategic.


Operational to Strategic

Strassman may have been 20 years ahead of his time for Digital.  He defined Knowledge Capital as “Knowledge Capital is the value that a customer assigns on top of the cost of sales and cost of capital. It’s the surplus value on top of the traditional value. The people who possess the accumulated knowledge about a company are the carriers of Knowledge Capital. They are the people who leave the workplace every night and may never return. They possess something for which they have spent untold hours listening and talking while delivering nothing of tangible value to paying customers. Their brains have the been the repositories of an accumulation of insights about how “things work here” — something that is often labeled with the vague expression “company culture.” Their heads carry a share of the company’s Knowledge Capital, which makes them a shareholder of the most important asset a firm owns — even though it never shows up on any financial reports. Every such shareholder of knowledge assets in fact becomes a manager, because information acquisition and utilization are the essence of all managerial activities.”

When a company loses a lot of talent how are shareholders to learn of this unless it was an M&A or top of the line news? What are the implications to the company? How are we to understand what it means?  (Google and Car AI )  I understand that Google has a lot of other assets but the implication is that they lose first mover advantage.   How does this show up in the shareholder report?   “Hey shareholders,  we umm lost the only person that knows how to make cars drive on their own, but don’t worry as the rest of the car team leaves, we will find someone better and be first in the industry.”    #lostknowledge

Knowledge strategies can’t be effective unless they are tied to strategic efforts and financial indicators.  Digital Workplace efforts to enable employee productivity and experience from anywhere at anytime are not efforts in cost, they are efforts in investment and strategy.

The only way to see the value of knowledge is to link it to performance.  Interestingly enough, this is looked at through M&A.

Dr. Thomas Blumer brings this up through this illustration (look at business outcomes)



The problem is that companies may only look at something like this ONE TIME and they don’t report on it.   If we consider the value of lost knowledge and the knowledge capital of an organization (prior to the outcome of losing the knowledge) we can see on-going relative value.   Not cost, not loss, but value today and in the future.  Think about it this way..

NASA loses the knowledge to get to the moon

NASA Manager confesses – “If we want to go to the moon again, we’ll be starting from scratch because all of that knowledge has disappeared.”

NASA Officials Warn of Aging Workforce, Washington Post, March 7, 2003

BP Loss of Knowledge Contributes to Massive Oil-Pipeline spill

BP learned the hard way why capturing key knowledge from subject matter experts before they leave is critical. When Senior Corrosion Engineer Richard C. Woollam left, BP lost valuable intellectual capital, namely his knowledge, experience, and expertise.

BP realized just how valuable Woollam’s knowledge was on February 25, 2006, when corrosion in the Prudhoe Bay pipeline caused a “small leak” in a quarter-inch hole in the pipe. BP discovered the leak five days later on March 2, after 250,000 gallons of crude oil spilled across 1.93 acres. The spill, the largest ever on Alaska’s North Slope, forced BP to shut down the pipeline and the Prudhoe Bay oilfield, the largest U.S. oilfield. Overnight, 8% of domestic oil production was shut down due to “extensive corrosion”.

Audits showed that by the time this massive oil-pipeline spill was discovered, the job of BP’s senior corrosion engineer had been left unfilled for more than a year.  This vacancy, and others, hindered BP’s ability to maintain a ‘strategic view’ of its corrosion prevention activities, the audit found. A BP spokesman said Friday that a replacement for the senior corrosion engineer has yet to be found…”

Analysis: Congress probes BP corrosion –Donna Borak, UPI Energy Correspondent Sep 6, 2006

BP audit: Key job vacant before spill – Brad Foss, AP Business Writer, Fri Sep 8, 2006

Congress Investigates Alaska BP Pipeline Leak –  Scott Horsley, NPR Morning Edition, Sep 7, 2006 (source

This is what happens if .. as an outcome.  We can’t predict these events but we certainly can prevent them if we understand the current value of knowledge in an organization and assign it a value.  This value should be reported to stakeholders as part of corporate and organizational health. 

Alright.. enough?  I will give you one more …  Consider the DoD and the “cost cutting” efforts.  In a report concerning the USS Fitzgerald we can say two things at a high level.

  1. Knowledge and training saved the ship.
  2. Reduction in crew, knowledge, training and the value of KM contributed to the cause of this disaster.

Why?  Because knowledge is a strategic asset but viewed as a cost.  When you cut cost you cut knowledge flow.  It is that simple.


Companies that use knowledge as a strategic asset and investment perform better.  There should be no squabbles about the value of knowledge management or having to explain it to executives.   Knowledge capital through digital channels feeding the base of organizational knowledge and competencies should be reported on the balance sheet to shareholders.  Corporate leaders should be held accountable for talent management and knowledge management.   Even if we consider AI, IA and workforce reduction through robots,  where will the automated systems learn from?   How will shareholders react to companies telling them “we automated everything we knew about and nothing works, but don’t worry, we are on target.”







Categories KM

Digital Transformation ~ Conflict

imageedit_5_2836955823Don’t Ignore Conflict

Conflict is all around us everywhere.  Most of us deal with conflict of some form on a daily basis.   It is uncomfortable to talk about conflict and it is challenging for us to find ways to deal with it.   Conflict is primary, it is what I consider a fundamental function of our humanity.   Conflict rips and tears at people internally, externally, in small groups and large alike.   We are faced with it at every turn and it is hovers over us like a ghost.

It is something we deal with all the time but many people still seek to avoid it at all costs.

What is Conflict?

Conflicts are generally defined as relational disputes between two or more parties.
“The clashing of opposed principles” Oxford Dictionary

“Conflict is inevitable in organisational life but it need not have destructive consequences for the organisation (or work group). Depending on how the conflict is managed, the negative effects may be minimized, and positive effects may result from the conflict. Effective conflict management is based, in part, on a solid understanding of the different ways conflict emerges and can be resolved”. Organisational Behavior Hellreigel, Slocum and Woodman, 2001 Ninth Edition, South Western Thomson Learning, Singapore

Conflict in DT

Dion Hinchcliff is very effective at communicating important topics of digital today.   I enjoy learning though his perspective.  There is a very subtle arrow in the image below that I believe should be red, flashing and exploding.   It should have alarm bells going off and it should send you texts and emails, automatically set up doctors appointments, buy you lunch and set up a vacation for you.   Do you see it?


Dion Hinchcliffe CIOCMO

If you guessed this arrow,  you got it right.  Why is this the most important aspect of the picture?

This arrow represents an issue that will keep a CIO, CMO, their staff, husbands, wives, friends, children, cousins, best friends, etc engaged in all sorts of conflict management activities.    In the digital age, we take work with us everywhere we go.  We are on and connected and this arrow represents an internal conflict that is happening across companies globally.

This reminds me of a discussion I had with a C-Level coach concerning the challenges of a Global CIO.

A little bit of the secret sauce,  or as Guy Fieri calls it “Donkey Sauce.”
The CIO held at least one meeting a month with all of his directs and their staff.   This meant coordination of staff,  calendaring,  and essentially getting over 100+ people into a room.    He took care to make sure people were virtually dialed in as well but it was well known in the ranks to “show up.”   There wasn’t a head count but if there was a missing person,  he would see it.
The job of a CIO is to have a seat at the table beyond (OPEX)Operational Expense but this takes guts and it means taking on a lot of risk.    It is the “falling backwards” test and having belief and faith that your team will be there to catch you.   More often than not, your team is more than just these folks that are following but the leaders that prove they understand “servant leadership” from the top.   I don’t know what the C-level team did in terms of support but it always seemed to me that the CIO was blocking and tackling from both sides and being squeezed in the middle.    What made a difference from my view was active conversations that took place from what was known as the IT Senior Leadership Team and Business Partner Leads (from a strategic operations and IT team) and constant communication activities.   It certainly didn’t mean that everyone was in agreement, in fact there were a lot of disagreements (conflict) but these were always wrapped in passion in practice.  In other words,  people could disagree, work it out and get things done.   One thing was for sure, it didn’t matter who we made promises to,  we had to honor them and get them done.  Their expectations exceeded and commitments delivered.   I can attest to where the business would be without these efforts.   At this company I have had the opportunity to see the best behaviors and the worst.     What is true today for IT is that change has happened and will continue to happen for enterprise IT.   CIO’s are brokers and agents for the companies vs delivering technologies.   What this means is that companies will be forced to place the cost around OPEX / CAPEX on the business areas and groups.   KPI’s will show and are showing a lack of organizational balance.    The new CIO if they even call them that any longer will be an expert in talent management,  vendor management and communications expert including but not limited to conflict management.
The current shift in how companies are getting IT resources is seemingly based on individual unit KPI’s which are not a good organizational indicator.   The benefit of a business unit self prescribing a solution is essentially a short term fix for long term problems.   The business units exacerbate the problem by extracting dollars or limiting cash flow to enterprise services they perceive they no longer need because they have substitute technologies.  Unfortunately, the reality is that medium to large companies literally bleed out cash due to a lack of knowledge in enterprise cross cutting.    One example is cyber security,  there is a recent cartoon of the cyber person getting a seat at the table.
Inline image 1
You may wonder why..  The answer is that single point cyber solutions may create more organizational and operational risk on their own.     If I am a CMO or a CDO,  I would have very little knowledge of these things because generally these folks have grown up in corporate communications with a very different focus.    It is easy today to use a credit card to buy a service but this purchase can within itself cause millions in damages (think compliance alone).
So.. the main issues today are
  • illusion of choice (people believe they have more options than they really do)
  • misunderstanding of the differences between IT services and IT talent (services a generally highly focused without many variable options while talent allows for more organizational and operational flexibility and resilience)
  • illusion of cost (business groups look at individual costs and don’t have insight to organizational factors or costs,  this can be found when someone buys something they want to integrate or use x509 or directory services for)
  • illusion of communication (business groups substitute active dialogue and communication with posts or broadcasts,  they believe that since they shared information in a public forum that some receiver is there to read it and that it is now known)
The value of IT is specific in that,  there is a very clear understanding of requirements, cost, risk, and underlying operational benefits with long term implications including talent management.   All of this requires two types of partnership
  1. Services Partnership – HR, Corporate Communications,  IT, Vendor Management etc (anyone who doesn’t generally create or generate direct revenue)
  2. Business Partnership – Any business groups / teams that are revenue generation
Companies are struggling with this across the board because of their lack of tacit organizational knowledge.  When they figure out they have a problem, they go to other services or consulting and this creates more on the cost side.   These costs then start to come out of the strategic targeted budget and it creates a new level of overhead.   Now these business units get taxed multiple times…


Pulling it Together

If the C-level seeks to avoid conflict or create internal war conditions,  it is costly to everyone in the company.  In previous blog posts, I talk about having courage and taking risks around communication.  This is exactly the place where having courage matters.   Avoiding conflict makes organizations and people sick.  It causes micro-aggression and internal silo wars.     There should be strategic and operational investments in conflict management as part of Digital Transformation.   Digital Workplace, Employee Experience and Productivity are very important but beyond the user experience there are human factors that are cognitive, physical and social.   Addressing these as part of change management activities and transformation will create healthier and more successful companies.




Categories KM

Having Courage Means

The Hardest Post

Normally, I am not at a loss for words but today I am.   Last week I didn’t write because I was visiting a friend out of town.   We discussed the differences between leadership and management.   We started talking about work and the difficulties in dealing with people along with the challenges of tight budgets and schedules.    He started to describe his situation and the specific challenges he faces with his manager.   He described his manager as a micro-manager,  the manager wants to know where my friend is at all times and what he is working on task by task.  I mentioned that in some cases that behavior is fairly common and that my friend (let us call him “B”) should work on communication and building trust.

As his story continued,  I was faced with one of the most shocking and egregious  acts of a manager I have ever heard.   It left me stunned for a few days.   I struggled with writing about it as well.

The following story includes a video,  I am warning you that if you are highly sensitive to anything that has to do with the holocaust,  do not read on and do not watch the video.  

B was called into the office by his manager.   His manager started by discussing performance.    He told B that he has to meet the deadlines and quotas set and that there are consequences for failure to meet the timelines.   He pulled up this video on YouTube

B explained that it was hard for him to even listen to or pay attention to what his manager said next.  He couldn’t rationalize why he was shown this video and he has been haunted ever since he watched it.    B also explained that he had a co-worker who is Jewish that experienced the same thing with this manager.

Both B and is co-worker are still working for this manager and are afraid to report him.


Having Courage

I personally can’t shake it either.  I watched this movie when it was made back in 1993 and I had a story that went along with the movie myself.   I was still active duty Navy and one of my best friends was from a small town in California.  A few of us got an apartment out in town and we lived together on and off the ship.   One day, I was washing dishes and Jason (my friend) came up behind me and drew something on my neck with a magic marker.   We always would mess with each other in good fun but this time, it had an impact.  I yelled at him and ran over to the mirror only to find it was a swastika.  I felt as if the world stopped for a moment.  I had experienced people drawing swastikas on my sheets and putting on equipment in the navy but most of the people that did this were from small southern towns with no experience of knowing or being around Jews.    I am not defending them; they grew up thinking that the swastika is a symbol of “brotherly love” as I was told back then in 1992.    This was different.  He was one of my best friends and he came from California.  I couldn’t process how he could even think this was remotely funny.   The moment of silence came over both of us and he looked at me realizing that what he did had a serious impact.   I couldn’t get the damn think off of me and I couldn’t even see what the hell I was scrubbing.  I was flustered.    I didn’t know exactly what Schindler’s list was about specifically but I knew it had to do with the holocaust.   That night,  I asked him if I could take him to the movies.     Jason and I went to the theater and sat through the movie.   If you haven’t seen it, there are scenes with a little girl and a bit of color.  Jason was over whelmed with tears and emotion.  I can remember how that felt like it was yesterday.  He looked at me and said “I am so sorry,  I understand now.”    Jason was a shipmate and a brother that would put his life at risk for me and me for him.   It was ignorance and a clear lack of understanding that drove us to that place.

I hadn’t watched this movie or seen parts of it since.

I offered advice to B in the form of standing up and taking action.  I offered him ideas on presenting this situation to his leadership and Human Resources.   He is still in fear for his job and I don’t know if he will do anything about it.    His manager has a laundry list of things that I consider “bad behavior” but this was the worst.

It is easy to say to someone that they “should” have courage in the face of adversity.  It is easy to say for someone to stand up for your beliefs.   Having courage means that he would have to take that risk.    I sure hope he does because this world has enough hate in it.

What would you have offered as advice to B?

Thanks for reading..  I am out of words on this one…





Categories KM

Make a Difference Now!

Just One Thingmake-a-difference-in-someones-life-mandy-hale-daily-quotes-sayings-pictures

Things are tough.   People don’t listen, and  you can’t influence everyone.  We need advocates in our lives to make a difference or at least we believe that we do.   It can be depressing and it is a challenge.   Everyone on this planet is faced with some adversity, it is a part of our humanity.   We are all faced with life, death and the stuff that happens in between.

I was talking to a good friend a few days ago, he was telling me that a 30 year old cousin of his had a heart attack and died immediately.    It was an unexpected event and this young adult had plans of getting out of the corporate life and doing something different with his life.    He wanted to leave a legacy.    My older friends talk a lot about legacy.  They talk about leaving something behind that is of value.   There are many people that work hard and attain wealth and status but still feel they have something they need to do.   They have a strong desire to do something good and leave a legacy.

We can talk about religion and G-d and all of the philosophical aspects of life and legacy but my sense is that we have to think more about now.   I don’t think that we should wait to make a difference.   We should make a difference right now.   We should focus on what we can do on a daily basis as we make choices.   We should make it part of our awareness and activity.    For me,  I answer emails and phone calls that other people consider a waste of time.  I take meetings with people that others would not.   I speak to people often and I listen as much as possible to give them time to tell their story. This isn’t a perfect scientific formula.   It is simply making the time and taking the time to be aware.   It is taking the extra effort to help someone when you can choose to do something else.   It is making a phone call to make an introduction.   It is meeting with a young person looking towards a career.   It is volunteering for something.   It also can be paying attention to someone.

Many times,  people only pay attention to others they believe have some value.   Everyone has value.  Just because I am not aware of this at the time doesn’t mean I should ignore them.

I am not saying this to lecture you or even tell you something that you already know.   The reason I am saying this is because today is a gift, it isn’t a promise to you or anyone else.   We live in a complicated world of distraction.    We are distracted and we wake up and days, weeks and months pass.   We are distracted and focused on success.   Success being .. whatever you define it.   I am thinking to remind you that we are a few generations from being forgotten.   Think about your great great grandparents for a moment, you may not even know their names.    Your name may be forgotten as well.  The actions we take and the legacy we leave may not be tied to our names.   It very well may be something we inspire someone else to do.   It may be a lesson that you teach.  It may be an act of caring and kindness that changes or saves a life.   It may be a simple thing like holding a door for a person and having a child witness it.    It can be many things but you have to make a choice in the moment to act and to care.   You have to make a choice to make a difference and you have to be aware.

Think about this and how you can do one thing to make a difference.  Just try it out and see what happens.   I would be happy to listen or read your stories..







Categories KM

Leading Knowledge Management


The Basics

From a leadership perspective,  a KM lead needs to have the ability to execute.   Knowledge Management efforts are fundamentally about change.    Practically speaking, it is impossible to change anything without a clear vision and mission.  Knowledge Management should be part of the organizational DNA, not something we deliver but something we are.

In order to lead KM,  we need to understand the needs of the people and the needs of the business.   Today, we talk about Knowledge Management in terms of mobility or concepts related to “Digital.”    Fundamentally,  KM in motion is about the ability of an organization including its workforce to execute.   In order to accomplish large organizational goals and smaller individual goals,  people need data, information, knowledge and the ability to share it and collaborate in a way that is comfortable to them individually.

Every organization is different and in my experience the very basic building blocks are

  • Trust
  • Integrity
  • Respect

People leading KM or seeking to empower employees must have a seat at the table with senior leadership.   There have been many times that I had to “Seniorsplain” information to teams.   The differences between word of mouth and formal communications can have a dramatic impact on the workforce.

A few years ago, my team and I were just getting started in implementing a KM practice.  My team was learning a lot about KM itself and I was learning about the business.  I went out and interviewed leadership and my team started to meet with groups and talk about what KM more broadly.   We were met with resistance on almost all of the first meetings.   It took multiple meetings and clear messages from leadership for people to start to believe.   The Global CIO had discussions with his directs and they had discussions with their teams.    I met with all of them and we discussed ways to enhance, improve and optimize their individual areas without disruption.   The key factor was to add value without disruption.  Still many people didn’t believe me on the first handshake and I needed to continue to work with them to show proof.   It was a combination of proving value, building trusted relationships, showing up and being consistent that started to turn things in our favor.   Our CIO was willing to learn and he took some risks himself by advancing KM concepts and sharing these with his teams.

We spent a lot of time communicating, testing, learning, assessing and re-applying concepts.   Where we met resistance we either worked it out or moved on to leaders and teams that were more open minded.   Our practices were consistent,  we spent a lot of time learning and sharing and we added value by raising awareness across the organization and bringing teams together.

Organizational intelligence and ability is the essential lifeblood of any company.  It is often overlooked in practice but given a lot of lip service.  When an organization is charged and committed to KM, employees across the organization are aware of it.  It is much more difficult in large organizations and there is a misinterpretation or natural substitution of digital technologies as opposed to engagement.   This is further complicated by advances and changes in technologies and business itself.

Leading Knowledge Management takes patience, a strong desire to learn, a love of people, understanding, courage to speak to leadership, and courage to take risk.   If leaders don’t trust you, the teams won’t trust you.   If the teams don’t trust,  leaders will lose trust in you.

Organizational and leadership commitment, clear communications followed by associated consistent actions, and the ability to do what you need to do (including taking some risk), is how you lead Knowledge Management.

Note: Vinegar Tasters 

The image represents three different perspectives through an activity of tasting vinegar.  See more   Knowledge Management does not prescribe to a specific perspective but it seeks to illuminate and raise awareness holistically.


Categories KM