Content Clutter 3 Steps to Start #Digital Cleanup

Japanese organizing consultant Marie Kondo wrote a book about methods to deal with clutter and organize clutter in physical space.  I considered her practices in the context of enterprise content management and virtual space.

= A Great Deal of Nothing (1)The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing

Lesson #1: Tackle Categories, Not Rooms <–Kondo / Create an Enterprise Approach, Not Project Based

Many companies start with a project or a pilot when it comes to working on content management.  The problem is that it creates inconsistent behavior between teams and groups.  It also creates inconsistent practices on enterprise systems.

Consider working with leadership and the corporate communication team to build communication campaigns around content cleanup.  Depending on how your company manages time, consider building in a small amount of time for learning content management practices and creating a pipeline for cleanup and organization.

Lesson #2: Respect Your Belongings <—Kondo /Respect Your Content (Explicit Knowledge)

When you search for something on your network do you find more than one version of it in more than one place?   Is the content tied to an authoritative data source?  Is the content valid?  Does it hold value to keep?  Is it a risk to keep?  Is it accessible by everyone? Should it be?  Content is everywhere while it should be some place appropriately accessible, find-able and understandable.   Identify high risk content immediately and take action to at least mark it for review.

Lesson #3: Nostalgia Is Not Your Friend <—Kondo / Records Management and Retention Matters

Before I started learning about “personal knowledge management” I would always enjoy keeping everything “handy” all the time just in case I needed it.   A few megs turned into gigs and a few gigs turned into terabytes.   Before long I was running applications to find duplicates across my own personal data stores.   There are many reasons to keep content handy and many more reasons to have an archival strategy.

In the enterprise we need to be concerned with the risks of improperly managing our records and content.    We also wind up losing a lot of important content because we create content that we feel emotionally tied to, and we seek keep it.   I know a person that said he had the last 13+ years on his laptop.   How is that good for the enterprise?  What happens when he turns his laptop in when he retires?   Managing content extends all across the enterprise including mobile devices.  Ever wonder exactly how much content is in your enterprise?

Just in case you want a KonMari Cheat Sheet.. 

 KonMari Cheat Sheet by MakeSpace, a full-service storage company that picks up, stores, and delivers your stuff - for less than self-storage prices.

via MakeSpace


Content management strategies often involve a lot of discussion around tools.  Any discussions about a content strategy should start with practice, process and methods.  These should be driven by a clear business approach to reduce operational risk, reduce cost for the business and optimize opportunity to find information and knowledge needed for all aspects of work including generating income!

Digital World | Forgetful Consumer

This is a time machine post.

Digital engagement does not mean or equal good use of historical records.   In fact, I wrote a post in 2012 to prove the consumer market has a short term memory.   Here is the original post and a simple concept to go along with it.  I said

Consider buying stock in Carnival Corporation CCL if I am right people will forget that one of their cruise liners just crashed and they have already forgotten about how many people have gotten sick on cruises!   When you make your millions just send me a note..

The stock that day was $32.91,  today it is 49.06.   Would have made a few bucks if you invested.  What is more interesting is which shows a history of disasters with CCL that have since been recovered.

The key point here is that more often than not, digital behavior and sentiment is more about “right now” as opposed to thinking of the past or future.   In terms of transactions, from an investor standpoint there are concerns and speculation about the future but consumers worry about current conditions.


The concept about the “forgetful” consumer will continue to emerge as it is a precondition for understanding how to work with customers.  Consumers are very forgiving but more than forgiving, they are forgetful.   With all of the technologies today bombarding them, they would forgive an organization for bad behavior if it means something”easy” today.  They forget because they are so bombarded.

Beyond the consumers, investors are pretty capable of figuring out what will stick in the mind of the consumer.   I may be pointing out the obvious but behavior is where we have to start in consideration of knowledge practices and technologies pertaining to “Digital.”






The People in the Middle #KM leadership

Congratulations! You just purchased a new social tool for your organization.

software-analysisIt only cost your company a few bucks to get licenses and there are very little infrastructure costs associated.  In only a few short months, your teams will break down silos faster than you could ever have imagined.

  1. Software
  2. Infrastructure
  3. Maintenance including Service Level Agreement
  4. Corporate Communications and Marketing

Ready… Set… Go…!    Click here pacman for result 

A social platform without community management is like a party without a host.   No one has any idea what the heck is going on and / or what to do.  They show up, see that everyone is confused and leave.

Many organizational leaders simply don’t know what they are buying and what it takes to make this successful.   When they are told what it will really take, they don’t want to spend the money they come to consider as “additional.”   The only reason why they consider it as an extra cost is due to poor understanding of the social space and poor planning for implementation, support, and on-going day to day operations.

They believe  “Not only will you get better collaboration, we will throw in cost savings, 100% ROI and you ..yes you … will no longer need email”!  As soon as a “TOOL” is purchased for the company it will be … “SOCIAL.”

Wait..what?…Where is the focus on the people???

-making sense-people

Story from the Trenches 

This story / discussion comes from a colleague Wendy Woodson @iaqtworld 

I was recently involved in a conversation related to this. I was sharing an image created to help the conversation. Nothing complicated.

One of the first comments I received was “you need to remove the people from the center of the image, it isn’t important and it makes it busy.” This is not the first time I have heard/seen this. All too often the people are left out of the equation.

I responded with that is the problem today. People are considered insignificant and left out until it’s too late. Leaders sit around wondering what happened, why aren’t they using/doing what we want?

I went on to explain it is important that the people are not only included but are the center or focus of it all. People are essential to it all. Remove them and there is nothing. No one to use the tools or to follow the process. Without them, who will manage the content who will use the systems? People are the nuclei and everything, we as knowledge managers do, is to provide benefit to them and the community they create. – WW

-making sense-

People in the Middle

This is very simple. Social media tools that are used for personal purposes are very different than tools used for a social intranet or social business.  Beyond this social internal and social external for business use is also very different.   The common thread is context and purpose.   If people are in the middle and they are the center based the platforms are used more.  Platform use does not by itself equal value.   This is very important to understand.   A page hit doesn’t mean anything.   Every aspect of the human interaction has a specific context and it will change over time.  That is why the community management aspect is so important.



Community management is a key critical function for a healthy social network.  Being connected can mean the difference between a new sale and a missed opportunity.  It can be a channel for innovation, information, observation, awareness and it can also be detrimental.    Placing social systems out in the wild without expertise is akin to running with scissors.


Whether you are building a social channel for your sales force,  a place for your whole company to meet at the water cooler, or simply enabling your work force to have additional channels for communication and collaboration, people need to be the central focus.   One thing is for certain as it stands today,  tools without people will not build, produce, sell, create, innovate, enable or protect your company.   The case for a social platform must include active community management, facilitation, leadership and communication.





Boundary People #KM Engagement

Our Town

A few weeks ago,  I had a friend visit my office.  As we were walking the halls of the building and passing the various business areas, I waved and said “hello” to the people I know.   My friend said “oh, you must be the Mayor.”   If anyone were truly the Mayor it would most likely be my Architect.

I wonder if it is still true in most organizations today that we can identify those people that we call “Mayor” or if this is something that is changing dramatically due to the global workforce or virtual teams.

For today, at least where I work, it is like a small town with the various town folk representing their areas of business.   I think of this as work-town.

The Boundary People

Today, I considered looking at my network in the context of multiple towns.   I considered all those folks that I know about but generally don’t interact with and the opportunities that they represent.

Socilab   LinkedIn Social Network Visualization  Analysis  and Education

I used the Socilab LinkedIn network analysis tool located here 

Here is another view ..

12me LinkedIn Social Network Visualization  Analysis  and Education

It looks like I may have to get out more..

The  tool only allows for 500 people, so this is a sample size but I think it is a good representation of my connections.

It would be interesting to have this in the office for all of our folks to see individually.  I am well aware that tools exist for this but we would have to consider the practical implications for people.


Basically,  I have my work-town relationships, my hometown relationships, my current town relationships and some that live between the hometown and the work-town.

Looking at the “social network” as informed by a technical system would not be enough to apply the personal context of what the relationships mean to me in context.    This aside,  there is an opportunity to measure operational effectiveness or “connectedness” in some context through looking at the boundaries.

Why do they (boundary people) exist at the edge of my network?

What town are they in?

Where are they relative to me and in what context do we have a relationship?

Relationships are “for purpose” and often times, this is represented as a negative but I see it as a positive.  For example,  I enjoy getting a cup of coffee in the cafeteria in the morning.  I see Toni every morning and share a brief exchange with her.  I enjoy that relationship and the coffee.   If the coffee were not there, I honestly don’t know how often I would simply find myself wandering down there.  That being said, I often walk away from the cafeteria with a lot more than just coffee.

Mindful Boundary Person Engagement

In life you’ll realize there is a purpose for everyone you meet.  Some will test you, some will use you, and some will teach you.  But most importantly, some will bring out the best in you. – unknown

Social tools seek to introduce technical capabilities to address these boundaries.   LinkedIn now shows you that someone is having a birthday or an event change that you can see.  This presents the opportunity to reach out to that person living at the edge of the network or town.   This kind of capability generally doesn’t exist in the workplace and even if tools like Jive are in place for this kind of notification, work-town engagement is much different and results would be heavily impacted by work-town culture.

The intent here is to work on our level of awareness without the benefit of these social tools in our network.

I must admit that I do use tools though..   I use “The Brain” Screen Shot 2016-04-17 at 10.52.13 AM

The process I use .. is

Person –> Context—>Date—> Organization—>Group—>Applications—>Events

It isn’t a perfect system but it allows me to determine who I know and in what context I know them beyond a relationship in a CRM tool.    I can see many to many relationships.. but I digress.

The point is to understand the boundaries and find ways to turn them into a relationship of deeper meaning or better context.   The benefits are consistent with good community management.   In my case, it is data about a person converting to dialogue with a person.. and gaining the opportunities to share and grow with new relationships.

Who lives in your town?

Maybe you could get out and meet up with some of your boundary people?


More information on networks and connectedness can be found here






Light or Dark #Awareness


Do you ever drift into that place where you dream and drive?

You go into auto pilot and you wake up where you planned on driving.

We go into auto pilot all the time.  We find ourselves in our work or home just automatically engaged.

Imagine a road, pitch black that you have driven 10,000 times.  You know it like the back of your hand and you could “drive it in your sleep.”   It would be safe to say that you could drive it if there were no other factors or conditions that you should be concerned with.   There is clarity of thought and knowledge of the environment from your past experience but there isn’t resilience or awareness of your current conditions.   In other words, if you drove the road but there was a new pothole that you didn’t know of it could be a problem.   If you drove and didn’t know about the deer running in the center this could also be cause for concern.    This lack of awareness is darkness in the system.    Many people often believe they know things but more often than not they “knew” not “know” and what they had come to learn was true yesterday but different today.

Raising awareness is like shining a light.   The Heath brothers wrote in their book “Decisive” about the differences between looking at something in the dark with a spotlight as opposed to turning on all the lights in the room and seeing the whole thing.

The view of the person with the spotlight may be clear and focused but can remain substantially uninformed.  I see this is happening in business all the time.   I see this happening in our lives as well.    We walk around in our auto pilot mode with our spot lights.   Who knows if it is by luck that we don’t crash and burn or by a higher power that we survive and sustain but it seems wise to turn up the light.

It reminds me..    Even as we are aware or we think we are aware, we are still fooled by our own individual confidence in what we see or believe.

Harry Hershfield, Laugh Louder Live Longer (New York: Gramercy Publishing Company, 1959), p. 166.

One of the better Communist stories. Every night, after factory hours, one of the workers would come out with a wheelbarrow filled with rubbish. The guard would examine it, find nothing and then let him pass. However, the guard was suspicious; that the fellow was stealing something, but he saw no proof. After months of the same procedure, he again examined the rubbish in the wheelbarrow and found nothing of value. The guard then said to him: “I know you’re stealing something every night, but I can’t discover what it is. Now, I’m being transferred from here to another city tonight, so I don’t care anymore; but for my own sake, tell me, what are you stealing?” “Wheelbarrows,” came the confession.

The lesson here is that we need to take a more open minded approach to being aware.  Working with others and building trust can help us with cognitive diversity.  Cognitive diversity can help us see things from other perspectives.  We can look at problems together and find answers or become aware.   Additionally, when we are blind in the light, others can help us see the not so obvious.

When we are alone and in our norm, we can easily find ourselves on auto..


Defense Technical Information Center

via Defense Technical Information Center

Start with a Narrative #EasyKM

Shortest Story Ever Told 

Effective Knowledge Management should aim to lower costs and shorten time to execute and solve business challenges.  A narrative approach can  bring relevant and organized highly contextual information to business stakeholders very quickly.  A narrative should be easy to find, well tagged and easy to understand. It should tell a short story quickly that can lead to a project charter or create an opportunity for project or work deflection and cost avoidance.  It can also lead to a pipeline for Enterprise and Solution Architectures which will result in a great deal of cost savings.

Knowledge Management should be tied to business.   Business is tied to people, people are tied to stories..


The KM team helps determine who, what, when, where, and identifies person/group for solutions.

All of the narratives:

  • have a potential saving outcome criteria, defined by the user story, as an initial estimate.
  • are self contained and have associated estimated or actual cost savings and are validated through a process with the KM team.
  • use a content management or social system to document, share and map information to relevant people and content.

Identify / Collect:

Capture, document and submit stories that convey an activity or activities that create an opportunity for cost savings and/or the business process efficiency or effectiveness.  These stories can also be used to show value in reuse of tools through portfolio management or portfolio rationalization.

Subject (context) of Who and What 


  1. Problem Statement (Where)
  2. User Suggestion (Person or group initiating a request)
  3. Team Suggestion (KM)

As we are thinking about the narrative, we want to frame it similar to the process of asking 5-why.  Want to learn more about 5-why?

5-why Process Flowchart

Leads to /or = HOW


  • Problem Validation – KM team validates narrative
  • Criteria for solution – KM team coordinates and proactively define option sets.
  • Cost Savings Potential –KM team seeks estimated cost benefits
  • Ranking –KM manager ranks narrative to optimize cost and savings benefit potential.

Leads to /or = Value 

Document Outcome / Value Statement:

  • Effort to Risk Reduction by taking these actions.
  • Effort to Cost Savings / Supports “Flat to Down” efficiency models by taking these actions.
  • Opportunity for revenue by way of core, adjacent, trans-formative innovations.

If any mechanism exists to map or tie the story to a revenue generation opportunity, the narrative should seek to show these connections.


If you want to learn more about how narratives work.. just ask!