Gurteen Knowledge-Letter: Issue 18 - 3rd December 2001


First Published

December 2001


Sheila Moorcroft

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.


Welcome to the 18th Gurteen Knowledge-Letter. I've been writing this
newsletter for 18 months - since the first issue on 18th May 2000.

When I started, I wondered if I would get tired and find the monthly
production a chore. But I haven't - I still very much enjoy the work and
hope to continue for a long time yet. I receive a great deal of feedback
from people saying how much they enjoy the newsletter - this always helps
to keep me going - but more than anything else I write the newsletter for

For me - it is a 'personal knowledge management tool'. It means that my
attention is a little sharper as I look out for material each month. I
also find the k-letter itself a wonderful medium for capturing my thoughts
and ideas - making some of my tacit knowledge more explicit or simply
sharing with you some of the things that I find of value.

I now have over 5,000 readers and hope to double the number to 10,000 in
the coming year. If you have friends or colleagues whom you think would
enjoy the newsletter could I ask you to forward it to them to help me
reach that target!

Knowledge Letter Archive:

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

1 - Story Telling & Stephen Denning
2 - Gluetrain.com
3 - Only Superman or Wonder-woman need Apply?
4 - The 2nd European Most Admired Knowledge Enterprises
5 - Quotation: Life is Difficult
6 - KM Principles: Involve People
7 - Managing Page Deletions on a Website
8 - George Harrison & the Purpose of Life
9 - On Humor and Creativity
10 - KM Events
11 - How to Link to the Gurteen Website

**************** STORY TELLING & STEPHEN DENNING ****************

If you have yet to understand the role of storytelling in KM then there
are a couple of opportunities coming up in the new year in the UK to see
Stephen Denning.

On the 23rd January he is giving a lecture at the RSA (Royal Society for
the Arts) in central London.

On the following day he out at Henley Management College in Oxfordshire
giving a one day seminar jointly run by Bizmedia and Henley on "Harnessing
the force of storytelling in the knowledge organization."

I've seen him speak a couple of times now and he is well worth seeing.

Harnessing the Force of Storytelling in the Knowledge Organisation:


Royal Society of Arts:

************************* GLUETRAIN.COM *************************

So you enjoyed the book "The Cluetrain Manifesto" and the Cluetrain
website. But have you visited gluetrain.com? If you are in the mind for a
humorous interlude - go take a look.

Cluetrain/Gluetrain site:

Cluetrain Manifesto book:

Story: Markets are Conversations:


by Sheila Moorcroft, Business Futures.

Being a Chief Executive (CEO) of a major company has never been more
difficult: soon it may be an impossible task for one person. The range of
tasks and pressures not to mention the necessary skills and knowledge
needed to handle them grows almost daily.

Finding the right person seems to be more problematic with people leaving
after shorter tenure or positions staying unfilled longer. In Sweden, the
average age of CEOs is rising steadily indicating that finding younger
people willing to take on these top jobs may be growing more difficult. In
the UK, the number of FTSE 100 companies with women in the boardroom, let
alone in the top job has fallen for the third year running.

It would appear to be time for a re-think.

Peter Drucker, in the Economist magazine recently, argued that the demands
of the top job would almost certainly be handled by a small team in
future. But it may not simply be the job itself that is the problem. Work
life balance is seen as a prime issue behind the lack of young applicants
in Sweden. In an era or dual income families, work life balance and
sharing family responsibilities has become the norm. Selling your soul to
the corporation becomes even less of an option.

The question in the longer term may be how much damage will be done to
economies and companies alike by the unwillingness of many talented people
to go for top jobs before organizations genuinely change their ways.

Business Futures:




The winners of the 2nd European Most Admired Knowledge Enterprises (MAKE)
study, conducted by Teleos in association with The KNOW Network are:

1. British Petroleum (United Kingdom)
2. Skandia (Sweden)
3. Royal Dutch/Shell (Netherlands/UK)
4. Nokia (Finland)
5. Siemens (Germany)

Take a look at the KNOW Network website to learn more:

***************** QUOTATION: LIFE IS DIFFICULT *****************

"Life is difficult. This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths. It
is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it.
Once we truly know that life is difficult - once we truly understand and
accept it - then life is no longer difficult. Because once it is accepted,
the fact that life is difficult no longer matters."

These thought-provoking words open "The Road Less Travelled" written
almost 25 years ago by M. Scott Peck - then an unknown psychiatrist. It
has gone on to become the second best-selling nonfiction book of all time
after The Bible.

It is one of my favorite quotations and the most popular on my website.
Expecting life to be easy is a paradigm. We expect life to be easy without
ever really questioning the belief. Our behaviors are based on the premise
that life should be easy. If we stop and think about it we know its not
and strangely life becomes easier. Alan Watts in his book the "Wisdom of
Insecurity" says much the same thing. Our quest for security is a hopeless
one. Once we accept that life in insecure, it becomes easier. Funny old

My favorite quotations:

Life is Difficult:

The Wisdom of Insecurity:

***************** KM PRINCIPLES: INVOLVE PEOPLE *****************

It seems to me that there are a small number of principles that underlie
KM. Each month I am proposing one in this newsletter. I will also publish
it in my KM Forum - so if you want to take issue with it - or propose to
tweak it you may! Here is a second principle.

"Involve People." -if you want a KM project to be successful - you need
to involve people.

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

Now in the old command and control days of business, managers could make
workers do as they wished. Manual work and clerical work are visible - you
can monitor people's activity relatively easily. But knowledge or mind
work - is far more difficult.

If a KM system only supports people in their work - if they can chose not
to use it and still get results - then no one can really "make" them use
the new system.

People need to be involved and participate in the design and development
of such systems from the beginning. They need "ownership". Then there is
no problem of "making" anyone do anything - they do it because they choose


Knowledge Management:

************* MANAGING PAGE DELETIONS ON A WEBSITE *************

My website is getting to an age now (2 1/2 yrs) where I'm starting to want
to delete a lot of old material. But this presents a problem.

The pages of my site and indexed by a number of search engines - which
means if I delete a page and someone clicks through to that page from a
search engine - they will get a rather ugly error message.

So what is my solution? Well, I am "soft deleting" the pages. This means
that I mark the page as "soft deleted" and remove all links to it from
other parts of my website. Now when someone clicks through from a search
engine they still get to view the page but a pop up box tells them that
the page is scheduled for deletion. More importantly - when a search
engine next crawls my site - it will find no reference to the soft deleted
pages and thus no longer index them.

If I then physically delete the pages after 6 months or so - it is
unlikely that any search engine will still be pointing to them. I'm afraid
though that I can't do a lot for people who have bookmarked pages - though
my error page is a little more friendly than most.

See 404 Research Lab for handling page errors:

How the Gurteen Website is built:

Search Engines:

************* GEORGE HARRISON & THE PURPOSE OF LIFE *************

I was saddened by the passing away of George Harrison but loved a short
video clip on TV from an old interview with him. This is what he had to
say on "life":

"The purpose of life is to answer the following questions:

Who am I?
Why am I here? and
Where am I going?

For a few more thoughts on the purpose of life see the following quotes:

On the Meaning of Life by Viktor Frankl:

An Unexamined Life by Socrates:

On Life and Speed by Gandhi:

************************** ON HUMOR AND CREATVITY*************************

We all love humor. In the words of the opening chapter of Edward de Bono's
book "I am Right you are Wrong" - "Humour is by far the most significant
behaviour of the human mind".

The great thing about humor other than amusing us - is that it removes
stress and emotional embarrassment. It increases our motivation and
encourages our creativity.

With both creativity and humor, we experience a paradigm shift when we
suddenly see things in a new or different way.

A number of the quotations on my website are humorous ones from Oscar
Wilde to Winston Churchill to Groucho Marx - take a look.

Humorous pages on my site:

Edward de Bono:

I am Right You are Wrong by Edward de Bono

*************************** KM EVENTS ***************************

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

In the UK take a look at the FREE regular CoffeeMachine lecture. On
December 11th. Professor Clive Holtham of the City University Business
School is giving talk on "Slow Company". And on the following day TFPL are
running a one day seminar on Knowledge Management: Lessons from Leaders at
which I am one of the speakers.

In Asia we have Corporate Portals 2002 coming up in Singapore in January.

And in the US - BrainTrust 2002 next February looks like a good event.

Full list of KM related events

The Power Of Story
03 - 05 Dec 2001, Missenden - Buckinghamshire, United Kingdom

Managing KM Projects
10 - 11 Dec 2001, Arlington, United States

Slow Company. A talk by Professor Clive Holtham of the City University
Business School (FREE)
11 Dec 2001, London, United Kingdom

Knowledge Management: Lessons from Leaders
12 Dec 2001, London, United Kingdom

Corporate Portals Asia 2002
10 - 11 Jan 2002, Singapore

How Storytelling Ignites Action In Knowledge-Era Organizations
23 Jan 2002, London, United Kingdom

Harnessing the force of storytelling in the knowledge organisation
24 Jan 2002, Henley, United Kingdom

Lotusphere 2002
27 - 31 Jan 2002, Orlando FL, United States

Corporate Portals Europe
28 - 31 Jan 2002, London, United Kingdom

Braintrust 2002 - The Fourth Annual Knowledge Management World Summit
10 - 13 Feb 2002, San Francisco CA, United States

Online Learning 2002 Europe
04 - 07 Mar 2002, London, United Kingdom

European Business Information Conference
06 - 08 Mar 2002, Madrid, Spain

Divisions and Bridges
13 - 15 Mar 2002, Warwickshire, United Kingdom

The Joy of Work (March 2002)
22 Mar 2002, London, United Kingdom

Knowledge Strategies 2002
01 Apr 2002, Singapore

Knowledge Management 2002
16 - 17 Apr 2002, London, United Kingdom

************** HOW TO LINK TO THE GURTEEN WEBSITE **************

If any of you web-masters or web-mistresses out there would like to link
to my website - I've recently created a page on my site to help you in the
task. If you would like to request that I set up a reciprocal link then
just drop my an e-mail.

To link to my website see:

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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