Keep It Simple for Practical KM

Pick 3

Stan Garfield has many great posts on Knowledge Management, this is one of my favorites (LinkedIn Pulse).   He talks about creating a list of top 3 objectives to address KM challenges at your organization.  I have used this approach successfully as a consultant and also as a KM organizational lead.

Which 3?

The first thing you need to do is study the culture of your organization.   You have to learn about your culture and understand your industry and the workforce demographics.   This is no small exercise and should take at least 1-3 months depending on the size of your organization.

The best way to find this information is to read about the history of your organization and set up a series of interviews.   You should meet with as many people in the organization as possible ranging from CEO to the custodian.  The best stories I have ever heard were after hours from the custodial staff.

Most of the time I take notes but when I am talking to a member of the C-suite,  I bring information about the value of KM and some common pain points.

Common themes will start to emerge..     Here are three examples.

  1. Older workforce has a lot of subject matter expertise with no time or inclination to share knowledge.
  2. Operational costs for knowledge tools have increased 3x,  we aren’t sure of cost / benefit.
  3. We spend a lot of time looking for information.

Build Stories

Once you have your 3 areas of focus build narratives around these that you can talk about.   This is the very start of your practice.  As written it seems simple but I promise it is a lot of hard work and effort.   You will benefit in many ways as you meet people and learn about your company.   Even if you have been with your company for many years, there is always something new to learn.

Let me know if you have questions!







Don’t Forget the Basics Please

The attack on Paris last night prompted me to think about reminding my children, family and friends to stay alert and be prepared for emergency situations.   I was reminded last night by Jaime Wetzel that before you need water, food, shelter and first aid equipment, you need knowledge to use these to survive.   Here are a few tips taken from Lifehacker!


“Know Your Priorities

The founder of onPoint Tactical Kevin Reeve suggests:

  1. Immediate security: If the building is on fire, get out. If someone is shooting at you, move to cover. Whatever the immediate danger, get away from it.
  2. First aid: Attend to any medical problems that may have happened in the original event. Check yourself for injuries and treat them.
  3. Self protection: If you are at risk from predators, two-legged or four-legged, you must arm yourself. This might be a sharpened stick, a knife, machete, shotgun, or banjo. Just have something to attack the zombies with.
  4. Physical needs (in order): Shelter, fire, water, food, and hygiene.

He also suggests staying positive. Mental endurance can help you stay safe in any number of situations. A study in Psychological Science also suggests that your own perception of illness and the potential for treatment has an effect on the outcome. In short, the idea of mind over matter can help you survive.”

I suggest reading the rest of the post from Lifehacker author Thorin Klosowski in these times of increasing uncertainty, the one thing you know could save your life or someone else.

As a Veteran ..

This week is Veterans Day and I am reminded that I am thankful to those who have served including the good men and women that continue to serve today.   Thank you..

In Support of our Warfighter Creed 

I support our Warfighter. I think about my country and my family and the extension of those around me, I consider operators regardless of uniform and title.  

I will work to have faith in those around me and build trust with those whom I don’t know well in order to protect and preserve our existence as we know it.

I will lead from where I am and seek to be better every day knowing that if I excel those around me excel. 

I will look to practice being selfless and empathetic of others. 

I will be strong and take a stand when I have to. 

I will share information to benefit everyone that shares my cause.

I will reuse and recycle process, methods and tools anywhere and anytime I can.  

I have a code and recognize that others do as well, I will respect them as I expect them to respect me. 

I will collaborate, cooperate and communicate every opportunity I have as I understand together we are stronger. 

I will work to sharpen my body and my mind to be strong and ready. 

I will be concerning with my actions and take responsibility for me. 

I will be honest.

I will be loyal. 

I will deliver results and prove them when possible through measured success. 

I will not always know the mass effects of my work but I will recognize that results are independent of intent and results will vary while intent is consistent.  

I am accountable for my actions and I hold myself responsible and expect others to do the same. 

I know and understand right from wrong and if I am challenged to understanding the difference or I feel as if I am uncertain, I will ask a trusted agent to help provide clarity. 


Why Video Games make you smarter.

One day I was playing my favorite video game The Legend of Zelda Skyward Sword and I could not complete a puzzle because it was difficult. I could not believe it. Video games were made for fun, not making you use your head. Then I was thinking could video games make you smarter? Well CBS says yes. In its research CBS thinks that action video games make it so we “sharpen our predicting skills”. I think it is true. If you don’t just disagree in the comments.         <— copy and paste this link in google to see the web page



For more go to B. simple

Back to the Future?

Back to the Future? by Bryce Cohen

Time Travel real? With the right motion in the right place it could be possible. But it could be physically impossible considering that there is no theories proven. Therefore I say that time travel is impossible. Also if you are using common sense if time travel was possible wouldn’t have some scientist from the future would have come to our generation to studied what we lived like to teach the youth of the future. So is there a “Back to the Future” Think about it.

More blogs from Bryce at B. simple.

Working Out Loud: Have Faith and Courage (Part 5 of 5)


Show up whenever possible. (Part 1)
Ask to speak with senior leaders; chances are they will see you. (Part 2)
Advocate for yourself and others.(Part 3)
Speak to the heart and mind. (Part 4)
Have faith and courage. (You are here… Part 5)

“It is better to believe than to disbelieve, in so doing you bring everything to the realm of possibility.”
Albert Einstein


How does having faith and courage have anything to do with working out loud?

Faith is belief and trust without evidence, but with confidence. I have to tell you this is one of the hardest things to write about as I am conflicted in some ways about sharing my thoughts on this subject.  I recognize that the shared view or common world view is complicated by my own personal view. I think the single most difficult challenge in my life is dealing with my own multiplicity. I know that I am my own worst enemy at times.  Faith itself is complicated, but the activity of “having faith” is in some ways simple.   When I think of faith,  I feel as if I don’t have to own the troubles and burden associated with all of the possibilities.  I can give those burdens to something or someone else.   When I work out loud, I have faith that others are listening.  What is also interesting is working out loud forces me to see myself from more than one perspective and causes me to reflect about myself.   It is practically impossible to know yourself; it takes hard work, discovery, and courage.   These concepts are further complicated by the nature of our humanity.

The Brain and Faith

If you think about how our brain works, we are all great organic computers. Our central processing unit takes input from multiple sensors and pulls it all together in multiple subsystems of computation to create a representation of the world.

In other words, we truly do see the world only in the way our bodies represent it. David Eaglemen has said, “The brain constructs our multi-sensory reality from within the darkness of the skull.”

This can quickly become important to consider when thinking about how we interact with others. Our frame and our perspective are of our own creation. Often times we are certain that we know something, but we only know our understanding of this “something.” It seems to me that we are both enlightened by knowledge and victims of it. If we are meant to believe what we see and hear, we can become governed or bound by it. This understanding fundamentally leads me to think about “faith.” Everything in this world is evident only by the past and our expectation of the future. I expect to live to see another day, but I don’t know that I will. I just believe it.

The point of all of this is that I simply don’t really know the future. I only have faith that my future will be somewhat consistent with my past. This is complicated by the reality of unpredicted events. Just because I don’t know something or believe something doesn’t make my perception true, but it also doesn’t make it false. That is why I have faith in the possibilities.

The fact is that you or I don’t know what the future holds, but without faith there is no hope for the future. As a leader, I have always started with the understanding that tomorrow is a gift and not a promise. I know that tomorrow is a gift, but I have faith in tomorrow and I choose to be a part of the shaping of tomorrow. Working out loud and engaging others informs me of their perspectives. It also informs others of my perspective. It gives them the historical record for which to reflect but it also gives us all hope for the future. The past is an indicator not a predictor but with faith our future could be what we help make it to be.

Courage: And WOL

Arden known as “Spook” was sick for a long time.   I remember when I first met him, he had retired from the Marine Corps as a Master Sergeant and he was working as a supervisor for a small internet company.  He was an intel specialist and he was an expert in photography.   He was an outspoken atheist and he believed in living for the moment.   I was scraping by at the time and had a hard time making ends meet.  The past few years were a difficult time in my life and for the most part I was alone.   It wasn’t long before he reluctantly decided to take me under his wing.   He was an orphan and believed himself that family is created not something you are necessarily born into.   His first family as I understand was the Marines and everything was second to that.  When he retired, he took to his second love which was nature and wildlife.  Spook spent a lot of time talking about honor and courage.   He said that it takes courage to love and that to find courage, you have to believe in something.   He told me that living takes courage and that to live you have to be true to who you are as you start to figure that out.  In the beginning of our relationship, I was working for him; he was my boss and he had clear expectations.   He would challenge me to explain everything I was doing and speak or work in a way that he could understand.   He was a technical supervisor, but not really a technical person.  He also didn’t have a high tolerance for BS.    There was no such thing in terms of “working out loud” there was just this guy larger than life, packing heat (he carried a 45) who demanded clarity of thought.  He wanted honesty even in the face of fear and backlash.    I didn’t stay with the internet company past a few years, but Spook was in my life for the remainder of his life.   The rest of this post is in great part to what he taught me about courage.    When you see that someone is doing something wrong, speak up.   We have responsibility to this world today and tomorrow, but today first.   If you see something, say something as silence is a crime.   You don’t have to explain everything you do all the time but you should do your best to speak to others in a way they can understand and you should take that as a personal responsibility.   Everyday, you should have courage to do the right thing.   If it feels wrong, its wrong.  Don’t just say it, live it, if not I will shoot you.  He would actually say that.   More than anything he said that to be tough and to be strong is to love and to stand for love and it’s not easy.  He said, “Nothing is easy Howie. Face it , it is hard, but I believe in you and I know you can do whatever you set your mind to.”   I don’t know if you want to call it “living out loud” but that is what he did.  At work and at home, he just did things and then he would tell everyone and share it.  He wasn’t a saint and he would haunt me if I said he was.  He was a man of conviction and courage.

People Die

By the time I got to the hospital he was pretty weak.  My wife and I were standing near him by the bed, he looked over at her and said, “I don’t have long to live, take care of him.”  I asked him if he was afraid of dying, he felt he was so close to death and he was in so much pain.  He said, “I am going to die, so are you, what are you going to do with the rest of your life Howie?”  You know, I don’t want to disappoint him.  We get so wrapped up in all the crazy nonsense in our lives and we forget the basic things.  He was a man who lived a relatively simple life, he was tough and he was hardened by war and by death.  I don’t know what you would call his faith in people, as he did have faith in some.   It seems more that he decided that everyday was the only day and that he was going to live like that even with his pain.   He didn’t look for the good in all things, but he pushed people to strive towards good.   I struggled with this post more than any other because when I think of courage, I am automatically taken to Spook and to my father-in-law, OB, who also was a Marine and was very similar in a lot of ways.    I don’t know if courage is taught or the Marine Corps just pulls it out of those who have the potential, but it seems to me that every day we have a choice to be better and that even when we are at work, we are still people.  We should still love and have the courage to do good things.   We shouldn’t think of our lives as split or separate from work or home, but rather recognize that we are always people and that we have a responsibility to each other.  Further, that we have courage to speak out and be a voice but also may be the hardest, have the courage to listen and face what others tell us.   If we are always successful, we are doing something wrong.  I attribute a great part of my drive to honoring both Spook and OB because I know I will die as well and I want to have the courage to face life and death with the strength to be heard and be strong, but also with the strength to listen and serve.

Working Out Loud: Summary

I hope that in some way, this Working Out Loud series was helpful to you.  It isn’t easy to sit down on a Sunday morning with my kids throwing Cheerios and swinging from the rafters to write, but I think it is important to do.   I have had the benefit of learning from many people along the way, and I feel responsible to share these lessons.   If you have any questions of comments, please post them or send me a note.