Archive for the 'Culture' Category

The idea monopoly?

Keith June 24th, 2008

When leaders learn to creatively engage their subordinates in everyday decision making, they can make change happen.

I have written here before about Change Management.  I am still of the opinion that this is an entirely misunderstood function in most of today’s organisations.  It was thus rather refreshing to read in the current issue of IABC’s Communications World magazine that someone has actually done some research that supports my view!

The quote above is from John Smythe, the author of the article Engaging Employees to Drive Performance.  (This is available to IABC members online at the magazine site above.)

The usual concept of change is that it is “done” by executives (usually aided and abetted by consultants).  We have more recently introduced the discipline of Change Management as a way of helping people to adapt to the agreed change.  Today, we focus more on Employee Engagement as a way of more actively getting staff involved in understanding the change, rather than just being told about it after the fact.

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Where Underpants Come From

Keith June 19th, 2008

Just heard an interesting interview on the radio.  The subject was Joe Bennett, who has recently published a book called: Where Underpants Come From.  You can read more about the book in an article in New Zealand’s Dominion Post.

Apparently, Bennett looked at the “Made in China” tag in his new undergarments one day, and decided to find out more.  This led him on a rather strange journey to China, and into Chinese history.

The thing that caught my attention was a story he told of one incident during the journey.

As I remember the story, he was eating in a small restaurant in a lane-way in a Chinese city.  He was the only tourist in the restaurant, among 30 or 40 Chinese customers. The others in the restaurant fairly quickly noticed his entire lack of ability to eat with chopsticks.  He was “spreading food all over the restaurant, and not eating anything”.  Everyone was very good-natured about it, and some began to laugh at his predicament.  He laughed with them.  One came over and gave him instructions on eating with chopsticks.

By the end of the meal, even though he spoke almost no Chinese, and the other diners little English, they were all laughing and joking together. When he left the restaurant, everyone said goodbye to him.  The waitress even followed him out onto the street to return his tip.

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A new journey begins

Keith April 7th, 2008

“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door.  You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.”  – J. R. R. Tolkien

Where does the KM function ideally belong in an organisation?  This is the topic of a recent discussion on actKM.  I have been working in KM in Telstra for about eight years.  The role of my team is to make it easy for our business sales people to access the knowledge they need to sell our products, services and solutions.  Over this time, the migration of the team through the organisation has been as follows:

  • Sales (in a specialist sales/technical area)
  • Marketing
  • Sales (in “Sales Programs”, with the communication group)
  • Marketing (with the Campaign Build function)
  • Business Operations (for six months, where I was the only member of the original team remaining)
  • Sales Excellence (with the Sales communications, training and other support groups)
  • Enterprise Learning (over the last six months or so)

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Keith February 14th, 2008

I move:

That today we honour the indigenous peoples of this land, the oldest continuing cultures in human history.

We reflect on their past mistreatment. We reflect in particular on the mistreatment of those who were stolen generations – this blemished chapter in our nation’s history.

The time has now come for the nation to turn a new page in Australia’s history by righting the wrongs of the past and so moving forward with confidence to the future.

We apologise for the laws and policies of successive parliaments and governments that have inflicted profound grief, suffering and loss on these our fellow Australians. We apologise especially for the removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families, their communities and their country.

For the pain, suffering and hurt of these stolen generations, their descendants and for their families left behind, we say sorry.

To the mothers and the fathers, the brothers and the sisters, for the breaking up of families and communities, we say sorry.

And for the indignity and degradation thus inflicted on a proud people and a proud culture, we say sorry.

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Song and dance act…

Keith November 21st, 2007

As mentioned before, I presented at the Ark Group Promoting a Culture of Knowledge in the Public Sector conference last week, in a “double act” with Matt Moore.  It seems that this was well received by the group.  We got some really positive feedback, including:

  • … presentation was fantastic.  Raised some really good examples and issues to do with the various technologies.  I’ll take a fair bit away from this presentation.
  • Great tag team.  Nice energy and great content.  Well done.

It’s great to get feedback like this – and it also raises a question.  I can’t say that I have often seen presentations with two presenters tag-teaming in quite the way we did.  We swapped speaking several times during the 90 minutes, each addressing specific topics, but also backing each other up on discussions, etc. 

Is this something we should see more of at conferences?

Other things from the conference – the ABC “Knowledge Pool” was interesting.  There is a demo of this available on the Australian Flexible Learning Framework site.  What is it?

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Innovation and competitive advantage

Keith November 18th, 2007

A couple of quotes from the Ark Group Promoting a Culture of Knowledge in the Public Sector conference:

“In the global race for innovation, it’s not as much about leveraging what’s inside your factories’ machines as what’s in your employees’ heads.”
 - John Seeley Brown

“The ability to learn faster than your competitors may be the only sustainable competitive advantage.”
 - Arie de Geus

Where is the context? (And another event)

Keith November 7th, 2007

A belated note from the Enterprise Change Management conference in KL at the end of August:

“The context for most structured data lies in unstructured data.  The IT industry has come a long way in managing structured data, but has a long way to go yet in managing unstructured data.  The two are handled totally separately.” 

 - Alan Pelz-Sharpe, CMS Watch


Next week, I will be in Sydney at two conferences for Ark Group: Driving Effective Intranet Delivery in the Public Sector and Promoting a Culture of Knowledge in the Public Sector.  I am talking about Maintaining the currency and accuracy of content at the first of these, and Using social media to engage stakeholders and the community at the second – a late inclusion in the program.

After realising that Matt Moore and I would be somewhat overlapping in our content, we are now planning a double act – should be a bit of fun!

If you are in Sydney, and would like to catch up, drop me a line!

Small is the New Big

Keith September 12th, 2007

Just got a newsletter from Helen Paige of The Paige Group.  (We met at KM Australia recently.)  She included some great ideas from Seth Godin’s book. 

Godin advises us to “Relax.  Don’t work so hard.  Take a little time off.  Chill out!”  So how do we get everything done?  Godin says, “there’s no correlation between success and hours worked”.  He suggests:

  • Maybe the new economy does not favour the speed-to-market; first-mover-advantage, winner-takes-all mind set.
  • Maybe it’s time to re-evaluate this work ethic.
  • Maybe the current marathon work culture is nothing but an excuse to avoid making the hard decisions.
  • Maybe work expands to fill the time allotted for it.
  • Maybe understanding the key issues and making decisions about how to act on them can be the secret to success.

… which leads to these questions:

  • How would you rate your corporate work ethic?
  • How is your time-management?
  • How well do you understand the key issues your best clients are facing?

Romp around Melbourne

Keith September 3rd, 2007

And now for something completely different – Australia’s hottest new event has arrived!

Part Treasure Hunt, part Amazing Race, part Puzzle, part History & Culture lesson, the Go for your life/Yarra Trams Melbourne City Romp will see 15,000 Melburnians Romping the streets of the city on Sunday 14 October. 

Entries for the Romp opened on 22 August, and over 1,000 people have already entered, with almost $15,000 raised for Burnet Institute in just the first six days. 

Entry categories include Family & Friend Romp, Corporate Romp, University Romp and Schools Romp, and there’s $100,000 worth of prizes on offer.

See the Romp web site for full details.

The digital tribe

Keith July 27th, 2007

Some more thoughts from KM Australia

  • One of the speakers (I didn’t note which one!) gave a brief case study of the new employee using instant messaging to contact her friends outside the company for help with IT and other issues, because she knew that she would get an easier and quicker response than using internal support services.  Cheryle Walker from NAB talked about the learning team that uses a wiki set up outside the firewall, as they couldn’t get what they needed internally.  After having worked in a pure IT role for about five years some time ago, I am coming to have some sympathy for the Dilbert view of the “Preventer of Information Systems”.
  • The personalisation of value creation is happening.  Apparently over 13,000 people in Deloitte are now using Facebook.  Is this yet another example of people working outside organisations to get things done?  I would be interested to know more about what they are actually doing with it, and what the benefits are…
  • David Snowden took great delight in stirring us all up with his opening keynote.  As mind expanding as ever!  It was interesting watching how other speakers coped with some of David’s thoughts.  Another variation on “I only know what I know when I need to know it”:  the problem with building a knowledge-sharing culture is that critical knowledge can only be shared at the time that it is needed.  To me, this highlights more than ever the need to facilitate connections between people.

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