When Giants Tip Toe #Leadership #Social

138H

Small Actions

We are all tiny giants walking through this world creating ripples with far reaching and unknown impact.

It is a struggle to know if the decisions we make will have a positive impact or a negative one.  We can’t predict the future, but we can realize that we are all giants.    The world is becoming smaller through technology and each of us individually is becoming larger.  Today we have more ability to reach and impact millions of people with very little effort.

In 4 minutes and 4 seconds Candace Payne made over a million people laugh by wearing a Chewbacca mask and laughing throughout the video.  Not only did she do that, she set off a sales and marketing blitz for the retailer Kohls .

Of course this is a good news story for this family and Kohl’s.   It is proof that (if you need any) that social media, the internet, and interconnected media shrinks the distance between us.  It also means that we can get crushed by the same effect.

Big Mistakes by Big Players

Anyone with a connected device could impact millions of people with something interesting, funny, brilliant or otherwise compelling.   If this is the case, why do so many companies make critical mistakes with social media?

These companies are aware of the opportunities to the extent that they experience them but they aren’t aware of the opportunities in the sense of creating them.  Under these conditions they are trying to “tip toe” carefully while using the social digital space as a walking stick.   Under these conditions, they seek to “be social” but with carefully controlled messaging.   The underlying issue with this is that they are already social, but social can’t be controlled, it can only be influenced.   The influence occurs through natural human interaction.   How many CEO’s have I/O psychologists readily on hand?  Instead they look at data and what they call sentiment analysis.    This by itself is a mistake and it is akin to removing a splinter with a hatchet.   Giants think they need giant things and giant solutions, but the reality is they need small solutions and small tweaks.   The reason is that small things in a giant world have large impacts.

Retired General Stanley Mcchrystal said, “I would tell my staff about the dinosaur’s tail: As a leader grows more senior, his bulk and tail become huge, but like the brontosaurus, his brain remains modestly small. When plans are changed and the huge beast turns, its tail often thoughtlessly knocks over people and things. That the destruction was unintentional doesn’t make it any better.”

Carefully Well Thought Out Poor Decisions

How much did it cost Kohl’s for the four minute social wave of marketing?   In 2012, it is estimated that Kohl’s spent 1.16 billion dollars.  In 2014, they spent an estimated 1.9 billion.    The underlying reason they spent more on advertising was “weak profitability. It is too early to tell what the “Candace Payne effect” is, but it cost them around $5,000 (they gave Candace $2500, 10,000 reward points, and Star Wars toys for her kids) and that was by their choice.   In other words, Kohl’s was smart to respond but they didn’t have to because they were mentioned as a natural part of the conversation.

There is a lot to think about here.  For example, what if Kohl’s turned their advertising budget into enhancing the customer experience?   What if Kohl’s goal was to “create a shopping experience that made people happy?”    I am not knocking Kohl’s, I am just stating that they are solving the wrong problem precisely.   Another great example to consider is the Giant air carrier United Airlines.

United Airlines sent me a very personalized message signed by their CEO Oscar Munoz.

UA

 

There are many things wrong with this message.   The message could have been sent out generically without the personalized touch.   Marketing experts may tell you that x percent of people respond better when their names are put in a message, but that is nonsense.   People respond to kindness, honestly, integrity, humility and reality to start.   It is not reality to think that UA cares about my business.  If you think I am being too harsh, consider that United Airlines is ranked worst by a J.D. Power customer survey .   You see “all about the data” can go many ways.    What did Oscar say in his personal message to me that would make a difference?   Can I reach Oscar to respond to his personal message to me?   Let’s find out.. 

United Response “My name is NO.. my number is No”

CustomerCare@united.com <customercare@united.com>

May 20 (2 days ago)

to me
Dear Mr. Cohen:
I am truly sorry for any poor experiences you have recently had with
United.

I know in the past years it has been quite painful to travel with
United.  As an employee I agree with you, but Mr. Munoz has brought
great change. We have been improving the morale of all employees and in
turn have created a wonderful customer experience for all of our
customers.  We do hope you allow us to show you how we improved and
continue your loyalty with us.

Mr. Cohen, we appreciate your comments and look forward to serving you
again.

Regards,

Matthew Miguel
Executive Services, United Airlines
Corporate Customer Care
Case: 10376324

Original Message:
To: Munoz, Oscar
Subject: Message CX

Dear Oscar,

I received your message today and I don’t think your  message really means anything.  In fact,  I don’t know what you are doing to energize your employee base but I do know this.

Getting to the plane is painful.
Being uncomfortable while waiting for the plane is painful.
Getting on the plane is painful.
Sitting on the plane is painful.
Getting asked to pay extra at every turn is painful.
Moving reservations is painful.
The frustration pouring out of people in the airport and on the plane is
painful.

The whole experience together makes it simple for me to travel in that
since airlines don’t differentiate themselves any longer in any way, I
can just choose the lowest cost and be miserable for the duration of my
travel.
If you have questions, please feel free to reach out.

Best Regards,
Howard Cohen

My Interpretation

 

Dear Mr. Cohen:
I am truly sorry for any poor experiences you have recently had with
UnitedI am sorry that we wrote you. 

I know in the past years it has been quite painful to travel with
United.  I have no idea what happened to you or your experience with United but I am just going to tell you that “I get it”  and hopefully that will be enough. 

As an employee I agree with you, but Mr. Munoz has brought
great change.   I agree with you.   I can’t say anything else beyond that because I am in customer service.   Mr. Munoz has brought great change and change is good because change means change. 

We have been improving the morale of all employees and in
turn have created a wonderful customer experience for all of our
customers.  We are improving morale through our efforts of change and we have created a wonderful experience for customers <– in past tense as if this was something that happened and not in present tense as something that is happening. 

We do hope you allow us to show you how we improved and
continue your loyalty with us.  You probably aren’t going to fly with us anytime soon. 

Mr. Cohen, we appreciate your comments and look forward to serving you
again.  Did you actually think in small giant feeble mind that Oscar Munoz the CEO of the company would read your message?  You aren’t even a very frequent flyer, why would you matter?   Thanks for the laugh and enjoy my generic response.  

Regards,

Matthew Miguel
Executive Services, United Airlines
Corporate Customer Care
Case: 10376324

Only Time Will Tell

In 2010 Forbes Lee E. Ohanian said that “Recent lessons indicate that once an industry starts to get big through mergers and acquisitions, it is hard to change course. And this may well be bad news for both travelers and taxpayers.”   (http://www.forbes.com/2010/05/11/airlines-merger-economy-opinions-contributors-lee-ohanian.html)

The reality though is that airlines are thinking about ways to cram more folks into the plane.   Flying me to Cuba in a box while I am hibernating or strapping my feet to the floor while I stand in the subway isle of the aircraft isn’t going to be interesting to me.    I predict more challenges for United.

Summary

Every connected person is part of the digital ecology.   We are giants and our small actions will have long lasting effects.  The days of leadership from the ivory tower are not over but we are moving more towards a complicated hive network topology between corporate employees and customers alike.   What does change really mean?   Consider that whether you walk with a flat foot or tip toe through the network, you will have an impact on the ecosystem, your presence will be felt and we are all “leaders from where we are.”

As an FYI, I did follow up with United after their response and never heard back from them.   I don’t have unreasonable expectations, but it is clear that they are struggling with their social strategy.

3ea600dd2131

 

Social Constructivist Learning @ Work

Cognitive and Social

Learning Concepts — Basic Premise of Social Constructivist.

The concepts that we have studied around learning for children can be applied to adults as well.  There isn’t some date or time that cognitive psychology just short circuits and expires.   As a KM practitioner and consultant I am finding that simple is more effective than complex and that lessons learned from education applies directly to Knowledge Management and education in business.

What is Social Constructivist Learning?

Lev Vygotsky (http://www.ced.appstate.edu/vybio.html) a cognitive psychologist asserts that socialization and culture provide children with the cognitive tools required for development.  One of the best known concepts from Vygotsky, the zone of proximal development (ZPD) is as follows:

Vygotsky’s ZPD emphasizes his belief that learning is, fundamentally, a socially mediated activity. Thinking and problem-solving skills can, according to Vygotsky, be placed in three categories. some can be performed independently by the child. Others cannot be performed even with help. Between these two extremes are skills the child can perform with help from others. those skills are in the ZPD. If a child uses these cognitive processes with help of others, such as teachers, parents, and fellow students, they will develop skills that can be independently practices. As Vygotsky (1987) puts it, ” What the child is able to do in collaboration today he will be able to do independently tomorrow.” Whereas an extreme interpretation of Piaget can lead to the conclusion that teachers teach best who get out of the way and let a naturally unfolding development take its course, Vygotsky’s theory requires an involved teacher who is an active participant, and guide, for student.

Vygotsky’s concepts assert that children develop best in social or group settings, the use of technology to connect students would be an appropriate practical application of these concepts.

“A constructivist teacher creates a context for learning in which students can become engaged in interesting activities that encourages and facilitates learning. The teacher does not simply stand by, however, and watch children explore and discover. Instead, the teacher may often guide students as they approach problems, may encourage them to work in groups to think about issues and questions, and support them with encouragement and advice as they tackle problems, adventures, and challenges that are rooted in real life situations that are both interesting to the students and satisfying in terms of the result of their work. Teachers thus facilitate cognitive growth and learning as do peers and other members of the child’s community.” (http://viking.coe.uh.edu/~ichen/ebook/et-it/social.htm)

There are four principles are applied in any Vygotskian classroom.

  1. Learning and development is a social, collaborative activity.
  2. The Zone of Proximal Development can serve as a guide for curricular and lesson planning.
  3. School learning should occur in a meaningful context and not be separated from learning and knowledge children develop in the “real world”.
  4. Out-of-school experiences should be related to the child’s school experience.

How does this translate to adults in business ?

A KM facilitator or Community Manager (CM) acts essentially as an enabler for employees as performers and subject matter experts.   The information and knowledge management activities are centered through collaboration and connectivity of information in context.  The CM can create activity based toolkits that experts and activity performers can leverage as part of a collaborative approach.

Key factors include:

  1. A safe environment for students to collaborate.  ~Translates to “safe and open environment for employees”
  2. A facilitated set of activities that introduce real life concepts for students.~Translates to “facilitate activities that are simulations of real business situations or labs”
  3. Technological capabilities that “enable” active collaboration. ~ SAME
  4. Appropriate feedback models and measures that provide information to teachers, librarians and students. ~ SAME for adult learners

What tools and technologies could be used for these activities?  (for teaching but … applies to business)

  • Reading and Writing Workshops:  This approach teaches students reading and language arts from a student-centric or student-centered process that gives students as individual performers and groups a great deal of responsibility on making decisions pertaining to what they will study and the reasoning behind it.  This approach emphasizes the collaborative and social aspects and nature of learning.    Collaboration activities that occur in the workshop are facilitated and conference driven workflows that include classroom and non-classroom based activities.  Students will create ideas, drafts and written products through explicit exchanges with peer groups, teachers, parents and other relevant members of the student’s social network.
  •  The collaboration activities are “for purpose” and have a meaningful outcome for students to aspire to as opposed to providing a summary of a teacher lesson and/or reiterating a teachers personal perspective or interpretation.   The function of a group discussion in both small groups and larger whole-class groups creates a feedback loop that informs both students and teachers.  In the case of this collaborative construct everyone has an opportunity for shared learning and communication.  Teachers who have the ability to take on active learning roles can inform and teach students how to listen, write, speak, read and effectively communicate.   Teachers actively teach students how to learn and think about information and further convert this information into knowledge that can be actualized.  This pragmatic approach can prepare students for education from a learning engagement perspective, social perspective and practical implementation perspective.

Here are some examples of this approach:

Whole Language:  “In the simplest terms, the “whole language approach” is a method of teaching children to read by recognizing words as whole pieces of language. Proponents of the whole language philosophy believe that language should not be broken down into letters and combinations of letters and “decoded.” Instead, they believe that language is a complete system of making meaning, with words functioning in relation to each other in context”. (What is the whole language approach?)

While these concepts are the basis for teaching children, they apply to adults almost across the board.

Some key characteristics of the whole language approach are:

  •  Acceptance of learners. This means, in part, that all learners are accepted regardless of their cultural or socio-economic background or other characteristics or labels. But in whole language classrooms, “acceptance of learners” also means that whole language teachers develop the classroom environment and the curriculum for and with the students, to meet their needs and engage them in learning about what interests them, as well as to cover essentials from the curriculum guidelines.
  • Flexibility within structure. Instead of having children do one brief activity or worksheet after another, whole language teachers organize the day in larger blocks of time, so that children can engage in meaningful pursuits. Thus they engage in fewer different tasks, but larger and more satisfying projects. They may have a readers’ and writers’ workshop, for instance, when the children read books and perhaps use them as models for their own writing. They may study a theme or topic at least part of the day for several days or weeks, using oral and written language and research skills to pursue learning in the realm of social studies and/or science and math, and using language and the arts to demonstrate and share what they have learned. Together and individually, the students have many choices as to what they will do and learn, which enables them to take significant responsibility for their learning. However, the teacher guides, supports, and structures the children’s learning as needed. Flexibility within the larger time blocks offers the time that learners need (especially the less proficient) in order to accomplish something meaningful and significant.
  • Supportive classroom community. Many whole language teachers help children develop skills for interacting with each other, solving interpersonal conflicts and problems, supporting one another in learning, and taking substantial responsibility for their own behavior and learning.
  • Expectations for success as they engage in “real” reading, writing, and learning. Kids aren’t kept doing “readiness” activities, in preparation for later reading and writing; rather, they are given the support they need to read and write whole texts from the very beginning. Whole language teachers have discovered that virtually all children can learn to read and write whole texts. This is true also of children who have heretofore been sent to resource rooms because they had difficulty with skills work. Indeed, reading whole texts is often easier for these children than doing the skills work.
  • Skills taught in context. Instead of being taught in isolation, skills are taught through mini-lessons and conferences, in the context of students’ reading, writing, and learning. For example: phonics is taught mainly through discussion and activities deriving from texts the children have read and reread with the teacher, and through writing the sounds they hear in words. Spelling is mainly taught when children are editing their writing, and grammar is mainly taught as the teacher helps children revise and edit what they’ve written. Skills like using the index of a book are taught when students need to locate information on a topic they want to research, while using the yellow pages of a phone book is taught when children need to locate resources within the community. In short, skills are taught while students are engaged in real-life tasks.
  • Teacher support for learning: scaffolding and collaboration. Teachers provide “scaffolding” for learning in many ways. For instance, primary grade teachers read Big Books and charts to and with children again and again, enabling the children to read whole texts before they can read independently. Whole language teachers help children write the sounds they hear in words, thus enabling the children to communicate through writing. They collaborate with children in carrying out research projects and, in the process, they model and explain how to do things that the children could not yet do alone. By collaborating on projects, children provide similar support for each other.
  • Contextualized assessment that emphasizes individuals’ growth as well as their accomplishments. Assessment is based primarily upon what children are doing from day to day as they read, write, do math and science, research topics of interest, and express their learning in various ways. Comprehensive, “portfolio” assessment will include data not only on the products of children’s efforts, but on their learning processes. Whole language teachers commonly involve children in assessing their own work and progress, and in setting future goals for learning. Parents and peers may also be involved in assessment. Individual growth and strengths are emphasized, along with progress in meeting agreed-upon goals and predetermined criteria.
  • Situated Learning- The concept of situated learning has been put forward by Lave and Wenger (1991). The idea is to look at social process and engagement over cognitive process and conceptual structures.  William F. Hanks puts it in his introduction to their book: ‘Rather than asking what kind of cognitive processes and conceptual structures are involved, they ask what kinds of social engagements provide the proper context for learning to take place’ (1991: 14). The fundamental idea around situated learning is based in the concepts of “communities of practice.”
  • Collaborative Learning- This is the idea that more than one person can work together to learn together.  Further that participants in this kind of learning approach will overall perform better than individual performs.
  • Anchored Instruction- “ refers to instruction in which the material to be learned is presented in the context of an authentic event that serves to anchor or situate the material and, further, allows it to be examined from multiple perspectives.” (Barab 2000:5)
  • Gamification (Gamification) is the concept of applying game-design thinking to non-game applications to make them more fun and engaging. Children today are extremely responsive to playing electronic games. There are number opportunities for social and collaborative learning thought live virtual construction and other virtual technologies. Some examples are Minecraft, World of Warcraft and even a new site called Growtopia. Working with the Librarian teachers can leverage these technologies with students both in and out of the classroom.  Additionally, children can extend their reach by employing these same technologies at home.
  • Model Based Instruction(Simulation)– Technologies have advanced in modeling and simulation well beyond the traditional block Lego.  There are Snap Circuits for children to create electronic modeling, amateur computing like the Raspberry Pi where students can create software applications, programs, games and operating environments.  Librarians can use lessons learned and best practices to reproduce and construct scientific models to describe, to explain, to predict and to control physical phenomena.

 

 

Community Managers and Knowledge Managers with a clear understanding of business AND employee needs as “requirements” can work alongside their peers as enablers.  A clear understanding of technology and the applicability to the various approaches in context of collaboration and social learning will educate the subject matter experts and practitioners alike .  As technology, process, and practice evolve facilitators can maintain their role as the implementation and facilitation specialists which  create, maintain, grow and facilitate the various lessons learned, best practices and technological capabilities in order to support the shared objectives of facilitated collaborative learning and instruction for the specific purpose of enhancing business.

 

Harold has it right!

The Desired Path #KM

off-the-beaten-path.jpgKnowledge Management activities are often pathways created as a consequence of doing business and normally represent the shortest route to an individual performer or group getting their jobs done. 

desire path (also known as a desire linesocial trailgoat track or bootleg trail) can be a path created as a consequence of foot or bicycle traffic. The path usually represents the shortest or most easily navigated route between an origin and destination. The width of the path and its erosion are indicators of the amount of use the path receives. Desire paths emerge as shortcuts where constructed ways take a circuitous route, or have gaps, or are lacking entirely.

A Knowledge Manager..

Looks at activities, patterns, work flow, behavior, sentiment and seeks to identify that “desire line.”   People are looking to accomplish a goal, a task or some objective right NOW at this moment.  They seek to remove impediments and increase opportunity for successful outcome.  People do what they “have to do” to make things work.

Embracing Silos

For over 30 years or so management and leadership teams talk about “silo thinking” in fact, I was on board with the mentality of breaking down silos for a long time.  I am starting to change my mind on this because it really goes against the forces of nature.   The reason why people work in silos is because it is a natural way to work.    Instead of wasting resources on breaking down silos, we should help the silos become stronger and consider allowing the silo communities to reenforce and engage their areas of  expertise as they feel comfortable.    We do need to share information from silos but it should be the right information at the right time as needed.

 

In the silo

People and organizations operate in the form of a silo because this is how groups work.    A person can work in a group or silo and interact with others in other groups and other silos.

 

We shouldn’t seek to change this at all.  What we need to do is (INFORM) the group and the individual in ways that make sense.  That is why Twitter works and other social apps like Yammer.   Small bits of information in the form of a question, answer or statement set to inform an individual or group.  Raising the level of awareness where it makes sense but leaving the groups and communities as they feel comfortable intact.

Mission

 

Knowledge Managers struggle with organizations that seek to introduce tools to solve problems.   I often wonder why I can stand in a room of 100 people and ask 

Does your company spend more on technology for knowledge management over the practices of knowledge management?”  Almost always most if not all of the room says “YES.”  

“In Finland, planners are known to visit their parks immediately after the first snowfall, when the existing paths are not visible.[1] People naturally choose desire lines, which are then clearly indicated by their footprints and can be used to guide the routing of new purpose built paths.”

  • Instead of creating a path.. why aren’t we looking at what people do after the snowfall?  — What happens when a new member joins a team?  How do they learn to collaborate, communicate, cooperate and acculturate?
  • Instead of creating a path.. why aren’t we looking where people are walking in general?– What happens when we ask staff what they do and what they believe they need?
  • Instead of creating a path…why don’t we lower barriers? –What are impediments that our staff have as they perform their jobs? How can we move boulders out of their way?

Fundamentally… we should seek to enable through learning what people do as opposed to providing something we think they need.

 

 

Water, Air, Knowledge.. You need this .. remember?

5 Generations Mixer

Organizations throughout the world are now challenged to maintain business continuity by transferring knowledge from the older generations to the younger. According to some studies there will be 5 generations in the workforce all at the same time.

Gaps and Seems Less Seems…

There are a variety of reasons why people in the older generations have to work but more over there are fundamental business challenges due to this situation. Many organizations are having problems in estimating or planning for people to retire.
They are engaging older workers often too late for effective knowledge transfer. They may be unable to gauge what the real business value of a person relative to their functional capabilities are in a position. When companies or organizations focus on process and methods over people, they find that their bus-ability is literally walking out the door.
What is worse than this reality is that organizational transformation is not occurring as fast as needed to accommodate the younger generations.
Younger workers have a dramatically different view of work than older generations. This is directly impacting an organizations ability to build, maintain, grow and stabilize the workforce.
Don’t get me wrong, a lot of issues organizations have now in terms of workforce stability are things they bring on themselves by treating employees like expendable trash.

Paying Attention

This is a narrative that really needs more attention. Organizations large and small aren’t going to necessarily go out of business because of knowledge transfer and knowledge management issues but it will cost them a lot of money. I can also think of some conditions where it can cause more serious concerns.

 Gen X Reflection

When I was a child, I thought that once you have a job it was what you did for the rest of your life. I think that my generation was a witness to the end of a sort of this renaissance of labor. I watched my father work as a pharmacist my entire life which in turn meant that he would be a pharmacist for most of his life. He could tell you about the interactions between two or more drugs, foods or other things you consume in less time than a google search. He didn’t need google, he is still around today and I would venture to say that for his area of work, he still probably depends much more on his tacit knowledge over his need to search something out.

Knowledge is fluid and changes constantly but time of exposure to information and knowledge creates wisdom. Wisdom isn’t just about information and knowledge itself it is married up with the experience over time of a person and the conditions in which the person lives and has lived. All of the factors and facets of a person come together in a point of convergence in a split second to form that point in which a person chooses left or right, up or down, in or out, etc.

What is different today is that we know less and depend more on the explicit query.

The discovery of information from an inherently explicit source that positions us to make a decision. It is a decline in specific experience and wisdom. They are replacing the pharmacist with automation. Automation doesn’t and won’t pull out tacit information from a patient, only a human would. Click click .. medicine dispensed and the young pharmacist walks up to the machine and validates the label, the canister and the pills themselves. She takes the bottle and places in a paper bag and hands it to another young lady to ring the customer up. On the side of the bottle,it says “do not consume this medication with grapefruit” The young lady goes as far as telling the customer not to consume the medicine with grapefruit. What she doesn’t know is Mrs. Miller (the customer). She doesn’t know anything about her and she doesn’t know that Mrs. Miller was a Russian immigrant that doesn’t read english well or understand what she is saying. She doesn’t know that she is nodding her head in acknowledgment out of courtesy. No one taught the pharmacist or the young tech how to interact with the customer and how to question a customer. How to elicit important responses and how to dig for answers.

The computer does not convey that experience

and when SmallGreens let go of all their older workforce and had a workforce knowledge continuity practice, they didn’t capture this sort of information from the practicing pharmacists. They just captured the process and maybe things to look for but not the value or importance of caring about every customer individually and looking for ways to find out information that could save your customer’s life or prevent a serious mishap. My uncle who is also a pharmacist told me that some companies value the quick dollars of a flu shot over the overall practice of pharmacists. The reason why this is important is because a young inexperienced person might easily succumb to a corporate short-term win scenario where the experienced professional would follow corporate guidance but take a more balanced approach to short-term thinking.

I talk to Boomers all the time about their lives at work or their experiences including military experience.  A great deal of the time they don’t even realize how much information they know and it is all wrapped in the narrative of their stories. As they are transitioning out of their jobs and they are asked probing questions the stories aren’t coming across. The questions can get to some of the areas but most of the time these sessions are 1.5 hours with some one to one or group mentorship later on. This isn’t enough. Some transfer will occur but there will be gaps that are significant. This could also be good depending on the job as someone might think of a new way to do the job better but unless the older way is known there is no way to measure. This unknown condition introduces risk and a lack of understanding of cost.

The other aspect of this is that some of our young people don’t want to be in one job for their lives and they want to walk into open heart surgery as the practicing surgeon after watching it a few times on you tube.

Kid only missed one You Tube video.. but a friend on glass will help him out.
Kid only missed one You Tube video.. but a friend on glass will help him out.

There is a sense that they lack the patience to learn and experience performing tasks and they are seemingly anxious to be recognized as subject matter experts. This is a pervasive problem that is systemic in our culture and society. It is something that we cannot avoid but we can’t afford to ignore.

Boomer Gen

I met an old warrior Green Beret this past week while on travel. He is a security specialist that looks at various concerns of physical, cyber, port and infrastructure security. He has 28 years of military service and a great deal of time on the ground in the commercial world as an expert. One thing that struck a chord in me was a story he told me about how a young security expert performed an assessment on a client site that took into account only the explicit information of information given to him about identified weaponry that would be a threat. It was as if this “dumb ass” didn’t know the physics of what happens when a weapon goes off or a bomb explodes.
I asked what happened after he read this assessment and he told me that he knew and reached out to one of the world experts on this subject to get this client squared away. You could say a lot about the young security expert in his defense but I would argue that his level of commitment, his heart, the nature of his honor and integrity and his tacit knowledge all come into play.

How many information technologists are out there that are called “system engineers” these people aren’t engineers, they don’t have engineering degrees or carry a card. They can’t engineer themselves out of paper box but they are called engineers and they gladly take on the title because it sounds glamorous.

 What’s next?

 

As companies are now recognizing these concerns and looking for ways to deal with them, there must be an effort to be realistic and honest about the situation.

Organizational leaders are going to have to set aside resources including labor to deal with these types of challenges.
  • They are also going to have to look at organizational governance to evaluate what changes need to be addressed.
  • They are going to have to face the facts that any efforts in knowledge management, knowledge engineering, and talent management are tied to change management and operational resilience.
  • They are also going to have to spend time thinking about the inside of their organizations as much as they spend thinking about the outside. The unspoken rules of labor don’t apply anymore.
  • The last part of this is that organizations are going to really have to focus on people. Not pay lip service to how they care but really make clear and visible efforts to engage their workforce.

As a senior leader once said “If people don’t like what we do they will show us with their feet.”

This statement is simply true and we have to wonder how much will that show cost!

Personal KM and The Brain – Context Tools and Perception

Personal KM – What we think we know. 

Personal KM is now becoming an area of great interest for a number of reasons.   We are creating more information than ever before and from a business perspective it is difficult to understand and manage this information in context.  That being said, information and “data” is of great value.  A few years ago my team introduced some simple patterns of collaboration in order to scope and provide additional context on information relative to a project or program.   One of the first activities of the information management and gathering process is to set out and “discover” what is going on.  Where are we in the organization? What people are involved in a project?  What are the considerations relative to governance?  What is the project or program looking to achieve?  What does a successful outcome look like?   It is a lot of questions but fundamentally the questions drive more questions that will eventually shape what all of the information may mean to YOU(perception).   How are you affected(perception)?  What role and responsibility do you really have relative to what the project or program believes(perception)?  What can you do (perception)?   What tools can you use(awareness)?  What information in available to you(awareness)?  More and more questions and answers. When I start showing people architectures representing these concepts, they overwhelmingly respond in a similar way.   They seem to feel that for their specific work, that they don’t really need a pattern or that they already understand where they are relative to the program.  This is where Personal KM and perception comes into play and how important it is to people as individuals and the organizations they work for.  The next few areas of this blog will show you why.

Awareness:

This isn’t new but if you haven’t seen this please take a look at this 1 minute video before moving on.

What you think you know and what you know:

If you have watched the video, you may now be wondering.. what else am I missing? Once your brain has been notified that other things are happening in your world that you need to potentially pay attention to, you can be aware of these hidden ghosts and start to deal with them.   The key to awareness is knowing that we aren’t aware and looking for mechanisms and others to help raise our level of awareness.  At this moment in our humanity, it isn’t likely that we will be fully aware of any given situation.

Personal KM – Tacit Exchange:

When we learn something on a personal level we file it away and may not feel a need to share it with others.  Research indicates that Organization Knowledge Management (OKM) starts with Personal Knowledge Management (PKM). HKPKMResearch further indicates that “The basic concept of formalizing software agents to mediate the work processes usually handled by the human counterpart is by having the human counterpart to delegate the tasks to a software agent or multiple software agents. The conceptual model for agent-mediated research work processes commonly handled by human knowledge worker”  This is what the figure above is showing. The bottom line is that we are looking to automate or transfer as much information as we can to a system or systems of systems for reuse.  Additionally, people must enter information that they may not believe (perception) would be important and further they may not have incentive to share this personal information.  Keep in that we as people only know what we think we know and we may also know things that we may not realize that we know. 

More Tools:

I am asked often what tools I use for PKM and why I use them.  Going back to the original discussion point concerning the collaboration pattern, if I didn’t use tools and techniques , the pattern and information associated would be less valuable. The information becomes more valuable because of the conversion of information from tacit to explicit and because the explicit information is further validated by more than one person.  This increases the likelihood of greater awareness.  I generally use a few tools but the primary tool is “TheBrain.”Howietodacenter The Brain is a PKM tool that enables users to take traditional mind mapping to new level. This tool specifically allows for users to define objects and relationships quickly and tag those objects textually and visually. The focus on the “Plex” which is the main interface that allows the user to focus on the relationships on the central node. The central node is the place where the user pays attention. The relationships branch off in parent, child and jump relationships that can have one to many or many to many connections. Additionally the user can create “link types” and differentiate linkages by visual and textual methods. Through the use of tagging, visual line thickness, color and pictures the view in the Plex allows users to have a better understanding of the meaning behind the relationships. The Brain tool enables a multidimensional visual representation of objects and their relationships through a 2 dimensional interface. This interface allows for “stacking” which can increase the actual extensibility of the user experience into the 3rd dimension. This is important to understand because the relationships you see in the plex on a node or object may have other relationships behind them. When the human interacts with the interface and changes the view, the nature of these hidden relationships is revealed. Steve Zeoli has a great blog about his use of this tool (Welcome to Sherwood) where he makes very clear points on the brain and its uses.  Steve notes:

 Here are the ways you can associate information to a single Thought in TheBrain:

  1. Link child Thoughts — topics that flow from the Thought.
  2. Link parent Thoughts — topics from which the Thought flows.
  3. Link related or jump Thoughts — topics related in an unhierarchical way.
  4. Add notes in the Note tool.
  5. Attach as many URLs as you’d like.
  6. Attach almost any type of file: spreadsheets, text documents, PDFs, pictures, etc.
  7. Give the Thought a Type — make all urgent Thoughts red, for example.
  8. Give the Thought multiple Tags — Tags allow you to quickly find Thoughts that share a Tag.
  9. Use the calendar to associate date-specific events.
  10. Use links to define special relationships among the data.

Falling Short…

More context is always needed.   I have to always add tags and link types and relationships. I have used a blend between freemind or regular mind maps and The Brain for many years. Mind maps and Concept maps show a map view as if we are looking at a road map from the top down.  The Brain is almost like a GPS, where you are in the map and driving through it waypoint to waypoint.  For me, it doesn’t go far enough and there is a gap between my needs and what is available.  I would like to see or identify a node and from there in that view I would like to develop or define relationships as many to many or many to one.   I would like to query on that node to further define context or visually move the node and either perform some “what if” analysis or just visually see the connections from any x y z axis perspective.  I would like nodes themselves to be three dimensional, with the ability to pin relationships on any one area of the node.   I would like the tool to essentially show mapping over time and have more integrated functions with the calendar.    There are other areas that are gaps like when you cut and paste information or import /export.   I could go on about what I would like to see but with all the gaps in capability, it is the best thing for me to use right now. It does help me identify or become aware of connections that I would have previously overlooked.

Visual Understanding Environment 

beefdairygraphic

VUE LINK

changefatigue example

http://www.studygs.net/mapping/ Concept mapping –

Concept maps have their origin in the work of David Ausubel
(advanced organizers). The technique of concept mapping was developed by Joseph D Novak at Cornell. “Concept maps have their origin in the learning movement called constructivism. In particular, constructivists hold that prior knowledge is used as a framework to learn new knowledge. In essence, how we think influences how and what we learn. Concept maps identify the way we think, the way we see relationships between knowledge.” Grayson H. Walker, Concept Mapping and Curriculum Design, Teaching Resource Center, The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

I use concept maps:

It is always (people, process, methods and tools) but I do love tools.  I use VUE in the same way as these guys use CMAPS at the Institute for Human and Machine Cognition, Pensacola Fl, 32502.

I also use a lot of other tools (as needed), if you want a list or have questions please email me.  

Back to the start:

If you are interested, here (KM Institute Final) is the hand out we gave during our talk at the KM Institute.  It talks a little about the collaboration pattern and our use of  The Brain.

We need PKM and we further need to filter and publish relevent information to our businesses or organizations.   This is very important to understand because WE ultimately decide what we are willing to put into the system and what WE are willing to share.  This is all about perception and perspective relative to the information.  I can think of many reasons why people would choose to hold off on sharing.  These are the concepts that we need to consider moving forward.   Most importantly, we need each other help validate what we think we know relative to what the group may think or what the facts are.

I want to point out that I believe an understanding of awareness, behavior modification, km drivers and tools as enablers will help increase real data value.  Personal KM and Perception enhancement may be a next step to KM!

This behavior brings a new level of fidelity to knowledge management and will help us deal with what is as opposed to what we believe.

Who is Responsible When Crowdsource Becomes Murder?

Question : Who is accountable or responsible when a false accusation or false report results in the death of a person?

Brown University student Sunil Tripathi was wrongly tied to the Boston Marathon bombing.   The result (may have been) his death.  There are indications that he may have died before the bombing.  The questions still remain. 

Reddit General Manager Erik Martin wrote:

though started with noble intentions, some of the activity on reddit fueled online witch hunts and dangerous speculation which spiraled into very negative consequences for innocent parties. The reddit staff and the millions of people on reddit around the world deeply regret that this happened. We have apologized privately to the family of missing college student Sunil Triphathi, as have various users and moderators. We want to take this opportunity to apologize publicly for the pain they have had to endure. We hope that this painful event will be channeled into something positive and the increased awareness will lead to Sunil’s quick and safe return home. We encourage everyone to join and show your support to the Triphathi family and their search.

The Leader You Are.. Courage as a Factor

Living in the shadow of yourself is an interesting place to be .

I don’t know about you but I live in my own world sometimes.  It isn’t that I am making up my own reality as some people do, but more that I feel comfortable with my conditions and that allows me at times to escape the challenges that I face.

I will give you an example.   Have you ever thought about what will happen when someone close to you gets sick or dies?  Most of us have been there in the situation where we are in the hospital with the person or at the funeral.   I am searching for words to describe the feeling but the best way I can describe it is surreal.  It feels like a dream that you are in at that moment and when you escape it, you can have normal again.  

In the story of our lives, we all deal with these emotionally charged and life altering situations.   I used the concept of illness or death to bring us to the extreme of this situation but there are scaled down situations that are similar in nature and have this effect on us.  If you are working and you find out that you are losing your job.  If you are dealing with someone who is abusive.  If you are stuck in a situation that you may have put yourself in but have awoken to this moment where you blink and realize “this is real, what am I going to do”?

Living in the shadow of yourself is dealing with the reality and feelings of your inner self or your true self as no one else but you would know as opposed to the outer self or the face we show to the world.

Clearly there are many discussions that we can have over the religious implications in this area of thought but my objective for this particular post is to talk about dealing with the challenges we face and finding the courage to do what we know we should.   It isn’t really about doing the right things per se but more about dealing with the reality of a situation as is and finding the strength and courage to plow through it.  It doesn’t take the biggest or strongest person to find his way over the hurdles in life.  It takes a person, any person the inner strength to envision a positive outcome and press for this vision even in the face of the darkest times.

Death is final, if we allow our worldly perspective to bind us to that conclusion.  Failure is imminent if we allow our situation to govern our behavior.  We are constantly faced with challenges that allow us to sink deeper into fear, if we allow it.

I was talking to Erin (my wife) the other day about leadership and how I have a bookshelf and tablet full of leadership books.   I have read them all and some of them twice.  I have watched people who were called leaders for years and have observed their behavior.   I have worked with military, defense and corporate leaders and what have I found?

We all share the same type of feelings and concerns regardless of position regarding business.  I could frame this another way.

Five days in the sun with Maslow

 

On the first day, you are happy and concerned with nothing more than realizing your greater purpose or value.  Where do you fit in and what difference in the world can you make?  How can you reach your full potential?  It is a fair question.  Once you have this level of security in terms of the basics, you can focus on these “other things.”  The sun is beating down but you have all you need food shelter even some company with your friend Maslow. Maybe you can do something or build something that can be shared with others, something for the greater good of mankind.  Even though security is an illusion, this perspective based on what you have lifts a weight or burden on the psyche that allows for some clarity of thought. It is time to shine!  

On the second day, you have less resources but still have enough to meet all your needs.  Achieving your full potential is great but what about that feeling of accomplishment?   Sweet sweet goals and objectives, that feeling of getting things done. Accomplishment in the sun is sweet but lonely, maybe it would be something if you had some others aside from “the Maz” to share your accomplishments with.  

On the third day, you have been creative and innovative and accomplished many things but only with your friend Maslow and he isn’t much fun to be around.   It would be much nicer to have your loved ones to share your accomplishments with.  How wonderful it is to share your love, your hopes and your dreams.   Some of  your loved ones and friends arrive to hang out.

Wouldn’t you be willing to even give some of your ultimate goals up to share your life with others.  The sun is getting hot on the third day and you have less than you had the past two days.  As a matter of fact, you are running low on water and the rain this night took your shelter out.    

On the fourth day, Maslow left… I am not sure why.. all of your friends and loved ones that you had over started bailing out as well.   Your water supply is pretty low and the shelter was damaged from the rain last night.  Suddenly, the things that were important yesterday aren’t so important today.  You are bound to be here in this place one more day.  This is starting to get uncomfortable.  

On the fifth day,  just absolutely exhausted, the sun is beating down on you and there is no water left, no food left and your shelter is destroyed.  This is unreal, in fact it is surreal, how did this happen? Why did this happen?  How could you have prevented this?  What is important? What is important to you?  The sun is now a fireball instead of a low hanging gift of art from the universe. It alone has stolen from you.  It conspired with mother nature to destroy everything you had and you stand alone under the blazing sky contemplating your next …. move.

 

Lucky for you and of course the rest of the world that this was just a short trip and that you can forget about all this madness as you head home from this horrible experience.  It is absolutely true that Maslow’s hierarchy of needs as a model is not being accurately reflected here but the point is consistent with his model.   The key question that looms on the outside of this story is with respect to leadership.   Where does leadership fit in and play a role?  Would a leader only stand tall on the first two or three days when there was comfort and all of your needs were met?

Title doesn’t dictate character.  Although, Randall from the movie “Clerks” told us otherwise.  There are variations of leaders and degrees of leadership.  We are wrapped around the idea that we are to be led and that this leadership carries some rank or status with it.  I have written many times before that we must lead from where we are.  We must lead as the situation requires.  We must follow as the situation requires.  Regardless, some will stand out from others and some will fall into the crowd but it takes courage to do what it takes and lead in any capacity where you can when the time comes.  

It takes courage to see a situation from the point of view of an active observer as opposed to being a participant and find the strength to see the possibilities related to the “big picture” as opposed to the image of the moment.   

Leadership isn’t a thing.  It isn’t something we can hold in our hands.  There is more to leadership than courage but if leadership is a multi legged beast, courage is one of its primary limbs.  

What do you think?