Army Strong ~KM

Logo-ReadyArmyKM enhances mission command, facilitates the exchange of knowledge, supports doctrine development, fosters leaders’ development, supports lessons learned, supports training and enhances professional education. Ultimately, KM enables the Army to become an adaptable organization that is able to learn and change. The Army’s strategy focuses on advancement in a culture of innovation rather than survival in a culture of compliance.

• “Military operations are human endeavors characterized by the continuous, mutual adaptation of give and take, moves and counter moves among all participants (FM 6-0 2011).” The participants that are able to adapt and learn more efficiently will create advantages that can be exploited. The Army has moved towards mission command as the means to be more adaptable and able to execute in a decentralized manner. One of the key enables for an organization to learn and adapt is through the use of knowledge management.
• Effective knowledge management enhances the shared understanding of an organization. The command and staff possess a shared understanding of the OE and mission that allows for a synergy of effort between commanders, staffs, and subordinate commands.
• Knowledge management enhances mission command’s ability to use mission type orders to promote initiative within the commander’s intent.  If done properly trust is built within the organization, shared understanding is generated, and the people and organization will learn.

Be Informed!

The military including all US armed forces does a fantastic job of knowledge management.   In fact, the military has always done a fantastic job of knowledge management.   The reason there are questions concerning  km (knowledge management) practices in the Army and other defense areas is because of WHERE they practice knowledge management.

When a young soldier comes into the Army, this person is taught about Army culture.  They are taught about a chain of command, they are taught about roles and responsibilities, they are taught to sense and feel things in order to react.   The services use tools of human dimensions including cognitive, physical, social concepts.   (http://www.ruf.rice.edu/~kemmer/Evol/dimensions.html) ( http://bit.ly/1cN3xFG)  The idea is to be ready, to be informed and to maintain an ability to execute consistently with great continuity and persistence. 

Being ready is something that the Army has done well and this readiness is a direct result of a consistent focus on km.   The centerpiece of the Army is the soldier but one soldier alone can’t be the Army and this is why there has to be an understanding of people, process, methods, tools and a further AWARENESS of the environment, the world and of time.

It is a heavy burden for an organization of any size to put so much effort into knowledge management but it is a must.  The Army has KM Officers (http://usacac.army.mil/cac2/AOKM/FactSheets/KMOFactsheet.pdf ) <– here are their roles and responsibilities.

“Knowledge Management is more than just KMO business.” AWC KM Brief, 2011

Knowledge Management Operations Strategy (http://armypubs.army.mil/doctrine/DR_pubs/dr_a/pdf/fm6_01x1.pdf)

Army Business

There are many business practices that came from our experience with fighting wars.  In fact most leaders (http://jobsforveterans.military.com/852/10-fortune-500-military-ceos/)  have served and have learned core values and practices from the services.    In a time where the world is under more pressure than in recent past and military leaders are consistently finding ways to do more with less, it is NOT amazing to see that they have turned to a core practice of knowledge management as an add-on to every single effort.   It is AMAZING and a wonder to see business leaders under stressful conditions look at km as something soft and not worth the effort.

If knowledge management isn’t important, why do senior leaders in the military who understand the value of km continue to invest in km (their people) more as the budgets get tighter?

In our history of mankind from the people who invented our first tools, to the people who found how to use fire through the 4 guys on the planet that know the secret recipe for WD-40, we have needed and continue to need to tell stories, share information, communicate both tacit and explicit knowledge.  If there are any questions concerning the importance of knowledge management initiatives,  I humbly ask those decision makers who seek to devalue these concepts to simply look at the men and women protecting our great nation and recognize what they are doing.    I don’t think that our military leadership is “soft” in fact I think it takes a special kind of courage to take the hard road of truly addressing people and culture relative to knowledge management and that is what they do.

Think about it!  

 

-This post is dedicated to my good friend and brother Capt. Marc Romeo (http://fortblissbugle.com/5-52-amd-soldiers-learn-to-be-more-resilient/) BZ KID!

You can read how he taught a class on being resilient!

Egg or Tennis Ball?

 

Disclaimer:

All of the information provided here is available on the internet.    I am adding links and sources accordingly.

Fukushima vs. Syria

Harm or Help

If America is going to do something productive for the world and take on responsibility to police the world, shouldn’t we be spending more time in Japan?

I don’t normally watch the news but in the last day or so… I have.   I am absolutely disgusted with the media and not interested in perpetuating what they call or identify as any kind of journalism.   It is a freaking circus on television with commentators and opinion makers talking about world events like they are commenting on a sports game.   “You see the American people want..”  and “We are going to see Congress come up to the plate and..”  It is a joke and it is all for entertainment.   We are entertaining ourselves into oblivion.   We have real world serious issues here that are affecting us and all we can do from a media perspective is call the game.

I can come up with a very long and extensive list of things that America should be doing to help our world.    I am pretty sure that most of us would agree that we need to solve problems in health, energy, economy and global stabilization (warming or not).   I am going to be clear and honest here, I don’t care about Syria right now.   I care about the fact that our food supply isn’t safe.   I care about the fact that my children are inheriting  a foreign world that I don’t recognize.  I care about the fact that our country seems to be more divided than ever and we are arguing about nonsense.

Here is the deal, the Fukushima nuclear plant is leaking radioactive water into the sea.  Who is going to jail for this?  Who is being punished?  What is the world doing to prevent more damage to the earth?  How many lives will be lost?  What is the economic costs?

There are Ideas for Solutions

 Arnie Gundersen, a nuclear engineer with Fairewinds Energy Education,  who has visited the Fukushima power plant in the past, said a solution would be to dig a two-metre wide trench down to bedrock level and fill it with a material called zeolite: a volcanic material that comes from Mother Nature.  

http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/story/2013/08/28/japan-fukushima-radiation-leak.html.  

“It’s incredibly good at filtering radioactive isotopes. So whatever is inside the fence will stay inside and whatever is outside the fence would be clean,” said Gundersen, who estimates the price tag for such a project would be around $10 billion.  Read more: http://www.ctvnews.ca/sci-tech/japan-s-fukushima-nuclear-plant-leaks-what-you-need-to-know-1.1423249#ixzz2deX4BQVd

World Nuclear Industry Status Report http://www.worldnuclearreport.org/-2013-.html

I submit that we look at outcome based initiatives to see where we invest our resources in order to receive the best value for our global investment.  I am looking to keep this simple.  How much will it cost to attack Syria?  What are the outcomes?  What does the US hope to achieve by hitting Syria?   Last I checked, when you punch someone in the face, even a bully it may only cause more fighting and tension.    The region is unstable and has been for years.  The Washington Post spells it out in short order here http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2013/08/29/9-questions-about-syria-you-were-too-embarrassed-to-ask/.

Bottom line,  before we go off and start another war, we should get our big brains together and money to start cleaning up Fukushima.   Let me be clear on why.   We will have to deal with the same type of nuclear plant disaster in the next 20-30 years on our soil.

The only plant in Vermont will close soon.   “America’s aging nuclear industry has been facing a firestorm of criticism ever since the March 2011 meltdown in Fukushima.  Despite the fact that the Fukushima failure was due to negligence — the operator defied its engineers’ advice to waterproof backup generators to save on costs — the incident has had a powerful impact in shifting American public opinion against nuclear power. That shift has helped the government escape criticism for giving solar and wind power handouts that it won’t give nuclear power.  It has also driven some states to try to kick out aging nuclear plants — including Vermont.

Of the 104 reactors in 65 commercial plants in 31 states in the U.S., twenty-three — or roughly a fourth — are 40 years old or older.  Another forty-two reactors are 30 years old or older.  These older reactors tend to not only be the least efficient — causing them to struggle more to compete with cheap fossil fuel power and artificially cheap alternative energy — they also require more in maintenance.”

These companies will be broke and they will walk away from these filthy death plants waving the white flag.    I would say that would force the US to have to prepare and deal with two fundamental issues.  The first would be stable and clean power generation and the second would be cleaning up the mess that is left over from nuclear power generation.   If we can figure out ways to offset or deal with radiation by some how neutralizing contaminated waste products, we will be prepared to deal with 70-year-old nuclear facility shut down.     If you aren’t angry by now, you should be.   I sure wish that our politicians didn’t feel as if they deserved a break (because they don’t).

Before we lob anything over at Syria we should know why what we are attacking for and what the positive outcome will be..

If there isn’t one, then send our Congress and Senate over to Fukushima and let us see them “roll up their sleeves”  for our future.    

Angry and Disconnected

Increasingly we are disconnected.

It is as simple as that and as complicated as that.  We are disconnected from each other.  The relationships that we have are finely strung interwoven webs of very fragile connections.   The connections are fragile because of all of the miscommunication.  Even when we stand in front of each other today and talk person to person we are still communicating less effectively than we did years ago.

People in all walks of business are becoming more increasingly angry and frustrated and as a friend puts it we are all suffering from some form of “disaster fatigue.”   As I watched the news last night, and we wrapped up and closed the latest great tragedy that will surely get a name and a conspiracy theory assigned to it, I was troubled by the thought that all we seek is closure (quickly).   After 4 days and exhaustive efforts and incredible detective work, it is finally over.  Oh thank G-d it is over! Now we can move onto the next great tragedy and forget about this one unless we want to make some great point in a position paper or argument.  The media is disgusting at times.   There is no such thing as journalist integrity anymore, shame on them.  Shame on us too, because we watch it and we let them entertain us with their constant barrage of tragedy and despair.  They keep us on the edge of our seats and then wrap up people’s lives like it is a novel.

I most appreciated and still have the images of the “experts” smiling as they discussed this case and the situation.   I am not being too sensitive, the world is no longer sensitive enough.  It is desensitized and disconnected.   We are turning into a culture of racing changes and closure.  It is as if in our lives we are rocks that are being skimmed across a pond.   Every surface contact is the experience of a major event or situation only to end sunken and somewhere.

It isn’t as if humanity is new or that we haven’t experienced changes or tragedy in the history of our world.  It seems as if there is just more for us individually to consume at a faster rate and more knowledge to handle in multiple levels of thought and conscience.  It is overloading people on an individual level.  What happens is they effectively shut off noise.   Noise may be important but can’t be handled.   It takes time to deal with noise and we have no time.

When you walk into your bosses office and you ask to talk to him or her and they are reading their email or texting or doing something else other than paying attention to what you have to say, it becomes personal to you but isn’t to them, they are simply filtering.   The problem is that this is our world.  This is what we are morphing into.  A noisy place with no time to think and no time to listen.  We get less than half of a story and it needs to close so that we can move on to another story.

When Martin Richard, 8, Dorchester, Massachusetts was murdered in cold blood by the senseless act of these young men in Boston, will you remember Martin next week?   For his family,  my heart hurts today.  It is true that my heart hurt yesterday for the senseless Newtown killings but as far as we are concerned (mostly) it is over and behind us.  How many of the children do you remember?  How many were killed?  What were their names?  Do you know? What about 911? How many were killed?  What were their names?  Time heals all wounds except the ones that are everlasting. The everlasting wounds that run deep in the families of those who have lost or the left over feelings that are underlying in our hearts.  The undertone of despair and sadness that we carry with us.   Only to be added onto by the next tragedy and the next and the next.  Never forget, always remember but if you do forget in your mind, you may not forget in your heart.  What do we do when we feel so much?  We disconnect so that we don’t have to feel.  We don’t need our tears anymore because we don’t have the capacity to manage all of our feeling input and we have nothing left in our emotional tanks that would allow us to cry.  Although there are times when someone is close enough to us that we will be compelled by overwhelming emotion to feel.  We are mostly.. away.

The only point I will add here is that this behavior and situation impacts us at work beyond the obvious.  Since we are failing to communicate effectively, we are augmenting our communication with explicit and highly technical surrogates.   One of my areas of work and great concern is Knowledge Management.   Why is KM one of the top concerns of leadership around the globe today?   Because knowledge is happening faster and change is happening faster and everything is happening faster.   The demands for fast and short term solutions and short term thinking and short term closure of issues is driving organizations around the world to dismiss the criticality of the long term and strategic thinking.   This speed need is creating demand for the 15 minute manager, the short term rockstar, the idol (American) or other.  The quick win.  Snatching the bird from the hand and forgetting that there are a few in the bush.  Lack of patience, lack of quality, lack of service, lack of value, lack of kindness and other mass effects.

 

Lack of connection… lack of a real true connection.  The ultimate result is that there is no trust.  No trust = failure.


How Many Know Me?inmap

How many know me? My passion, my hopes, my dreams?  How many know my intent?  How many trust me?  I am connected.. I am connected digitally to a lot of people.  I don’t even know a number to tell you but let us say a lot.

So, as I said in the beginning it is simple and simply complicated.   It is not about unplugging ourselves and disconnecting from the world.  It is about taking steps to engage and listen to the noise and to turn it off when someone is standing in front of us.  It is about, responding to those who reach out to us and building trust where we can and when it makes sense.  It is about love and looking for small simple small acts of kindness within ourselves without any measurable expectations.

 We need to manage our connections and make time to disconnect.  We certainly can’t hold the world in our hands but we can grab a piece of the world when we need it, put it back on the shelf when we don’t and trust that the rest is beyond us.

Statement and Question on Terrorist Activities

I work with a lot of people that have expertise in many areas of defense.  One of my friends (colleague) is a subject matter expert on counter terrorism and other areas of warfare.   Let us call her Mrs. M.   Mrs. M asked me to think about and discuss the Boston marathon situation relative to counter terrorism.  I had considered thinking about what she had written to me and doing some additional research and writing on the subject but once I thought about it a little more it occurred to me that I should just post her thoughts for question and commentary.   The following words are hers.  She is speaking from an authoritative perspective based on her expertise but I think there is room for asking questions and holding a discussion.   Maybe it is just something to consider.  Here goes Mrs. M! 

The objective of terrorists is to control and influence people through fear. I understand the importance of capturing the terrorist suspects in the attack on the Boston Marathon; however, locking down 4.5 million Bostonians is feeding right into the hands of the terrorists. Police would never typically lock down a city when looking for 2 suspects. Rather than live in fear, glued to the news, the best thing Bostonians and Americans can do is to continue living their lives as normal. I understand the need to be vigilant and aware of one’s surroundings, but the best thing the average Joe can do to combat terrorism is to go to the store, see a movie, attend a sporting event, go for a run, heck – sign up for a local race or next year’s Boston Marathon!

 

The success of terrorist actions is also heavily influence by the battle of the narrative. Rather than post 24 hour coverage of the suspects, bombs going off and victims. I would like to see more stories of inspiration, acts of kindness, strength and generosity.

What do you think and why? 

Meet in the middle

 

When I was a child my mother put this picture on the refrigerator, it is simple and telling.   I put this picture up at work as a constant reminder of the benefits and challenges of working with others.

Regardless of who is at fault or the challenges we face it is my hope that our politicians and leadership realize this simple message.   We can all benefit from being less stubborn and through the realization of working together move forward and live well.

 

Thanks mom ..

I don’t know what to write.

Every week I write this blog to address mostly work related concepts.   Every once in a while when something important comes up or I am feeling that I want to go into something more personal I write about it.   I mostly have written with the idea that I am contributing to in my own way to help people.

A few weeks ago I wrote about our family friend Rebecca.   I was moved by how many people responded to that post and how people reached out to me.   I am not sure about how others write but I find myself backspacing and writing over what I say often because I am concerned that I am not getting my thoughts out effectively.   When it comes to writing for business, it isn’t hard to put the words down because I am addressing things that I consider logical or factual.  It is difficult with emotional concepts though and frankly I am a sensitive person.

Today is different.  I have backspaced a few times but I am just writing out what I am thinking here without major concern.  I normally think about what I will write about during the week and I will talk about concepts or concerns with close friends.   I try to share with purpose.  I was thinking this week about how cloud computing has taken a turn for the worse.  I read those information weekly trade magazines all the time and I get a mailbox full of those different IT magazines.   You know the ones with the articles that are hidden advertisements with a hint of honesty thrown in for good measure.     I was then thinking about writing about how all these holidays are bullshit and frustrating especially since I live towards the south and most people down here don’t understand much about Jews.   Those were some of the things until yesterday.   I normally write on Sundays it is a good close to the end of the week and beginning of the next.   Today is Saturday but I didn’t want to wait until tomorrow to have nothing to write about so I am writing today.

Yesterday morning we got a phone call from our bank that our credit cards were used in California and somewhere else.  Of course it was a very nice robot call “You have an account that has suspicious activity, if you are *** please hit the number 1.”  Great!  Well at least I am thankful for the protection, it was only a few months ago that someone broke into my car while my family was at a park and took my wife’s purse.  Now we will have to go through the drill of getting new cards and billing and…… then in the early afternoon while I was contributing to a work related discussion on how my company is moving paid time off around it happened.   It was the same thing as 9-11 to me, I could only watch in horror.   Then all of the social channels lit up like fire and the media storm started.  For me the first thing I had seen was 10 children were killed and then some how it turned to 20 people and then 27.   Facebook was swelling with posts that forced it to stream like water.   Then I lost my words..

Death comes for us all, one way or another.  My son just asked “who is G-d’s mother?”  and “What if he didn’t have one?”  as I am I writing this.   He doesn’t have any idea of what happened yesterday, we didn’t tell the kids.. yet.    So, this morning I am reflecting on the conversation I had with my friend Frank the other day about death.   I am thinking about all the things that were important to me in the morning as opposed to all of the things that are important to me today.   Our world is ending in 2012, we have not evolved we have revolved.  We forget everything history teaches us and for all of our technology and our sophistication we are ignorant adult children.

  • Our government has us in debt.
  • Our politicians are all liars and out for themselves individually.
  • Any honest Journalist is pushed out of the news business.
  • Our children can’t play outside.
  • We are robbed while we work, play and live and don’t know it until someone lets us know.
  • Everything that is built and sold is crap.
  • All of the technology I own is not finished.
  • My clothes were made by slaves.
  • There is still genocide.
  • We are more threatened today by nuclear and chemical attacks then ever before in history.
  • We live in fear.
  • We don’t have work.
  • We are fighting wars that we can’t and won’t win.
  • Our children… OUR CHILDREN are killed.

The list can go on and on.   I am an American and I am angry and I am hurt and I am frustrated and I don’t even know what to do about it because everywhere I look people are corrupted by fear and politics.   2012 is the end, it has to be because what we are doing as a society isn’t working.   I have no idea what is next and I guarantee that the families of the children in Connecticut don’t know either.

 

Dispatches from the Front: 5 December 2012

Christmas Day is 20 days from now.  I wish for you and your loved ones a very Merry Christmas.  It is a very special time of the year when even salty old dogs like me enjoy the magic the season brings.  What is your favorite Christmas holiday song?  My wife’s favorite is “Silent Night”.

Although I enjoy Faith Hill’s version of “Where are you Christmas”, ever since that period on active duty where I spent five consecutive Christmas holiday’s deployed, my favorite has been, “I’ll be home for

Christmas”.   Thank you for your friendship and goodwill during the past

year. I wish you a wonderful holiday season and a New Year full of happiness and prosperity.

 

It is cold here now.  Attached, you will find a couple of photos of the Hindu Kush Mountains that completely surround us.  With the snow on them, one could say they are pretty.  I guess there is beauty in hell.

However, bad people constantly shoot rockets and mortars at us from those hills so they will never be pretty to me. The photo of the vehicle, MRAP, is to show their tremendous size.  I honestly do not know if those vehicles are the correct solution to the IED threat.  I do know MRAPs are used throughout this Theater. I am grateful our Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, Air Force and Coast Guard men and women who ride in them are safer during the accomplishment of their missions while in

harm’s way.  

 

On the 18th of December, I will be at my 1/2 mark.  Time still passes much too quickly even in hell.  Consolidating the daily situational reports of the past 24 hours of kinetic events draws a physiological toll and worries me a bit. The figures on deaths, loss of limbs and other serious wounds, to all sides, has crept into and affected the dark and black section of my heart.  I have learned to hate the Taliban and all who support them.  Hate is not healthy for it negates the ability to forgive. The Taliban seriously just need killing.  Unfortunately, we will not be able to kill enough of them to allow the current Afghan military and police force to protect the peoples of this geographical area before the United States and Coalition Partners depart these miserable lands.  I did not call Afghanistan a country, for the tribes in the hills do not recognize Afghanistan as a nation state.  That is both bad and good.  The bad part has to do with the party line “strategic objectives” that justified the US and ISAF to come to these lands in the first place.  Bottom line, my opinion and my opinion only, those objectives will not be accomplished.  Unfortunately, the loss of National Treasure combined with the fiscal costs of this and the Iraq war has contributed to the fiscal disaster facing our Nation.  In the end, those costs will be for such little good or strategic gain.  The good news is that these mountain tribes are the true strength of the peoples within these lands.  Since recorded history, no power, either inside or outside, has ever subjugated or ruled the mountain tribes collectively.  Neither will the Taliban. 

 

There was a recent nasty multiple car-bombing on a forward operating base not far from here.  So compared to the men and women lying in the field hospital beds a few hundred yards from where I am typing this note, all is well.  I am in need of nothing.  I am healthy.  I am happy.

 

 

Over the years, I have traveled in sixty-five countries, led men in combat, been shot at and cut with a knife, but I have never been alone because of the reason Christmas is celebrated; I remain grateful for the Lord’s Grace and His Son. There is no finer gift to receive than that.

Merry Christmas! 

DSCN0700z1

 

Semper Fidelis,

Ken