Collaboration Tool Crazy

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Dazed and Confused -Hammer Blaming

Don’t blame tools for your confusion.   Companies are buying too many tools and trying to implement them thinking that tools will solve their problems.   This is nothing new.  The problem is exacerbated by software as a service driven applications available to everyone.  I heard this termed “Credit Card IT”  where individuals decide that they don’t like the tools their companies provide and they go buy their own.

The buzz today is “Digital” that is all I hear right now.    It is absolutely ridiculous for companies to continue down the path of buying new solutions without rationalizing what they currently have.   The IT spend is out of control in many companies and while they are trying to flatten their budget, they are only spending more.   The only way to offset this is to either lay off employees or “green” the landscape, meaning trade old folks for new younger ones that are cheaper.

With a total focus on tools vs people or actual business needs,  the tools keep getting bought, every one gets “all digital” and they wind up or will wind up with a digital spaghetti mess in the corner.

If you look at this “Elements of Modern Enterprise Collaboration”, it makes sense but most organizations only focus on the technologies portion.

 

Harsh Words for Dummies

Does this look cheap? Digi_Mktg_Map_Final_April_2015.gif

Came from https://www.gartner.com/marketing/.

Do you understand what the heck these things are?

Do you have any idea of how they relate to each other?

Do you have any idea of how much they really cost?

Do you have staff on site that isn’t trying to sell you something that honestly understands this?

Do you know how all of these are relevant for your business?

Do you have knowledge management practice of any kind?

Do you have enterprise architectures? (not solution but enterprise)

If you can’t answer these questions, you probably should stop buying tools.  Well.. stop buying tools anyway but…  They will wind up in the corner gathering electron dust right near your CRM system that no one cares about.

Stop Spending Money .. Now

Stop spending money… <– yes.. stop spending money.    The first thing that needs to happen is “stop the madness” in spending.

There is no perfect enterprise and their won’t be perfected enterprise collaboration but what is for sure, is that we can do better.    The world is really truly moving towards an application based enterprise.   This means that their will be an ecosystem of tools and capabilities in the enterprise.    There are patterns of collaboration and communication that have people working together through different applications under different contexts.   Just think of it as your smart phone.   The standard is the phone, the applications are put into the app store and you use what you need when you need it based on the needs of the moment.

This is really the way things are going.    When you see Microsoft SharePoint 2016, apps will be a big part of it.   Look at any of the tools coming out, all application focused.

Still, I am talking about the tools.  The real focus should be on the business.   The first three things to do are…  (if you are with a medium or large company)

Grab your best Enterprise Architect, if you don’t have one.. go get one immediately.

  1. Start with Vendor Management and IT security – Between these two groups, you can get a good start on what you have in the enterprise.
  2. Create an EA framework to understand the enterprise portfolio of tools.
  3. Start a formal Knowledge Management initiative.

The results of these activities will start to highlight the “best things you never knew you had.”

  1. The EA activities will highlight tools and spending, it will also help immediately lower your IT and business risk.
  2. The EA framework will provide a starting place to process enterprise capabilities, tools and find reuse.   Companies bleed out money because of a “lack of awareness.”
  3. A KM practice will get your organization focused on the business of knowledge.  Knowledge is your business.  It is that simple.

Of course there are successful companies that don’t have a formal knowledge management practice but chances are they have an informal knowledge management practice and it is part of their culture.

Contractors, Consultants and Experts OH MY!

If you are going to hire brilliant, expensive and knowledgeable consultants, ask to see their enterprise collaboration practices.    When I say ask, what I really mean is get a tour with real people not just partners and senior executives.   Senior leaders will talk a good talk but the truth is most of these companies including the big four don’t use their own collaboration tools well. They don’t generally speaking understand KM either.  The reason why is generally more associated with the business model and practices vs tools.  What I mean by that is large consulting firms don’t get partners in silo cost centers rich by sharing.

Bottom line here is we have to be honest about this whole thing.    Don’t spend the money on all the enterprise tools if you don’t care about the people aspect.  If leadership looks at staff as just a number and doesn’t truly believe in employee engagement, it will be a waste.

Too Much?

This isn’t personal.  Companies have made that clear with the sheer amount of transformation, cost cutting, layoffs, restructuring etc.   They still find dollars to re-tool or add tools to the organization.   This makes little sense.   They let experts in their business walk out the door in exchange for tools they don’t understand.   The stock prices go up with the stories of how they are embracing technology and transforming but the fact remains that most people spend over 6+ hours a day in Email.

Go figure..  rolling all those heads and still email is the most used and most common tool set in the enterprise.    Try shutting that down..

So, lets not blame the tools for our problems or for that matter, the amount of tools that you have in the enterprise that you are allowing to accumulate.

Focus on the business, work with people and engage with them using best practices of Knowledge Management and Enterprise Architecture.   Let the story be told so that you know what actions to take.  Then once you “get it” you can “get all digital” but for now..

Stay analog my friends..

Thanks @Wendy Woodson for helping us “keep it real”

 

 

 

 

Cluster Transfer Rapid KT Through Maps

Remembering 1 Thing over Many (Communication | Memory | Context)

“Never force anything, you’ll break it.” – Dad Cohen
  • What do we need to know and why? Memory
  • The right information at the right time. Value
  • Clusters in Context. (Maps and Links) Relationships 

MEMORY

STRATEGIES FOR REMEMBERING (http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/happiness-in-world/200911/how-remember-things)

  1. Become interested in what you’re learning. We’re all better remembering what interests us. Few people, for example, have a difficult time remembering the names of people they find attractive. If you’re not intrinsically interested in what you’re learning or trying to remember, you must find a way to become so. I have to admit I wasn’t so good at this in medical school. The Krebs cycle (I provided the link only to prove how immensely boring it is) just didn’t excite me or relate to anything I found even remotely exciting (though I made myself learn it anyway).
  2. Find a way to leverage your visual memory. You’ll be astounded by how much more this will enable you to remember. For example, imagine you’re at a party and are introduced to five people in quick succession. How can you quickly memorize their names? Pick out a single defining visual characteristic of each person and connect it to a visual representation of their name, preferably through an action of some kind. For example, you can remember Mike who has large ears by creating a mental picture of a microphone (a “mike”) clearing those big ears of wax (gross, I know—sorry—but all the more effective because of it). It requires mental effort to do this, but if you practice you’ll be surprised how quickly you can come up with creative ways to create these images. Here’s another example: how often do you forget where you left your keys, your sunglasses, or your wallet? The next time you put something down somewhere, pause a moment to notice where you’ve placed it, and then in your mind blow it up. If you visualize the explosion in enough detail, you won’t forget where you put it. Remember: memory is predominantly visual (unfortunately, I can’t think of a good image to help you remember this fact right at this moment).
  3. Create a mental memory tree. If you’re trying to memorize a large number of facts, find a way to relate them in your mind visually with a memory tree. Construct big branches first, then leaves. Branches and leaves should carry labels that are personally meaningful to you in some way, and the organization of the facts (“leaves”) should be logical. It’s been well recognized since the 1950’s we remember “bits” of information better if we chunk them. For example, it’s easier to remember 467890 as “467” and “890” than as six individual digits.
  4. Associate what you’re trying to learn with what you already know. It seems the more mental connections we have to a piece of information, the more successful we’ll be in remembering it. This is why using mnemonics actually improves recall.
  5. Write out items to be memorized over and over and over. Among other things, this is how I learned the names of bacteria, what infections they cause, and what antibiotics treat them. Writing out facts in lists improves recall if you make yourself learn the lists actively instead of passively. In other words, don’t just copy the list of facts you’re trying to learn but actively recall each item you wish to learn and then write it down again and again and again. In doing this, you are, in effect, teaching yourself what you’re trying to learn (and as all teachers know, the best way to ensure you know something is to have to teach it). This method has the added benefit of immediately showing you exactly which facts haven’t made it into your long-term memory so you can focus more attention on learning them rather than wasting time reinforcing facts you already know.
  6. When reading for retention, summarize each paragraph in the margin. This requires you to think about what you’re reading, recycle it, and teach it to yourself again. Even take the concepts you’re learning and reason forward with them; apply them to imagined novel situations, which creates more neural connections to reinforce the memory.
  7. Do most of your studying in the afternoon. Though you may identify yourself as a “morning person” or “evening person” at least one study suggests your ability to memorize isn’t influenced as much by what time of day you perceive yourself to be most alert but by the time of day you actually study—afternoon appearing to be the best.
  8. Get adequate sleep to consolidate and retain memories. Not just at night after you’ve studied but the day before you study as well. Far better to do this than stay up cramming all night for an exam.

Mental Tree MindMaps and Remember Once.. And Knowledge Journey

There are differences in transferring long-term and short-term knowledge.   Today people are more likely to know less because of technology.   This means that the requirements to retain information and manage it have changed over time. What a knowledge receiver needs to know is the location of the information and the context of that information as applied once they discover or reference it.  Once they identify what they are looking for they also need the ability to understand and codify the information for it to be useful.

Method of Loci

 The method of loci is a method of memorizing information by placing each item to be remembered at a point along an imaginary journey. The information can then be recalled in a specific order by retracing the same route through the imaginary journey. Loci is the plural for of the Latin word,locus, meaning place or location. The method of loci is also called the Journey Method by Dominic O’Brien, and the imaginary journeys are often referred to as Memory Palaces or Memory Journeys. See also Mind Palace, the term used in the TV show, Sherlock. (http://mnemotechnics.org/wiki/Method_of_Loci)

Rapid KT..  A Mind Map is a ROAD MAP of associations..

The map is a visual representation of the interlinkages of nodes (objects or concepts) and their relationships.   To transfer knowledge rapidly (the secret sauce) is for a—> mentor or SME (Subject Matter Expert) to take the knowledge receiver on a trip through the map.

Example:

It all started..(element of time and location) (HERE at this place) and this turned into the (X), where X = an outcome and (X) is related to (A,B,C) —> It is objects and concepts in story on a map that can account for time and events.   As a result of an event on (this date or timeframe) the object or concept of (x) turned to (X1).  All of this contained in an explicit map.

 

The key is that you don’t have to remember to “Bake” or “Bake In Oven” individually,  you need to remember the map as a whole.   (Even though this map is simple)  The person that is transferring knowledge creates the map or walks the map with the person receiving knowledge.   The story comes with the map.. the story is that TACIT information …  “When I first started here and I was learning how to bake a cake, I didn’t know to pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees for 30 minutes.”  The knowledge receiver can adopt the concept / mind / knowledge map and put their own notes or stories.  It is their investment, it is personal to them.    There are things the receiver may already know and not need.   The image or map is the cluster of relative and relevant knowledge.  In the process of KT, it can be tied to one event.  There are elements of Personal knowledge, Team knowledge and Enterprise knowledge here.    The lower the fidelity of information the higher the knowledge resides.  The map shown above can be linked to in an enterprise repository to team or personal maps.   During the process of knowledge transfer all of the maps and information associated is identified as one clustered object.   The knowledge receiver learns about the process, methods, tools and any links to people who may have existed in the past and exist today.

When I was a young man working on a car with my father, he said “Righty tighty, lefty loosy” and in the same instance “Never force anything, you’ll break it.”   He only told me one time and I have remembered and applied this my whole life.  These two concepts were shared in one event, the relationship of the information is tied to my father, a Dodge Scamp Silver, any given Sunday and working on cars at the top of an open air garage in Coop City.     That is how we remember things..   When looking to transfer knowledge, we have to address the environment, condition, time, sentiment and ability to cluster information and create relationships with the data for purposeful recall.

How do I create a “clustered package” for KT?

Please be clear that I am not inventing something new.   This is a simple outline for steps you would take on a high level.

  1. Identify who, what when, where and why.
  2. How- This will be the process and the methods.
  3. What is important to know today? How much of this information is still relevant?  Can I throw some of this away or do it better?
  4. What is the business case for this information and what historical measures have been used?
  5. What are the stories that are tied to the information?
  6. What can we automate (where it makes sense)?
  7. What changes should be made moving forward?
  8. What is the risk? (From the SME’s perspective)
  9. What is value? (From the SME’s perspective)
  10. How is any of this tied to assessment criteria? (if not, why not?)

These are some of the steps and questions that we may ask.  We must understand (WHY) and we must seek to keep all of the information and content tied through the understanding of relationships.   My good friend and mentor Ron Batdorf will say that this is all tied to Enterprise Architecture.   It is an explicit expression of a moment in time relative to what is important (NOW).  Effectively a best effort to get the right information at the right time.

 

bakemap1

Advanced Map of Context

Alzheimer’s Map <—PDF larger viewAlzheimers_Map-440x264

 

What do you think?

Memory Forum –>http://mnemotechnics.org/

 

 

Practical Knowledge Management in a Strategic World

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In preparing for battle, I have always found that plans are useless but planning is indispensable.”-Dwight D. Eisenhower

Planning for Knowledge Management

Why do organizations need a structured KM initiative or program?

Most organizations at a very high level seek to do three general activities:

  • Reduce Risk
  • Identify and Execute on Opportunity for Cost Savings
  • Identify and Execute on Revenue Generation Opportunities.

While designing strategic business plans most organizations do not plan for KM activities.    Further, most KM activities are not tied to business strategies.    In 2001, Ronald Maier and Ulrich Remus published an IEEE paper on this subject.   They made a case for a “process-oriented KM Strategy.” This provides an integrated view of resources and market based orientation.

ProcessOriented

 

As a KM practitioner, this view makes a lot of sense, but it is still very strategic.   The key to a successful KM practice is centered in two areas that aren’t often identified as part of the strategy.   These are:

  • Organization Awareness
  • Organization Conflict Management

To plan for Knowledge Management in an organization, the planners must understand the landscape.   Planning to delight clients and customers with goods and services is not enough.    Even if you are planning for an industry of consumers that have few choices, understanding the landscape of the business is key to profitability in margins.     Knowledge Management is essentially about getting the right information at the right time to the right people.   This sounds a lot like logistics.

What is Awareness?

a·ware·ness
əˈwe(ə)rnis
noun knowledge or perception of a situation or fact. “we need to raise public awareness of the issue”

More often than not we are unaware of what is going on in an organization.   When we go to the doctor to get a check up, we are seeking to raise awareness of our health.  Often times we don’t know and we can’t know without some diagnostics what is going on in our organization.  We need a “check up” to find out what is going on.   This check up needs to be performed with a frequency that makes sense and one that it minimally disruptive.

 

 

 

 

process-tree

 


 What activities can we perform to raise awareness?

One of the first practical activities is to start with a communication campaign.   (Internal Communications) <-see the post from  for more details below are Shel’s words.

1. Mobile

Employees are using their personal devices for work simply because they’re better than the devices distributed by the company (if, that is, they were among the employees who actually got company phones) and they’re able to use those meatier features to fuel their own improved efficiency.

Regardless of the motivation, however, there are opportunities to reach employees who were relegated to the have-not class when companies abandoned print for the cheaper (but not necessarily more strategic) intranet.

2. Video

According to one study, 72% of internal communications teams are planning to increase the use of video as a means of communicating with employees. That dovetails nicely with the mobile trend, since YouTube recently revealed that mobile devices account for 40% of the videos consumed on its site.

More and more companies are adopting a YouTube-like approach to video, introducing video libraries that let employees search for videos, comment on them, tag them, embed them and (importantly) upload their own as a means of sharing information and knowledge.

3. Communicating for engagement

Employee engagement has always been the province of Human Resources, but research from the PR Academy supports the notion that good communications contributes to higher levels of engagement.

The focus on engagement is being accelerated by articles in communication publications and sessions at conferences from communicators who have been able to connect the dots. The mandate is clear as alarmingly low engagement levels lead executives to wonder why their communications departments aren’t doing more to correct the problem. Gallup, which more or less invented the whole concept of engagement, found that only 13% of employees worldwide are engaged at work.

There are ample opportunities for communications to bolster engagement. One is to improve the channels through which employees’ collective and individual voices are heard. Another is to recast communications based on the stakeholder groups with which employees self-identify: work groups, project groups and the employee-supervisor relationship. A lot of executives believe employees don’t care about the issues that keep them up at night, but employees do care—deeply—when those issues are articulated in the context of these stakeholder groups.

4. Social software adoption

While social software has been deployed in many organizations, employees generally haven’t adopted it. Adoption is critically important, since businesses that don’t migrate to social software as a conduit for day-to-day business will be mangled by their savvier competitors. The McKinsey Global Institute estimates productivity improves by 20-25% in organizations with connected employees, and the potential for revenue amounts to $1.3 trillion per year.

Yet, according to Prescient Digital Media’s 2013 social intranet study, only 13% of employees participate in the social intranet on a daily basis while 31% rarely or never do.

Given the focus on engagement and some other key internal communications trends, communicators will take a more active role in promoting the adoption of internal social media, which will require a strategic pivot away from the vice-like grip email has on most employees’ communication practices.

5. Activity streams

Nothing succeeds like success. When organizations focus on adoption of social software, the tool that attracts most employees is the activity stream (the equivalent of Facebook’s news feed on your intranet). With employees able to see instantly what their work team peers, project peers, bosses and other employees are doing, they feel more connected and, as a result, get more engaged.

Within organizations that have adopted the activity stream as the dominant homepage feature, communicators are giving up their magazine-style approach to sharing news and simply injecting their articles and other content into the stream. At least three organizations I know have seen this approach result in three or four times the views of their content. That’s right: Getting employees to “follow” or “like” the communications profile leads to more consumption of communications content than the traditional approach of listing headlines on the homepage.

7. Social visual communication

Images are dominating shared content, and with good reason. Engagement levels and interaction with images are significantly higher than narrative text as content consumption shifts from fixed desktops and laptops to mobile smartphones and tablets. While I’m hesitant to call this an internal communications trend—I haven’t seen it manifest yet inside any organization—it is inevitable. Smart communicators will get ahead of the trend and innovate ways to use images to tell stories and deliver messages, along with the channels for delivering them. I wrote a post recently suggesting six ways communicators can use images for internal communications.

8. Digital signage

These devices are activated by touch or motion, incorporate video, and can be tailored to deliver relevant information to employees based on their location, even floor-by-floor. Here’s just one case study from a freight company.

9. Gamification

Gamification, stated simply, makes it fun to do things that usually are mundane and tedious by applying one or more of the elements of game-play. These typically include badging, leveling, leader boards, and completion bars.

Communicators who acquaint themselves with the principles of gamification will be able to apply it to communication challenges.

10. Print

The simple fact is that employees don’t use the intranet the same way they used the company publication. While the periodical all-employee publication isn’t making a comeback, niche uses of print that are based on achieving measurable objectives are making a comeback in many companies. Hospitals, for example, are returning to print to get messages to nurses and other staff who don’t have access to the intranet. Yes, it’s costly. Yes, it has long production lead times. But it also works.

11. Employee influence measurement

As employee-to-employee communication moves into the jurisdiction of internal communications departments, identifying and tapping into those employees with high levels of influence will grow more important. The folks at Microsoft recognize this; it’s why they’ve done a deal with Klout to have an influence score appear on their Yammer profiles based on their internal Yammer activity. I have little doubt that Chatter and other internal networking tools will follow suit, but in the absence of such automated scoring, communicators will find other ways to figure out which employees to tap for advocacy and ambassadorship roles.

 ___

Communicate, Communicate, Communicate.. – Cohen

As your organization gains momentum in communication, feedback and open exchange the ideas around social constructionism – (Social constructionism, or the social construction of reality, is a theory of knowledge in sociology and communication theory that examines the development of jointly constructed understandings of the world.Wikipedia start to emerge.     What this means on a basic level is that WE are smarter than ME.   Strategic communication through a matrix approach facilitated and orchestrated (INFORMS) the organization.   This information … converts in context to KNOWLEDGE and feeds strategy.    Communication is a basic and practical way to turn a KM strategy into an effective KM practice. 

What about organizational conflict management?

Yes.. it is again tied to communication.

 

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Keeping it Practical

1) Position our organization for learning.   We do this by learning about ourselves, our people, our process, our methods, and tools.  What are the best things we never knew we had, including our who, what, when where and why?

2) What level of awareness do we need in our organization to be successful?  What does awareness mean to us?

3) What are our current activities and how do they tie to our current business, mission, vision, scope and objectives?   What questions do we need to come up with to understand OUR landscape.   

4) Does our current Knowledge Management practice align with our business objectives?   Do we work in siloes?  Is that ok for our kind of business?   What information needs to transfer between individual performers and groups? How do we deal with personal, team, and enterprise knowledge?

5) What areas do we need to practice an approach to organizational conflict management?  What are the costs associated with conflict management?  What are the benefits and innovation potential for conflict management?   Inter and intra-department transformational and adjacent innovation?

6) What are we doing well today?  What do we need to reenforce and what do we need to resolve?

Most of the tools are already in our organization.   The key is active communication, facilitation and attention to people our most valuable and precious resource.

 

Leadership has the tools, the process and the methods of communication in hand today.  With a well thought out strategy, leadership can start communication early and often. They can create opportunity for employees to engage and provide feedback.   This communication will inform the strategy for business which includes KM.   The well informed organization lowers risk, increases opportunities for cost savings where it makes sense and increases the opportunities for revenue generation.

Communications

For Your Company – How much do you depend on Google? ~KM

Jake used to get his searches for free....
Jake used to get his searches for free….

The Value of Internet Searches

This is something to think about in relation to how organizations use external search tools.  This doesn’t apply to Google alone and I am not stating that Google will in fact charge us for search.  I am asking what would happen if they did.  I am also wondering out loud what the impact would be if they charged a subscription?   We live in interesting times, where water costs more than soda even though the water we get out of our tap may be better quality.   Communication apps are selling for BILLIONS of dollars while communication companies can’t make a buck.    More money is invested in technology companies on tech that entertains us over tech that would save us and heal us.   It is very possible that our personal and professional relationship with companies like Yahoo, Google, Microsoft and others could change and that our reliance on these companies could give them the leverage to charge for searches.   Why not?  Just a thought..   Better yet.. What would that do to the knowledge base of your business?

 

Innovative Company A with Super Awesome Brilliant Employees

Fred: Hey George!  How do you flig flam the whatsamazzoozit? 

George: Ehh.. I dunno..  Let me google that…

Fin

What just happened here happens ALL THE TIME in companies and organizations all over the world.   What would happen if Google AND other search companies decided to realize their magical hold on us?

  • Are you prepared to function holistically without an external search capability?
  • What is the value of Google and/or Bing, Yahoo, Dogpile, Refdesk etc?
  • What does this capability or this knowledge base represent in terms of support to your organization?
  • How would your staff manage less Google?
  • Would you pay for a subscription license to search the internet?

More over

  • How does external search create NEW capability and NEW opportunities for your organization?
  • Should these search companies get a piece of new business because they helped you get it?
  • What if they decide that this is something they want to do?

Even if you have a closed organization and you have great concerns for sharing corporate intelligence this does not impact the requirement or the desire of staff to consume data from the outside.

When **cough** I mean if this happens.. what will you do?

 

 

Sometimes Simple is Effective!

In the Shadow of IT

Tap tap tap.. I am writing and reversing over the words over and over.   G-d forbid I say something that might offend someone.    For a minute, I am taking off the gloves.    There is a school of thought around IT and technology services that imply that every problem has an IT solution.   You can buy salvation.   You can buy your solution in the form of something digital..  You can collaborate using “digital collaboration” and you can fix your business problems by buying SharePoint or something like it.   They buy and they buy and they want something real and tangible.   What they get is a bigger budget and more problems.  They in fact are solving the wrong problem precisely.   Why?  Because there is a narrow framing of the problem space.   They aren’t looking at the people, the process, the methods and the outcomes holistically.   They are focused on the tools.   The tools are sucking the dollars away but since the tools are a thing..  and a thing is what they believe they need.. they buy more.

Microsoft doesn’t have to work hard on maintaining their current market because their product is everywhere.   It by itself does nothing but create more requirements and there is no end to it.   Ironically, the companies are forced to hire more tech people who create more tech solutions but the mission of the organization and the revenue streams are squeezed.   In all that, there is one thing forgotten and that is the people.   Companies today are divesting in people and investing in technology.   They are spending more on cyber security than training.  They are building walls and honeypots and barriers and they are isolating their people and overwhelming them with DATA..  Big data, small data, analysis, SharePoint, Yammer, tech feeds, emails , IM’s and mobility and more and more and more connection to the grid..

They want to automate you and make you the machine.    They look at issues in knowledge management and knowledge continuity as soft and intangible because these things are difficult to measure.   The key factor is that they aren’t even trying to measure them because they are soft and because there is no “thing” to tie this to and that “thing” is perceived to have the value.   It is that thing that they throw away and that they don’t see that they need.  When they discover that they need it, they map this need to the value inherent in the “one” person they can’t afford to lose at that time.  Then they pay..  and they pay until that person is gone again.

Without the capture of knowledge and without the understanding of the value and the impact on the business.  They throw people away like a subscription that they don’t want anymore.    In the end, they can get the work done… but it takes more time.   They have to relearn what they knew inside as TACIT.  They have to relearn and recapture what they have lost.

The people are in the shadow of IT and the people are ignored.    Business will go on and this will continue, until people flip the model and start to hold onto information and stop sharing. When they do, they can increase their value and instead of giving all their explicit knowledge back to the technology, they will hold their knowledge for ransom.     Ask yourself if you have ever seen this in your career.

Anyone can be replaced, but any replacement will be different.. better or worse…

I say.. invest in your people and love them.. they will love you back and care for your business like it is their own.  Ask Microsoft or other vendors if they even know your name outside and data searching on an invoice.

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).

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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!