Gurteen Knowledge-Letter: Issue 13 - 25th June 2001


First Published

June 2001

The Gurteen Knowledge Letter is a monthly newsletter that is distributed to members of the Gurteen Knowledge Community. You may receive the Knowledge Letter by joining the community. Membership is totally free. You may read back-copies here.


I read in this month's PC Magazine that according to the research
firm Gartner - up to 30% of employee's time is wasted handling
unproductive e-mails such as gossip, jokes and more. I find it
interesting to note that e-mail is the one technology we have very
readily adopted as knowledge workers but may actually decrease our
productivity rather than enhance it! These findings may be a good
spur to reflect on our own e-mail habits!

*************************** CONTENTS ***************************

1 - Ensuring KM Systems are Used
2 - Motivating Knowledge Workers
3 - Portal KMOL
4 - Stories and StoryTelling
5 - Choosing Online Collaborative Learning Tools
6 - The Five most Visited Books on my Website
7 - People Potential
8 - Events
9 - Recent Additions & Updates to my Website

***************** ENSURING KM SYSTEMS ARE USED *****************

I was at a KM conference recently where a woman in the audience
explained to one of the speakers that her organization had
implemented a IT-based KM system that no one would use. She wanted to
know how they might be made to use it.

I have heard similar questions asked many times. Maybe in the old
command and control days of business you could 'make' workers do as
you wished. And even today when it comes to implementing an IT system
that people have to use to get their job done then you can 'force'
them to use it.

But when it comes to knowledge workers using a KM system that only
supports them in their work - that they can chose to use or not use
and still get results - then you cannot 'make' them use a new system
and you cannot 'make' them change their behaviors.

There are many things that you need to do to ensure that knowledge
workers use a technology-based KM system but by far the simplest and
most obvious is to involve them from the very beginning. Knowledge
workers need to participate in the design and development of such
systems. They need to have 'ownership'.

This was the answer given to the woman at the conference but her
reply was "Oh - but we did not have time for that - management wanted
the system yesterday!"

So what did management get "a system today that no one uses" -

We clearly still have a lot to learn about making KM a reality in our

***************** MOTIVATING KNOWLEDGE WORKERS *****************

While on the subject of getting people to use a KM system - I'd like
to say a little more.

Have you ever noticed the language that is used - questions such as:

"How do we make people use this system?" and

"How do we make people share their knowledge?"

or a recent conference I saw entitled:

"Getting People to Perform During Difficult Times"

or a presentation on:

"incentives and motivators to share knowledge"

Pick up any brochure on KM or any article or book on HR management
and the language will be the same. It may be subtle - it may be overt
but the underlying tone is clearly about manipulating workers to do
what you would like them to do.

It is an out-dated paradigm as far as knowledge workers are
concerned. As knowledge workers we have minds of our own. Its what we
are paid for after all. We are not stupid - we recognize when we are
being manipulated and being human we resist.

If KM is ever going to be hugely successful then we must learn to win
people's commitment through involvement and by helping each other to
increase our AWARENESS and UNDERSTANDING of the organization and its
needs. Then maybe we will not have to try to "MAKE" anyone do

************************** PORTAL KMOL **************************

I recently discovered "portal KMOL" - a website dedicated to
Knowledge Management and Organizational Learning. It is run by Ana
Neves and although it is mainly directed to the Portuguese-language
community - the content being in Portuguese - more and more of the
content is in English. If you visit the site there is a link from the
home page to the English section.

What makes the site a little different - apart from being in
Portuguese - is that it is updated monthly and you can subscribe to a
free alert service that informs when it is updated.

Recent articles (in English) include an interview with Etienne Wenger
(Communities of Practice) and a very interesting account of a recent
meeting of Henley's Knowledge Management Forum at which several
people presented including Tony Buzan. Tony Buzan is one of the
world's leading experts in thinking and learning.

Portal KMOL

******************* STORIES AND STORYTELLING *******************

I've seen David Snowden of IBM and Steve Denning of the World Bank
present a few times on the subject of storytelling but for some
reason the idea has never quite taken root in my mind. But I recently
saw Steve present at the Henley Knowledge Management Forum and he
caught my interest.

I'm now inspired! and have created a new storytelling category and
story section on my website. If you have any good true stories
relating to KM, leaning or anything in keeping with the essence of my
site - drop me an e-mail and if appropriate I'll publish it.




One of my favorite sites is the TrainingZone. It is packed full of
useful training and educational material. Here is a useful link to
resources on the site that will allow you to find out more about
"collaborative learning tools" which enable you to share files,
whiteboard, and conference call with other people in different
locations. They're great for virtual team meetings, presentations and
for delivering learning sessions online.


Collaborative Learning Tools:


I recently took a look at my website to determine which books had
received the most hits. Here are the top five in order - all of them
have been published for ten years or more and are multi-million best
sellers. I was not too surprised to find that the list pretty much
corresponded with my own favorites!

Click through from my site to Amazon and take a look at the reviews.
What I like about the Amazon reviews is their diversity - some people
love the books - some people hate them. The Road Less Travelled, I
recently read is second only in sales to the Bible but you would
never believe it browsing the reviews.

Here is an example of two reviews from the opposite end of the
spectrum of Zen & the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by two readers in
the UK. I still cannot stop laughing

Reviewer: A reader from Hertfordshire
Let's get one thing straight. I love reading. I love books. 1 or 2 a
week is my normal diet. I have shelves full of them. Then came ZEN.
OK, I fell for the hype. I read the reviews about how it changes your
life etc. and fell for it. I read it from cover to cover and found it
about as interesting as damp cardboard. If only the rating system
gave you a chance to give it no stars. If you want to enrich your
life spend the money on something more worthwhile than this badly
written, pretentious rubbish. It's the first book I've thrown away in

***** Amazing! The 2nd best book on philosophy that I've read!
Reviewer: A reader from Scotland
What can I say? This book is a masterpiece and I wish it had been a
specified text at school!

I guess ground-breaking books are going to get mixed reviews - but
frankly I love them - even when I do not necessarily totally agree
with them.

The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey

Awareness by Anthony de Mello

Zen & the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

Man's Search for Meaning by Victor Frankl

The Road Less Travelled By Scott Peck

*********************** PEOPLE POTENTIAL ***********************

The impact made by people in organizations is of paramount
importance. Slowly, albeit very slowly this is being realised. In
September and November of this year, Unicom Seminars in the UK are
running a week long "People Potential Series". Day long seminars and
workshops include:

+ Leading from the Inside with Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) by
Garry Ingram
+ The Effective Knowledge Worker by David Gurteen
+ New Rules for New Leadership by Mike Bagshaw
+ Emotional Intelligence in Business by Garry Ingram
+ Meeting the Challenge of Change by Sheila Moorcroft
+ Changing the Way we Change by John Bristow
+ Appreciative Inquiry By Lara Friedman

Go take a look!

People Potential Series I:

People Potential Series II

**************************** EVENTS ****************************

Here is s short list of some of the more interesting KM related
events coming up in the next 6 months or so:

Full list of KM related events:

KM Asia 2001
18 - 20 Jul 2001, Singapore

People Potential Series I
10 - 14 Sep 2001, London, UK

The Effective Knowledge Worker I
11 Sep 2001, London, UK

The O'Reilly Peer-to-Peer Conference
17 - 20 Sep 2001, Washington DC, US

Knowledge, People and Power (Montreal)
19 - 21 Sep 2001, Montreal, Canada

Richmond Group Conference 2001
06 Oct 2001, Denham Uxbridge, UK

The 2nd European Conference on Knowledge Management
08 - 09 Nov 2001, Bled, Slovenia

People Potential Series II
19 - 22 Nov 2001, London, UK

The Effective Knowledge Worker II
20 Nov 2001, London, UK

KM Europe 2001
27 - 29 Nov 2001, Den Haag, Netherlands

Knowledge, People and Power (London)
28 - 30 Nov 2001, London, UK

Lotusphere 2002
27 - 31 Jan 2002, Orlando FL, US

If you are interested in Knowledge Management, the Knowledge Café or the role of conversation in organizational life then you my be interested in this online book I am writing on Conversational Leadership
David Gurteen

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