In the book the The ClueTrain Manifesto, David Weinberger says:
Business is a conversation because the defining work of business is conversation - literally.
And 'knowledge workers' are simply those people whose job consists of having interesting conversations .
It's always struck me that David didn't say productive conversations or conversations with "hard outcomes" - he simply said interesting conversations.
I recently shared this quote with someone and their response was but "to what aim are such conversations?"
This strikes at the heart of the matter - many managers, to my mind most managers, worry that people will spend their time talking about things that are not important.
They feel the need to control or have oversight of the conversations to ensure they are focused on the business and are efficient.
They don't trust people to decide what to talk about - what is relevant - what is important - what is interesting.
My message to managers "Let your people go - they are in a much better position than you to decide what is interesting and what is not."