Archive for the 'Motivation' Category

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.

Continue Reading »

Diversity, creativity and innovation

Keith July 31st, 2008

“Every really good creative person in advertising whom I have ever known has always had two noticeable characteristics. First there was no subject under the sun in which he [sic] could not easily get interested – from, say, Egyptian burial customs to modern art. Every facet of life had fascination for him. Second, he was an extensive browser in all fields of information.”
 - James Webb Young in A Technique for Producing Ideas (1965)

There have been a number of discussions on and off about what makes a good knowledge manager.  In various discussions, I have always been interested to note the amazing range of backgrounds people come from – and usually a somewhat chequered career path – to get to this point.  Personally, I have come via an IT degree, Project Management, Telecoms Consultancy, with a dash of adult learning and communications thrown in.

As “knowledge management” is such a broad church, there are a range of disciplines such as librarianship, information management, content management and IT that you would expect to see, but why are there so many zoologists now working in KM?  I must admit that I haven’t met too many in the field from an advertising background (as per the quote above – highlighted in actKM a while ago), but these fields may well share a preference for diversity – and creativity. 

Continue Reading »

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.

Continue Reading »

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)

Continue Reading »

The Story of Sorry

Keith February 14th, 2008

Kevin Rudd’s apology to the stolen generations yesterday was profound, and very moving.  I think it was also notable that the centrepiece of it was a story.  Just one story, of a single person’s experiences.  Yet this was a powerful way of making the speech something more than platitudes.  It showed a willingness to listen, and to attempt to understand, the experiences inflicted upon our indigenous people by authorities until as recently as the early 1970s.

The speech was attended by all but one of the five living former Australian Prime Ministers.

———————-

The Games was a satirical program shown on ABC TV in Australia in two series in 1998 and 2000.  It was written by John Clarke, Ross Stevenson and others.  Episode 3 of Series 2 (3 July 2000) was significant in that it included the following “Apology from John Howard”. 

While the program was satirical, this particular speech was in its own way moving, and almost as profound.  It was read by the Australian actor John Howard, and can currently be seen on YouTube here.  A full copy of the episode script is here

Continue Reading »

Sorry.

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.

Continue Reading »

Quote of the month

Keith February 1st, 2008

Well, the holiday is over – back in the office again this week.  Now that I am climbing out of the email deluge, time to start posting here again too!

My friends at Anecdote have found another blogging app on Facebook – “Blog Friends”.  Seems to offer some different features to “My Blogs“.  Also seems to be a bit buggy…

And here’s a nice quote:

“Si hoc legere scis, nimium eruditionis habes.”

:-)

Our timid collective age

Keith December 18th, 2007

“There was no filling in of forms, no demanding of a fortnight’s notice in writing, no referring to some remote impersonal authority for a decision, or any other of the devices used by our timid collective age to eliminate the individual equation in life.

“The senior official merely said: ‘Come on, there’s no time like the present.’  No platitude to me has ever sounded more profound and original.”

From Laurens van der Post, in The Lost World of the Kalahari, when in urgent need to fly out for more assistance for filming the expedition.

This was written in 1958.  How much have we learnt about true empowerment in 50 years?

Laugh, eat, drink…

Keith December 17th, 2007

… certainly sounds like the right thing to do at this time of year!  As per an earlier post here, the VPS-CIN ran a Christmas Celebration last Thursday, featuring Humour Australia.  You can read more about what happened on the CIN site. 

Since I attended this session, Troy Swindells-Grose of Humour Australia left some interesting comments on my earlier post.

It was a great session.  Like a lot of these things, it strongly reinforced a lot of what I already knew, and added in some new ideas as well.  I was reminded of one of my favourite quotes:

“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”
 - Mahatma Gandhi

Of course, there is another great Gandhi quote:

Reporter: “Mr Gandhi, what do you think of Western civilisation?”
Mahatma Gandhi: “I think it would be a good idea.”

I was interested to hear about the existence of “laughter clubs” – groups of people that just get together and laugh!  A great way to release endorphins.  During the session, Troy referred instead to “dolphins”, and how when you laugh they swim around and tickle the pleasure centres of your brain…

Continue Reading »

Laughter – the stress medicine

Keith December 10th, 2007

“Creativity and humour are identical.  They both involve bringing together two items, which do not have an obvious connection and creating a relationship.  Laughter improves creativity.  Laughing… is a very sophisticated brain function, which sweeps our entire cerebral cortex, and is terrific for improving mental flexibility.”

This quote is from the web site of Humour Australia, an organisation that “inspires positive change and healthy working relationships.”  (Aka “HA!”)  Thanks to Frank Connelly and the VPS CIN for bringing this to my attention!

This is based on some fairly impressive research.  I am particularly interested in the connection to creativity, bearing in mind earlier posts here about the importance of creativity in knowledge work.

Also interesting to see the research on stress:

“Humour and laughter affect a physiological response, which is actually opposite to the effects of stress, according to Lee Berk & Stanley Tan – Loma Linda University School of Medicine.”

Continue Reading »

« Prev - Next »