Lesson Learned in Knowledge Management (EBOLA)

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Ignorance = Death

Last year, I wrote about a lack of KM in the medical industry.https://cohenovate.com/2013/12/30/knowledge-management-and-healthcare/   It was a sad commentary then and it is even more frightening now.  Some of you may be aware that errors in healthcare account for a significant number of deaths in America.

In 2010, the Office of Inspector General for Health and Human Services said that bad hospital care contributed to the deaths of 180,000 patients in Medicare alone in a given year.

Now comes a study in the current issue of the Journal of Patient Safety that says the numbers may be much higher — between210,000 and 440,000 patients each year who go to the hospital for care suffer some type of preventable harm that contributes to their death, the study says.

That would make medical errors the third-leading cause of death in America, behind heart disease, which is the first, and cancer, which is second. (http://www.propublica.org/article/how-many-die-from-medical-mistakes-in-us-hospitals)

ebola-graphic

Lack of Awareness

Texas nurses said that there were no protocols. (http://www.cnn.com/2014/10/15/health/texas-ebola-nurses-union-claims/index.html?hpt=hp_t1)  Maybe they had the guidelines on their Sharepoint instance?  Maybe they had their process on Jive? Maybe they had their instructions on Yammer or Podio or…  

What they don’t have is effective Knowledge Management.  This is the truth.

Let me state this for the record, as I have mentioned this in past postings.  Knowledge Management is about getting, presenting, raising awareness, sharing, identifying, bringing to light.. the RIGHT INFORMATION AT THE RIGHT TIME.

If you think for a moment that I am using this tragic situation to get the message out on Knowledge Management, I will tell you in fact that I am.   We can go through the history of knowledge management failures and find the critical element that is missing and that is the human element.  These failures result in death.

Doctors and nurses need access to real time information that INFORMS them of what they need to do and what precautions they have to take.   In fact, think about this folks.. WE CARE MORE ABOUT CYBER SECURITY THAN PEOPLE.

Everything when it comes to medicine seems to be approached from an academic perspective.  If you look at the agencies that do care about healthcare they are not considered or looked at in the same way as cyber communities.   For example, are hospitals going to the WHO or USAID for daily updates and coordination?   I highly doubt it and I think the results of the situation from a global perspective is telling.  The CDC doesn’t want us to worry because they don’t want a panicdemic.  (yep, I made that up).  We are facing an enemy that doesn’t care about boundaries or what side you are on.  We are facing an enemy that doesn’t look at right or wrong.  It just has intent of killing the system.  That is it.  We can’t afford to be ignorant.  We can’t afford to make mistakes that are easily correctable.

What is needed?

  • A quick turn incidence response and disaster response operational check up for every medical organization in the US.
  • A safety and contagion knowledge plan that addresses known and new issues and concerns through every turnover, handoff, meeting or organization interaction.
  • A strategic outreach and communication plan for healthcare providers, practitioners and patients.
  • A KM plan that seeks to elevate and prioritize content for communication in the organization.
  • An “as you learn.. share” plan.  (If you know information that will save a life, share it)
  • Researchers that have worked on attacking ebola need to share their failures and their success.  (YES FAIL) We need to pick up where others left off and share information, not hold information so that we can be the trophy winner.
  • We need leaders in the KM space to step up and share best practices, lessons learned and how to’s for knowledge transfer and elicitation.

Ebola-Delhi_2048436f

Ebola virus can be used for terrorism.. Think about that for a moment. 

Links to Ebola sites

European Links

Links to Ebola sites

Commission

DG SANCO:    http://ec.europa.eu/health/ebola/index_en.htm

DG ECHO:       http://ec.europa.eu/echo/en/news/ebola-outbreak-west-africa-additional-funding-brings-eu-aid-%E2%82%AC39-million

European External Action Services (EEAS)

 http://eeas.europa.eu/delegations/un_geneva/press_corner/all_news/news/2014/20140411_ebola_en.htm

WHO

HQ:                  https://extranet.who.int/ebola/

EURO:             http://www.euro.who.int/en/health-topics/emergencies/pages/ebola-outbreak-in-west-africa

ECDC

 http://ecdc.europa.eu/en/healthtopics/ebola_marburg_fevers/pages/index.a http://www.euro.who.int/en/health-topics/emergencies/pages/ebola-outbreak-in-west-africa

Member States

Austria

Ministry of Health

 http://www.bmg.gv.at/home/Startseite/aktuelle_Meldungen/Ebola_Informationen_zur_aktuellen_Lage

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

 http://www.bmeia.gv.at/reise-aufenthalt/reiseinformation/land/liberia/

Czech Republic

Ministry of Health  http://www.mzcr.cz/dokumenty/upozorneni-pro-zahranicni-studenty-po-prijezdu-z-oblasti-vyskytu-horecky-zpusobe_9579_1.html  http://www.mzcr.cz/Verejne/dokumenty/ebola-v-africe-aktualizace-ministerstva-zdravotnictvi-ke-dni-19zari-2014_9602_5.html

Ministry of Industry and Trade  http://www.mpo.cz/dokument153462.html

Ministry of Foreign Affairs  http://www.mzv.cz/jnp/cz/cestujeme/ebola/obecne_informace.html

 http://www.mzv.cz/jnp/cz/udalosti_a_media/x2014_09_18_ceska_republika_pomaha_zemim.html

Finland

Ministry of Social Affairs and Health

 http://www.stm.fi/en/ebola-virus

France

All information and guidance for health professionals  http://www.sante.gouv.fr/maladie-a-virus-ebola-informations-a-destination-des-professionnels-de-sante.html

National Surveillance Case Definitions for Ebola  http://www.sante.gouv.fr/maladie-a-virus-ebola-informations-a-destination-des-professionnels-de-sante.html

http://www.invs.sante.fr/Dossiers-thematiques/Maladies-infectieuses/Fievre-hemorragique-virale-FHV-a-virus-Ebola/Point-epidemiologique-Ebola-Afrique

Public Health Management of Cases and Contacts of Human Illness Associated with Ebola Virus Disease  http://www.hcsp.fr/explore.cgi/avisrapportsdomaine?clefr=414  http://www.sante.gouv.fr/maladie-a-virus-ebola-informations-a-destination-des-professionnels-de-sante.html

List of hospitals allowed to take care of Ebola patients  http://www.sante.gouv.fr/IMG/pdf/2014_08_25_ListingESR_MAJ_modifIDFertA_DEF.pdf

Guidance on transportation of Ebola patient from abroad to France  http://www.sante.gouv.fr/fichiers/bo/2012/12-06/ste_20120006_0100_0052.pdf

Greece

KEEL:               Webpage on Ebola outbreak

Bulletin for travelers

Posters:

 http://www.keelpno.gr/Portals/0/%CE%91%CF%81%CF%87%CE%B5%CE%AF%CE%B1/Ebola/ebola_GR_poster.pdf

 http://www.keelpno.gr/Portals/0/%CE%91%CF%81%CF%87%CE%B5%CE%AF%CE%B1/Ebola/ebola_EN_poster.pdf

Germany

Ministry of Health

 http://www.infektionsschutz.de/erregersteckbriefe/ebola-fieber

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

 http://www.auswaertiges-amt.de/DE/Infoservice/Presse/Meldungen/2014/140918-BM_Ebola.html

Robert Koch Institute

 http://www.rki.de/EN/Home/homepage_node.html

 http://www.rki.de/DE/Content/InfAZ/E/Ebola/Kurzinformation_Ebola_in_Westafrika.html

Bernhard-Nocht-Institute – Hamburg

 http://www.bnitm.de/

Hungary

Ministry of Human Capacities  http://www.kormany.hu/en/ministry-of-human-resources (English)

 http://www.kormany.hu/hu/emberi-eroforrasok-miniszteriuma/egeszsegugyert-felelos-allamtitkarsag (Hungarian)  National Public Health and Chief Medical Office

https://www.antsz.hu/  Guide for leadership of higher education

https://www.antsz.hu/portal/hir1/20140826-ebola-felsooktatasi-hallgatok.html?transactionid=-6254197871553193403  Guide for travellers

https://www.antsz.hu/hir1/20140819-ebola-tanacsok-utazoknak.html

Lithuania

Ministry of Health of Lithuania (web banner on the top of the page)  http://www.sam.lt

Centre of Communicable Disease and AIDS under the Ministry of Health  http://www.ulac.lt/lt/ebola-hemoragine-karstlige

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania  http://urm.lt/default/lt/naujienos/del-ebolos-viruso-protrukio-urm-grieztina-kelioniu-rekomendacijas-i-vakaru-afrikos-valstybes-1

Malta

Ministry of Health

 https://ehealth.gov.mt/healthportal/public_health/idcu/introduction.aspx

Netherlands

Dutch Government

 http://www.rijksoverheid.nl/onderwerpen/ebola

National Institute for Public Health and the Environment – in Dutch

 http://www.rivm.nl/Onderwerpen/E/Ebola

National Institute for Public Health and the Environment – in English

 http://www.rivm.nl/en/Topics/E/Ebola

Norway

National Institute of Public Health

 http://www.fhi.no/eway/default.aspx?pid=240&trg=Content_6765&Main_6664=6894:0:25,7555:1:0:0:::0:0&MainContent_6894=6765:0:25,7572:1:0:0:::0:

Slovak Republic

Public Health Authority

Information about Ebola for travellers (translated ECDC leaflet) – in Slovak  http://www.uvzsr.sk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2378:virusove-ochorenie-ebola-informacie-pre-cestovateov&catid=68:epidemiolog

Information about the measurements taken by the Public Health Authority of SR – in Slovak  http://www.uvzsr.sk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2368:opatrenia-uradu-verejneho-zdravotnictva-sr-tykajuce-sa-virusoveho-ochoreni

Leaflet on Ebola for citizens – in Slovak  http://www.uvzsr.sk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2383:hemoragicka-horuka-ebola&catid=68:epidemiologia&Itemid=76

Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs

Travel advice for Slovak citizens – in Slovak http://www.foreign.gov.sk/servlet/content?MT=/App/WCM/main.nsf/vw_ByID/ID_DD6F67735A1B6F80C12576350033486B_SK&OpenDocument=Y&LANG

Information on financial humanitarian aid of the Slovak Republic – in English http://www.foreign.gov.sk/servlet/content?MT=/App/WCM/main.nsf/vw_ByID/ministry&NCH=Y&OpenDocument=Y&LANG=EN&TG=BlankMaster&URL=/

Slovenia

National institute of public health

 http://www.nijz.si/Mp.aspx?ni=0&pi=19&_19_view=item&_19_newsid=2577&pl=0-19.0.

Ministry of Health

 http://www.mz.gov.si/nc/si/medijsko_sredisce/novica/article/670/6835/

Spain

Ministry of health  http://www.msssi.gob.es/profesionales/saludPublica/ccayes/alertasActual/ebola/home.htm

Foreign Affairs

 http://www.exteriores.gob.es/Portal/es/ServiciosAlCiudadano/SiViajasalExtranjero/Paginas/RecomendacionesDeViaje.aspx

Sweden

Swedish National Board of Health and Welfare (“Socialstyrelsen”):  http://www.socialstyrelsen.se/nyheter/2014september/ebolakraverokadvaksamhetivarden

Fact sheet/leaflet:  http://www.socialstyrelsen.se/SiteCollectionDocuments/infoblad-ebola-2014-08-28.pdf

Public Health Agency of Sweden (“Folkhälsomyndigheten”):  http://www.folkhalsomyndigheten.se/amnesomraden/beredskap/utbrott/ebola-vastafrika-2014/

Foreign Ministry of Sweden:  http://www.regeringen.se/sb/d/18334/a/245352

Switzerland

Federal Office of Public Health

German

 http://www.bag.admin.ch/de/ebola

French

http://www.bag.admin.ch/fr/ebola

Italian

http://www.bag.admin.ch/it/ebola

United Kingdom

https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/ebola-government-response

Articles in which International SOS has been quoted or referenced

  • “Ebola Sends Employers Wake-Up Call” – Human Resource Executive– 7 October
  • “These countries are tightening their borders over Ebola fears — against expert advice” – Washington Post– 2 October
  • “Companies Step Up Pressure on Ebola: We Need Action Now” – NBC News– 11 September
  • “Amid Ebola crisis, is something worse around corner?” – CNBC– 4 September
  • “First Briton With Ebola Virus Begins Treatment” – Sky News– 25 August
  • “WA miners in West Africa prepare workforce for escalation of Ebola virus” –  ABC News– 23 August
  • “Ebola, war or disaster: how and when global service groups decide to flee” – National Catholic Reporter– 21 August
  • “World confronting the largest Ebola outbreak since 1976” – China Daily– 18 August
  • “Multinationals in Africa keep a wary eye on Ebola” – Wall Street Journal, 6 August
  • “Ebola strains fragile W African economies” – Reuters, 6 August
  • “Ebola threatens West African economies” – Yahoo UK/AFP, 6 August
  • “Ebola virus: now the threat is real” – Punch Nigeria, 5 August
  • “International SOS has seen another rise in the number of requests for advice on Ebola in recent weeks” –Business Wire India, 4 August
  • “Evaluating risk: Do travellers need medical evacuation insurance” – NBC News, 2 August
  • “Ebola patient arrives in the US” – Today NBC, 2 August
  • “Americans mostly safe from Ebola, despite rapid spread” – Risk & Insurance, 1 August
  • “Employers should be prepared as Ebola outbreak grows” – Society for Human Resource Management, 1 August
  • “US$100m Ebola emergency response plan unveiled by WHO’s Margaret Chan” – South China Morning Post, 1 August
  • “WA miners issue ebola alerts” – The West Australian, 1 August
  • “Ebola: A Disease out of control?” – Al Jazeera, 31 July
  • “WHO, CDC see $100 million surge for Africa Ebola battle” – Bloomberg, 31 July
  • “Health experts say Ebola virus poses little risk to UAE” – The National UAE, 31 July
  • “Can West Africa’s deadliest Ebola outbreak be contained?” – Al Jazeera America, 29 July
  • “Ebola: Is the western world at risk?” – ReLocate Magazine, 28 July
  • “Ebola outbreak poses threat to African economies” – Financial Times, 25 July (subscription required)
  • International SOS’ Dr Robert Quigley discusses Ebola – Al Jazeera English TV channel, 23  July
  • “West Africa Ebola Outbreaks Spur Rising International SOS Inquiries” – Voice of America, 16 July
  • International SOS Medical Director Doug Quarry discusses Ebola in the Al Jazeera report, 28 March 2014
  • “Ebola Outbreak is West Africa” – Relocate Magazine, 26 March
  • “Guinea says has contained Ebola outbreak, death toll rises” – Reuters,  26 March

Why I Think Business is Personal **Remembering Arden**

2013-08-11 13.48.47I met Arden (aka Spook) in the late 1990’s after I was lucky enough to get a job at a little internet startup company called ExisNet.    I was troubled by some of life’s lessons and I was looking for myself.   Spook was one of the supervisors at ExisNet, he was a Marine (retired) but still a Marine.   I was in my late 20’s and still very young minded.    I think in his years as a leader and warfighter, he has seen plenty of young men like me.    He was an expert photographer and private investigator, he chose to work in order to have purpose but also to fund his outside activities.

Spook

At work he was a tough and stubborn guy and he would be quick to tell me that he would shoot me if I messed up.   The not so funny part was that he did carry a gun all the time and I knew that he had experience in the matter of killing.   More than fear, our team respected him.   It was Thanksgiving time and I didn’t have family in the area, he invited me to come to his family’s house for the holiday.   I didn’t know any of his family and they welcomed me in with open arms.   This was the beginning of our family connection.    As this is a simple blog and I could write many Spook stories on here, I want to point out that our relationship developed at work.  I wouldn’t have met Spook or known him otherwise.  He was my supervisor and a mentor, later he became a father figure and a friend of the highest order.   I am reminded at times that at work (it is business).   I have thought about this over and again and I disagree.  We are people and we build, maintain and grow relationships.   There are times when work relationships become something else and it could be inappropriate but more often working relationships are some of the best and deepest relationships we can in our lives.   To forcibly seek to separate these or to state that “business is not personal” is to ignore our humanity.   My best friends have come from my working relationships.   I still love and care for my relationships built while on active duty (at work).   My active friendships came from my work relationships and my family was built from my friendship with Geoff O’Brien (who reluctantly introduced me to his awesome sister).

399
Sammy is named for Spook (Sam Arden) Cohen

Next time someone says “business isn’t personal” think about your experiences and ask yourself about your life.   Isn’t business personal?

Spook passed away Jan 2010, his love and kindness are missed by many.    His impact on my life forever changed my path and I am reminded of him everyday.

Words for Spook

For those of us that are parents we love our children unconditionally.
In a way we are programmed to potentially have maybe a little more
patience with our children because they are after all a part of who we
are. Most of us never turn our back on our children and further we
protect them as much as we can even as they become more responsible
for themselves. We have a responsibility to care for them, after all
they are our children. We love our children unconditionally, even if
they make mistakes that are hurtful and harmful. In a way we have
limited choices when it comes to our children because they are always
ours. Spook chose to extend this same kind of love to me. He always
believed in me and pushed me to do better.984 Boys

He would tell me of the things that I can do and the success that I will
have. I didn’t have family in the area and I hardly had enough money
to make ends meet. Often Jane would pack an extra sandwich and send
it with Spook. He would tell me that he wasn’t hungry and that he
didn’t want to waste food so I should eat the sandwich.
During the holidays he would take me with him to visit with family who
would graciously accept me into their homes.
Spook was probably the most religious man I have ever known. He
didn’t practice by going to church but instead he acted on the most
fundamental principles of religion. Spook put others before himself.
Often he would enroll me in his campaign to help someone. His efforts
never ended even towards his final days.
We are all here today to celebrate Spooks life. I thought it might be
interesting for me to tell you a little about how he has impacted
potentially millions of people. Spook often told me about how he was an
orphan as a child and how he believed that family was more than just
blood relations. When I first met spook he had already retired from
the military and effectively had dealt with hundreds if not thousands
of young knuckleheads like me. He had taken many people under what
I would call Spook and Jane foster care. Spook and Jane fed and
cared for countless Marines and many friends outside of the Corp.
Spook gave to everyone, I am willing to bet that almost everyone here
today has something from him. I would even venture to say that some
of us may even have something from him with us today.
Spooks nature-wildlife website was an example of him sharing his love
of animals and nature with the world. His website still to this day gets
hundreds of thousands of hits a month. He has electronically touched
millions.
Spook loved gadgets, flashlights, tools and he loved to share them.
Often he would buy something for someone and then buy one for
himself, he couldn’t resist. He would call me to talk about new things
and new technology. He would call me almost every day. If he had
nothing to talk about we at least had an opportunity to say hello.
People.. he loved people, as I am sure most of you know.
Sorry to jump around but there is more to say than I have time. He
was a patriot, he believed that he fought as a marine for our freedom.
He believed in our country, our way of life and he believed we should
be responsible for ourselves and each other. Each of us has a personal
responsibility to do the best we can to do the right thing. Each of us
should have the courage and the integrity to stand up for what we
believe in.
Yeah.. so Spook was different. He bought what he wanted, he did
what he wanted, he did things his way. He didn’t regret. He didn’t lie.
He did what he always said he would do. He played hard and he loved
people in a way that was generally unconditional.
Our world was changed by his presence, his life, his values and his love.
I can tell you that I would not be here today and I would not have my
life if it were not for him. I would like to leave you with this one short
recent story. I was traveling to Europe not long ago and Spook gave me
some things to take with me that I was meant to return. He also
asked me to do some things which wasn’t unusual for him. When I got
back I did the things he asked and he told me to keep the things he
gave me. I started to question him as to why he was giving me this
stuff and he replied “Howie.. I am not dying, when I am dying I will tell
you I am dying and then I will tell you what you need to worry about
then.” The past two weeks have been crazy and Spook has been under
special care, pain medicine, and really a lot of pain. The day he realized
that he was dying he looked at me and said “Ok.. now I am dying and I
am telling you the things I want you to know.” He faced death as he
faced life. I hope to be more like him in my days and I hope my
children will love me as much as I love him. On behalf of myself, Erin,
William, Bryce, and Drew on behalf of my extended family and friends,
on behalf of the children reading about Lions on his website, thank you
Spook.. Thank you!

Organizations Bleeding Out (The Unknown Loss)

Paying Folks to Learn and Leave

It is easy to talk about statistics and point out numbers associated with employee turnover.  It isn’t easy for organizations to quantify what the turn over actually is costing.   Human resource information systems exist that can provide some numbers but those are numbers are essentially an average range.   That doesn’t give anyone a good idea of what is really going on.  It is just a number or set of numbers.    What does that mean?

I started working for Lockheed Martin in 2004, fresh out of working in a school division.  I was ready to learn, grow and take on the world.   Lockheed Martin was vast corporate mountain to climb chock full of options and opportunity.  As soon as I got on board, I immediately took to going back to school full time.  Lockheed had a tuition reimbursement program like a lot of other big companies.  All I needed to do was keep a “B” average and they would pay 100% of my tuition.   I had great ideas (actually it was the beginning of the 8 ideas a day) that I wanted to share with LM.

My management was very supportive and encouraging, in fact at the time my manager was doing the exact same thing!  One of the line managers would pull me to the side all the time and tell me to “get my education and get out as soon as I can.”

You should know the end of this story by now.   I gained valuable experience, I gained education and I became known to an industry that previously didn’t have a clue I existed.

The estimated cost to Lockheed Martin was $75,000, I would say the real cost to Lockheed was somewhere in the millions of dollars range.

National Labor Turnover Rates

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the rate for separations in June 2011 was 3.1 percent. The separation rate includes employees who voluntarily quit a position, layoffs, retirements and discharges. While the rate of employee turnover did not change significantly from May 2011, the rate for June of 2010 was 2 percent.

Industry Turnover Rates

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports labor turnover rates according to industry and shows a 6.9 percent turnover for employees working in the construction industry in June 2011, which experienced the highest level of employee turnover. Government agencies and employers experienced the lowest level of employee turnover, with a 1.4 percent labor turnover rate. Employers in the arts, recreation and entertainment industry show a 5.4 percent turnover of labor during the same month.

National Quit Rate

The percentage of workers who quit a position in June 2011 in private industry was 1.7 percent. Government agencies experienced a 0.5 percent rate of employees quitting a position during the same period. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the finance and insurance industries as well as government employers showed a decline in the number of quits in June 2011 while the education industry showed an increase.

Retention Rate Calculation

The employee retention rate can indicate how well your business maintains employee satisfaction. To calculate the employee retention rate, start with the total number of employees on staff at the end of a period — monthly, quarterly or annually. For example, if you have 200 employees at the end of a quarter, and 25 of those employees left the business during the same quarter, subtract 25 from 200. Divide the result by the total number of employees, and multiply the answer by 100 to get the retention rate. In the example, the employee retention rate is 87.5 percent. Compare the retention rate in one period to the rate in other periods for an indication of how well you are retaining your employees.

(Source) http://smallbusiness.chron.com/average-employee-retention-rate-18799.html

The Value of Tacit

It would be inappropriate for me to discuss the details as to why LM lost out on millions of dollars because of my leaving.  What I can say is that my situation is not unusual. Companies are losing this kind of talent and money all the time and they just don’t realize it.   When organizations calculate “total value” or “total rewards” for benefits or costs of an employee they are not reversing those calculations and looking at how much the employee is of value to the organization.  They don’t do this because they don’t know how much a function or a capability from a role is worth.  They don’t do this because a lot of times they don’t know what their employees do.   That’s right!! I said it… they don’t know what their people actually do! 

Human resources can track the job title, role, responsibilities and costs of human capital but there is generally no feedback from an employee assessment back to the HR information system that updates the system to tell what the employee is actually doing.  In fact, it is likely that in a lot of cases when a leader or manager is asked what their people do, they have to inquire themselves first.   If you don’t know what they do and you don’t know how much they are worth to an organization how could you let them go?  If you let them go, how much did it cost the organization to lose them?   I am not talking about “employee potential value”, I am talking about “Employee REAL Value.”

Food for Thought

If you are an organizational leader, can you say that you know how much any one individual in your organization is valued or of value to the organization?  Do you have a measure for this?  Certainly you may feel that YOU are of value to the organization.. right?  How much are you worth (not in dollars earned for you) but in REAL dollar value to your organization?   How much would your company stand to lose if you train someone for a few years and they get up to speed and become an expert in their field, get educated both paper and organic and decide to walk?   How much have you already lost because you didn’t know this information?    It seems to me that the newer generations are less loyal to any one company and that they will be willing to bounce from place to place as they see fit, how much will this behavior cost in the future as tacit information becomes more of a premium?

The Final Point on the UNKNOWN VALUE OF..

http://www.npr.org/2013/06/19/184827651/animal-csi-inside-the-smithsonians-feather-forensics-lab

Carla Dove is a forensic ornithologist, the last one…. If you read the article above you can get more details but the bottom line is

Dove’s keen eye and knowledge of feathers have come from more than two decades of practice. She’s the only person in the country with these skills, and she worries about the future of this kind of analysis.

“Unless I have someone to follow me around, and do some research on the microscopic structure of feathers, I think that one of these days the whole expertise in this field is going to go away,” she says. These days, she says, students are more interested in “instant satisfaction” and cutting-edge technology.

Dove inherited her lab from the only other U.S. scientist to do this work: Laybourne, who was already in her 80s.

Dove says she has yet to find the person who will take over when she retires — the special ornithologist who can continue the work in this unusual feather forensics lab.

We don’t know (or even attempt) to measure the value of certain areas of our work.  In this case,  there is no Carla Dove men-tee.  Maybe we will get lucky and she will find someone to follow in her footsteps or maybe her tacit knowledge will go the way of the lost tribes.  Regardless, ignorance is costly and introduces previously mitigated risk and loss.

The Doctor will See You Now – Context = Business Quick Fix

Chances are if you go to the doctor you will have a short conversation, a quick check up and some blood work.   When your results come back your doctor will call you in to discuss your findings.   If your doctor practices medicine as a modern practitioner and there are any problems found they will look to find a prescription for you to take.

Now take your medicine.

The same thing has happened in business.   Companies look at business indicators, take into consideration the technical factors and come up with technical and process oriented solutions to change the business in order to increase overall business effectiveness.

The result in both cases is that we treat symptoms and not the root problem.    The problem is that it is very costly and time-consuming to treat the problem.  Treating a symptom is fast and effective.   It is a quick fix solution that may delay or push back the need to address the root problem.    The problem is still there and both your doctor and business leader are just potentially exacerbating the situation by masking the problem.

“Take two business leadership books and call me at the end of the quarter.”

Why don’t we change our behavior?

I have been wrestling with this question for a long time.  I have read a lot of books and articles on this subject and my team and I have come up with ideas and tested them in the workplace.   It boils down to the same thing over and over.   It is about consideration for people relative to a quick dollar.

Let us say in the scenario first presented with the doctor that when you went in to the office, you spend more time and money up front with the doctor.   The doctor gives you a much longer diagnostic, they ask about your life and your family not in passing but in detail.  They talk to you about your food intake and your stress levels, they look at your schedule for work and home and they do some research on your life.   They would in this case look to learn more tacit information.   It costs too much money.  It will cost too much time.  It would be expensive for you and the doctor in many ways that doesn’t require a breakdown because this is something you already understand.

It is the same with business.  If the business has to invest a lot of time and resources even with a long-term vision, it won’t spend money on people.

That’s it!  People are the most important aspect of any business or practice but the way our world works today we look to think about short-term people strategies and short quick fixes.   This short-term thinking has been very expensive itself as it creates a whole slew of new problems and new technologies.

In every aspect of our lives we now look for short-term and quick solutions.   Think about it.   From 30 minute meals to 60 day exercise routines that will bring you quick results.   Take the pill and you will be better.  Buy a technical solution and it will fix your business.

If we are going to start seriously addressing the problems at work and at home, the first problem we need to really deal with is asking ourselves about what we are willing to invest.   We will have to ask ourselves how important the problem really is to us and how much time we want to even think about it.

If you want a quick fix and have a desire to pretend that everything is ok, take a pill and be on your way.  If you want to really deal with the issues at hand, there will be pain and sacrifice, there will be an investment on your part, and there will be tough choices.   The funny part about this second option is that other problems could come up and all your work could in fact be for nothing.   This is just reality.  Even with that being the case, what is the effort worth to you in the long run?

Start asking these questions and you may find out that it is worth more than you know.