Archive for the 'Culture' Category

The AcKnowledge Urban Challenge

Keith January 7th, 2014

Are you leading an organisation in Melbourne? Looking for a good, fun team-building event? How well do you know Melbourne? Try the AcKnowledge Urban Challenge!

melbourne

What is it?

The AcKnowledge Urban Challenge is part race, part scavenger hunt and part puzzle. Armed with a clue sheet, map and a list of questions, your people will attempt to find locations and solve challenges across the Melbourne CBD, in teams of four to six, over two hours.

This event is a game of strategy that involves walking, teamwork and using collective brainpower to plan a route around the city. At the locations, they will solve puzzles – including trivia, history, mathematics, geography and observation – and perform a few light physical endeavours.

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Building and Maintaining a Knowledge Transfer Toolkit

Keith February 23rd, 2011

Many large organisations have subject matter experts with a deep knowledge and understanding of business-critical information. This knowledge needs to be conveyed to a target audience in another area of the organisation, mostly comprised of staff with a lower level of technical expertise. In traditional organisational structures, content management, intranet, communications and training are often located in separate silos. Yet all of these areas provide tools that assist in knowledge transfer – the desired end result is an informed audience.

This splitting of functions can lead to inefficiency, duplication of effort, confused messages and errors. Other critical factors impacting effective knowledge transfer are maintenance of the currency and accuracy of content, as well as the problem of knowledge hoarding.

In this article, a strategy for building a complete knowledge transfer toolkit will be described. This toolkit includes a range of individual elements, comprising content management, communications, learning and multimedia elements, coordinated as a managed program. Approaches to maintaining the currency and accuracy of content, dealing with knowledge hoarding and the relevance of social media principles will also be addressed.

I have written here many times about the “toolkit” approach we used in my work at Telstra (2000-2008). This has been covered in a number of presentations that I have delivered, including at the 2010 CPA Congress. I wrote an article about it in 2009, and it was originally documented in a Case Study by Andrew Mitchell, also available on this site.

I have now published a more detailed article on the toolkit, chapter three in the book TIMAF Information Management Best Practices – Volume 1, issued in November 2010. The book can be ordered on the TIMAF site. A copy of my article is now available for free download from this site here.

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Madras Olives

Keith May 21st, 2010

Pound to a smooth paste 1 oz. butter, 2 hard-boiled yolks of eggs, 4 washed and boned anchovies or ½ oz. anchovy paste, with 1 tea spoon Madras Chutney, salt and Cayenne to taste, and spread on to fried croutons, raising it in a dome shape, and smoothing over with a warm, wet knife.

Have ready some stoned olives, filled with stiffly-whipped cream flavoured with Coralline pepper, and put on the top of each little mound a little round of egg white encircling each olive.

From the Wool Wool Cookery Book, 1903.

Is it just me, or have tastes changed somewhat in the last 100 years?

Culture, knowledge sharing and the Ocker

Keith May 7th, 2010

As part of some training material I have been writing for a client, I have revisited some related work I was engaged in some years ago.  One of the other authors I was working with then wrote a chapter on culture.  This work quoted a piece called Cultural variations in the cross-border transfer of organisational knowledge: an integrative framework, by R S Bhagat and others, from a 2002 edition of the Academy of Management Review.

This work describes national cultural patterns, and how they affect knowledge sharing.  Here is a simple summary diagram I have put together of the four basic types they described:

Culture & Knowledge Sharing

Both types of culture in the left column are independent and individualist, and predominantly Western. 

The top left quadrant is the domain of the rugged individualists.  They are mostly found in France, Germany, the UK and USA.  These people see each other as unique, and accept inequalities.  Thus they can naturally accept a social class structure.  They tend to hoard knowledge, and see this knowledge hoarding as power.  They like theoretical analysis.

The horizontal individualists in the bottom left domain see themselves as equal in status with each other.  Bhagat et al state that they also have “a relatively high tolerance for ambiguity and complexity”.   They are mostly found in Denmark, Sweden and Australia.  This is of particular interest, and will be discussed further.

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Trampoline presentation

Keith October 24th, 2009

I’ll be off to trampoline in just a few hours, with the intention of doing a presentation on “The Idea Monopoly?” I have blogged on this topic before, and you can see the slide pack on SlideShare here.

The topic of organisational change – and getting people more involved in it – is something I have been becoming quite passionate about for a while now.  This presentation at trampoline will be the first time I have presented on the topic. I intend to develop this work, and its linking themes, in time to come.  I am currently playing with a new term for this – “orgsourcing”. You heard it first here!

Life Explained

Keith September 30th, 2009

OK, so it’s not original – but I rather like it. Received by email from my son:

A boat docked in a tiny Mexican fishing village. A tourist complimented the local fishermen on the quality of their fish, and asked how long it took him to catch them.

“Not very long.” they answered in unison.

“Why didn’t you stay out longer and catch more?”

The fishermen explained that their small catches were sufficient to meet their needs and those of their families.

“But what do you do with the rest of your time?”

“We sleep late, fish a little, play with our children, and take siestas with our wives. In the evenings, we go into the village to see our friends, have a few drinks, play the guitar, and sing a few songs. We have a full life.”

The tourist interrupted, “I have an MBA from Harvard and I can help you! You should start by fishing longer every day. You can then sell the extra fish you catch. With the extra revenue, you can buy a bigger boat.”

“And after that?”

“With the extra money the larger boat will bring, you can buy a second one and a third one and so on until you have an entire fleet of trawlers. Instead of selling your fish to a middle man, you can then negotiate directly with the processing plants and maybe even open your own plant. You can then leave this little village and move to Mexico City, Los Angeles, or even New York City! From there you can direct your huge new enterprise.”

“How long would that take?”

“Twenty, perhaps twenty-five years.” replied the tourist.

“And after that?”

“Afterwards? Well my friend, that’s when it gets really interesting,” answered the tourist, laughing. “When your business gets really big, you can start buying and selling stocks, and make millions!”

“Millions? Really? And after that?” asked the fishermen.

“After that, you’ll be able to retire, live in a tiny village near the coast, sleep late, play with your children, catch a few fish, take a siesta with your wife and spend your evenings drinking and enjoying your friends…”

And the moral of this story is: know where you’re going in life – you may already be there!

Developing an Organisational KM Strategy

Keith February 17th, 2009

 After a long break (due to appearing to be very busy for some time), back to the blog.  Just a brief note to advise that I will be speaking in Wellington, New Zealand at BrightStar’s 7th Annual Information Management Summit on Tuesday 3 and Wednesday 4 March. The title of my presentation is: Developing Organisation-Wide Knowledge Management Strategy and Incorporating Social Media in the Process.  A brief precis follows: 

This international case study presents the Knowledge Management and Transfer toolkit developed by the Telstra Corporation (Australia) Enterprise & Government KM team.
 
This toolkit was used to capture the product and service knowledge developed by the Product Management teams, and make it available to the business sales force, using an integrated program of content, communications and training initiatives.  This included developing a standard taxonomy, governance processes and templates, with all developed content made available via a single portal.
 
This presentation will focus on the processes used to maintain the currency of content, the use of an open policy and rewards and recognition to promote knowledge sharing, and the use of multiple media to ensure that the needs of the total audience were adequately catered for.

The lessons learned from this development are broadly applicable to knowledge capture and sharing in project teams, organisational changes, enterprise-wide knowledge programs and many other similar situations.

I will also be chairing day two of the conference. 

In other news, my son Scott is in the final stages of planning for a two-month trek on the National Bicentennial Trail with three friends (and six horses). We have set up a new blog for loading stories and photos once the trip commences.  They will be starting at Providence (near Canberra), and the plan is to finish at Knockwood, Victoria.  We will be travelling to meet them at least once during the trip.

So that’s two trips I’ll be doing in March, not counting a few days in Darwin for my mother’s 95th Birthday.  And then there’s the CPA Congress in Newcastle, as well…

What about the workers?

Keith August 28th, 2008

Now everybody wants one:

Mistake makes ‘iPhone girl’ a celebrity

“A Chinese factory worker has become a celebrity after her smiling face was accidentally loaded onto an Apple iPhone and shipped to the other side of the world, her employer has said.

“The unidentified worker flashed a smile and made a peace sign to a co-worker whose job was to test the device’s camera in the southern city of Shenzhen, said a spokesman for Foxconn, which assembles the phones for Apple.  The woman’s colleague apparently forgot to delete the photo from the phone, which was sold to a consumer in Britain, who posted it [to MacRumors.com] on the Internet, Foxconn spokesman Liu Kun told AFP on Wednesday.”

Apparently Apple have no plans to adopt this as standard practice, but this raises an interesting question:

“As one person wrote in an Internet post: ‘It would be great for every Chinese worker who makes your iPhones to take a snap of herself or her factory friends … a hello from a person you would never otherwise meet.  Globalisation in practise.’”

A new social networking technology?

Monkeys – a reflection on how we do things

Keith August 7th, 2008

Start with a cage containing five monkeys.

Inside the cage, hang a banana on a string and place a set of stairs under it.  Also, set up a system of cold water sprinklers over the whole cage.

Before long, a monkey will go to the stairs to climb towards the banana.  As soon as he touches the stairs, spray all of the monkeys with cold water. The monkey will leave the banana alone and try to get away from the water.  Turn off the spray.

After a while, another monkey will make an attempt with the same result. Pretty soon the monkeys will get sick of getting wet, and will stop any of the monkeys from attempting to climb the stairs, even though no water sprays them.

Keep this up for several days.

Now, remove one monkey from the cage and replace it with a new one.

The new monkey sees the banana and wants to climb the stairs. To his surprise, all of the other monkeys attack him. After another attempt and attack, he knows that if he tries to climb the stairs, he will be assaulted.

Next, remove another of the original five monkeys and replace it with a new one. The newcomer goes to the stairs and is attacked. Even the previous newcomer takes part in the punishment with enthusiasm. Likewise, replace a third original monkey with a new one, then a fourth, then the fifth.

Every time the newest monkey takes to the stairs, he is attacked.

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Testosterone

Keith June 26th, 2008

As a counterpoint to the earlier post on my opinion of how to do Change Management, this is an unedited extract of an article about Telstra that appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald on 30 May last year. 

Mr Winn earlier updated business leaders on Telstra’s five-year transformation program…  As well, Mr Winn, who began his career as a linesman in the US, delivered a testosterone-charged description of the new management style at the telco.

“We’re not running a democracy. We don’t manage by consensus,” he said.  We’re criticised for it. The fact of the matter is we run an absolute dictatorship,” he said.

A cultural shift was needed at the former government-owned enterprise, along with changes in business processes, he said.  “If you can’t get the people to go there and you try once and you try twice … then you just shoot them and get them out of the way.”

I offer this without further comment.  Please compare this with the earlier post and tell me which view you think offers the best business result…

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