IMO this is the most coherent and concise explanation of KM. Definitive.
IMO this is the most coherent and concise explanation of KM. Definitive.
The reason I liked his talk so much is because, apart from his stories (of course), Shawn is able to say things concisely and simply: crystallising in a very few simple words thoughts I’ve not been able to form yet about things I’ve been doing, and half-thinking. I was half-aware of these points, they’re totally relevant to my context, but I hadn’t formed them into thoughts, let alone statements. Shawn does this very well. He put into simple words things I ‘know’, but can’t say myself. These simple points resonate with me, so I have to write them here before I forget them. He made the tacit, explicit. Nice one Shawn.
On collaborative tools: “They’re not really collaborative tools, they’re communicative tools. Collaboration is a set of behaviours you might employ when using these communicative tools”. Totally agree.
“Opinions are a push strategy. And what happens when you push? People push back, right? Well stories are a pull strategy.” They’re also more engaging than a presentation of facts or opinion. Early in his presentation, Shawn explained this with a story about a manager who would move away from his computer and sit at another table with a colleague in order to give full attention to the colleague. He told us that when he first shared this story, it had great impact on the behaviours of the managers listening. The managers listening all copied the behaviour of the manager in the story. The same point, as a bullet point in a presentation, would have had little or no impact. But as Shawn says, “stories are plausible”.
Two questions I liked: “Can I do it?”, and “Is it worth it?” The first determines ability or capability, the second, motivation. Beautifully simple. He added that when looking for examples of good stories, find people who are ‘doing it’.
If people are struggling to tell a story, remind them of the key turning points and ask them what happened. Or ask them for the ‘Mood points’ and ask them how they felt at that time. Getting them to draw the event might help them externalise their memories and feelings.
Gossip is a good tool for communicating social information [my feelings exactly - I reckon that even gossip about soap operas has an important social function - exploring, confirming & normalising moral views, etc...]
Stories give permission. Tell a story about something that others have experienced, and they’ll say ‘yeah, that’s what I did. So it must be OK if someone else had the same experience/feeling.’
I had a question about stories, which went something like: “how do you tell a story about lessons learnt on the front lines of a project to senior management so they’ll listen?” My point being, that senior management are often only interested in results, completion and targets met. They might not care too much about the significant changes that have occurred in processes and values that have arisen while completing the project. So how to get this point across to management? Shawn suggested two approaches. First to get the staff involved in telling stories about what they did and why it was worth it (‘can I do it?’, ‘is it worth it?’). Then ask them to keep telling those stories until they become embedded in the project’s success [my imperfect words, not Shawn's]. Second, record the stories and present them to management with the question ‘which of these is most significant/ has the greatest impact’. This, is a great idea. I’ll try this.
Another point Shawn made simply is that being strategic often means knowing how to say ‘no’ to some projects. This is particularly important to me right now, because I’m having to turn down or delegate some great projects – I’m having to say ‘no’.
And thanks to Patrick Lambe, Green Chameleon & Straits Knowledge for arranging Shawn’s talk tonight. They were both in the middle of a busy schedule giving a masterclass at the Singapore International Storytelling Festival.
Great post. Great video.
Thanks to @elizabethkoh for tweeting this (follow her, she’s great).
This is a great collection of quotes about the transformative power of conversation. All are excellent.
This is a great one-stop-shop for all your adult learning needs. click for Adult Learning wiki
A few weeks ago I went to the Chinese New Year annual Yu Sheng Lo Hei at the Straits Knowledge office in Singapore. I saw a big pile of freshly printed books, and in a quiet moment, I picked one up. It was ‘KM Approaches Methods & Tools – A Guidebook’. It looked great, so I bought one.
Since then I’ve dipped into it and I must say that it’s the best compendium of KM tools I’ve seen. The tips for facilitation are particularly useful. So here’s the pdf version for download. But really, you should buy it. It works better in book-form. It’s on my desk at work and is great to dip into. Patrick, Edgar and Wai Kong have done an excellent job in making the book, so it’s worth buying, really. Get it here.
I went to two workshops today at KM Singapore to find out as much as I could about Social Network Analysis. The first by Prof Lee Chu Keong from Nanyang Technological University. The second, in the afternoon, was on Business Network Analysis Techniques in Project Management by Graham Durant-Law.
Off the top of my head I can say that I learnt two great words:
Some interesting stuff, but a lot to absorb. The data gathering part of SNA seems too labour intensive for my liking. Maybe tools will evolve to help simplify this process. When they do, I’ll have a go.
At the end of all this, the person who’d been sitting next to me leant over and said, ‘very cheem, what?’. Yeah, it was.
Great conference today. In the morning, keynotes from Graham Higgins, Manager of Organisational Development and Learning, Cathay Pacific and Tony Sheehan Director of Learning Services, Ashridge Business School… great presentations.
In the afternoon a knowledge cafe with 14 KM practitioners from different companies showing and sharing their projects and experience. Awesome. Lots of opportunity to talk to other practitioners. Not like a normal conference – much better.
I drank far too much coffee at the conference, so before the caffeine buzz subsides…
One thing that made me cheer (on the inside) is that in every conversation I had, there was someone saying that Knowledge Management is a term that should not be used outside of the KM community. And this time it wasn’t just me saying it. O.O
In other words, don’t mention KM when talking to rank and file staff. One reason is that it’s unnecessary jargon that requires layers of workshops and communication to ‘get the KM message across’. But the main reason is that most staff will think that ‘KM’ equals ‘more work’. Many times I’ve heard “so now you expect me to do KM in addition to my usual job?”.
Over the past 4 years I’ve explained this particular problem to management, who’ve nodded sagely. We commissioned a report which found the same issues raised in staff interviews. Message loud and clear, but somehow always sidelined. I suggested that we try ‘Ninja KM’ or ‘KM by stealth’, but nobody was listening (or they didn’t get it). So now I’m delighted, because now I can say that I’m not alone when I recommend to others something along the lines of: “Think ‘KM’, but say ‘problem solving’ (better still use terms which talk directly to your audience’s context)”.
Instead of saying ‘Knowledge Management’, try ‘resource management’, ‘risk management’, ‘asset management’… or whatever makes immediate sense to whoever you’re talking to.
[edit: James Robertson owes credit for being the first to articulate this idea, here's his post in Column Two that made me slap my forehead and go 'yes, that's it'. It's from 2004, so it's not a new idea at all. It's funny how ideas take a while catch on and hit a tipping point like this one did today.]
At last night’s IKMS evening talk, Bonnie Cheuk gave a great presentation on ‘Unwrapping the potential of Enterprise 2.0′. Bonnie is the Global Head of Knowledge and Information at Environmental Resources Management (ERM). She showed us how ERM has taken to using blogs, wikis and discussion forums in Sharepoint. I liked the fact that her focus was on the people, the tasks and the communication – not so much focus on the tool.
Her talk really brightened up my normally gloomy view of Sharepoint. And she shared her secret KM recipe, here it is (sshhh):
Here are some other points she made about leadership 2.0:
We had a chat while she was setting up before her talk. Bonnie and I had worked together before on an earlier Sharepoint project in Singapore, so we had some stuff to catch up on. The thing that makes me giggle gleefully is how she described Sharepoint’s blog and wiki tools – She called them ‘Fake Blogs’ and ‘Fake Wikis’, meaning that they don’t quite have the features and functions most of us have come to expect. And yes, that’s exactly how I’ve been feeling about them for a long time… In fact, ever since I tried to embed media into them. Thanks Bonnie, I’ll be calling them fake from now on too, thanks to you.