Gurteen Knowledge Letter: Issue 187 - January 2016


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Gurteen Knowledge Letter: Issue 187 - January 2016


  1. Introduction to the January 2016 Knowledge Letter
  2. Do you have listening difficulties?
  3. Watch Bowie perfectly predict the internet's impact on music and society 15 years ago.
  4. Transforming decision making meetings
  5. Ten questions for work that matters
  6. A Knowledge Cafe for 100 people
  7. Leave nothing but footprints - don't try to dent the universee
  8. Gurteen Knowledge Tweets: January 2016
  9. Upcoming Knowledge Events
  10. Subscribing and Unsubscribing
  11. The Gurteen Knowledge Letter

Introduction to the January 2016 Knowledge Letter

Well I hope 2016 has got off to a great start.

I have spent a lot of time this month working on my book on Conversational Leadership and the Knowledge Café but still have a long way to go. If you have any successful or even not so successful stories about knowledge cafes or world cafes you have run yourselves I'd love to hear from you - especially creative ways in which you have adapted the basic process for different purposes.

Do you have listening difficulties?

We all appreciate the benefits of listening such as listening to ignite other people's thinking But most of us are not that good at it.

As Stephen Covey points out we tend to listen with the intent to reply rather than to understand or we fall into the trap of ditting other people's stories or we start to judge or evaluate what they have to say. There are many techniques that we can learn to improve our listening ability such as empathic listening. But there is a fundamental problem with listening that Patrick Callaghan pointed out to me after my recent post on ditting.

Even if we can withhold judgement and although we may be genuinely intent on listening, how ever hard we try to listen, the instant a spark of a response enters our heads we stop listening and start to compose our response silently in our mind. It is hard not to do this, it's a conversation after all and we are afraid that when it comes our turn to speak we will have nothing to say or have forgotten our earlier ideas or that we may be somewhat bumbling in our response if we have not rehearsed it in our heads.

On the surface this may seem like an insurmountable barrier to really listening to someone. But maybe it is easier then we think.

Let go!

Just drop all intention of replying at any point in the conversation and simply listen and when those responses pop into your head ignore them.

Then when there is a pause in the conversation and it makes sense to respond just go with it in real-time.

I realize this takes some confidence and trust that you won't make a bumbling fool of yourself and there may be longer silences between taking turn in the conversation and you may not even get to say much but then you are trying to listen after all. And in any case short periods of silence where everyone can reflect on things can only be good.

Watch Bowie perfectly predict the internet's impact on music and society 15 years ago.

Watch David Bowie in an interview with Jeremy Paxman on BBC Newsnight predict the potential of the internet way back in 1999

"We are living in total fragmentation ..."

"The audience is at least as important as who ever is playing ..."

And in this interview he was as much a philosopher as he was a musician.

Transforming decision making meetings

How many times have you taken part in a meeting to make a decision about an issue where they have been two factions in the room?

The first faction have already made up their minds what the decision should be and see the meeting as a means of coercing the others in the room to agree with them while the second faction wish to explore the issue further before making the decision.

The two groups do battle and it is usually the ones who have made up their minds ahead of time who win. This group tends to comprise the more senior managers, the more dominant characters and those who are used to getting their way.

In my corporate life, I experienced this many times. They were painful affairs.

But it need not be like this. There is a simple solution. Split the meeting into two parts.

The first part is a dialogue: exploring the issues with no predetermined outcome in mind other than to better understand the issues. This can be run as a whole group discussion but is better run to the Knowledge Café format.

The second part is more of a debate: actually making the decision. This can be as passionate and as heated as any meeting where a tough decision needs be taken but the in-depth exploration has been got out of the way.

You go into the fist part saying “We are going to take some time to explore and discuss the issues – to gain a better understanding of the situation. We are not going to make a decision and it is important that everyone's voice is heard”.

You then go into the second part by saying “Look we have spent time exploring the issues, you have all had your opportunity to contribute to the discussion but at the end of the day we need to make a decision. Time for dialogue is over – we must now make a decision.”

The gap between the two meetings could be a tea break or a morning and afternoon session or better still several days where people have the time to have side conversations and explore some of the issues further. It may even make sense to have two or more dialogue sessions if the decision warrants the time taken.

Try it, like here. It is such a simple thing to do.

Ten questions for work that matters

I do love Seth Godin's blog - almost every post is short and a gem. Here is a recent one
Ten questions for work that matters

What are you doing that's difficult?
What are you doing that people believe only you can do?
Who are you connecting?
What do people say when they talk about you?
What are you afraid of?
What's the scarce resource?
Who are you trying to change?
What does the change look like?
Would we miss your work if you stopped making it?
What do you stand for?
What contribution are you making?

Hints: Any question that's difficult to answer deserves more thought. Any answers that are meandering, nuanced or complex are probably a symptom of something important.

Go on - take a moment now - run through the questions in your head and try to briefly answer each one.

A Knowledge Cafe for 100 people

I promised a detailed description of a Knowledge Café that I ran for Johnson & Johnson in Ireland last November for 100 people - well actually 4 concurrent Cafes in one room.

Here you go. Let me know if I can run one for you :-)

Leave nothing but footprints - don't try to dent the universee

Dave Winer says Leave nothing but footprints. I've always wanted to help improve the world, so in many ways I disagree with him but I can see where he is coming from. There is an argument that says the Universe is just OK as it as and could not be any other way and that problems only exist in the human mind.

Should I really just try "to do something nice that won't change anything in any lasting way"?

No, I need to try to do more. I may make things worse (in some small way - hard to see I am going to have a big impact for the better or the worse) but is not in me to observe and do nothing.

How do you feel?

Gurteen Knowledge Tweets: January 2016

Here are some of my more popular recent tweets. Take a look, if you are not a Tweeter, you will get a good idea of how I use it by browsing the list of micro-posts.

If you like the Tweets then subscribe to my Tweet stream.

Upcoming Knowledge Events

Here are some of the major KM events taking place around the world in the coming months and ones in which I am actively involved. You will find a full list on my website where you can also subscribe to both regional e-mail alerts and RSS feeds which will keep you informed of new and upcoming events.

Asian Symposium on Creativity & Innovation Management
21 - 26 Feb 2016, Bangkok, Thailand

KM Iran 2016
23 - 24 Feb 2016, Tehran, Iran

Henley Forum 16th Annual Conference
24 - 25 Feb 2016, Henley on Thames, United Kingdom

IntraTeam Event Copenhagen
01 - 03 Mar 2016, Copenhagen, Denmark

The 9th Annual Global Learning Summit
07 - 09 Mar 2016, Singapore, Singapore

International symposium of new methods of Knowledge Management & Communication
Tue 08 Mar 2016, Tehran, Iran

APQC's 2016 Knowledge Management Conference
25 - 29 Apr 2016, Houston, United States

KM Legal 2016
18 - 19 May 2016, London, United Kingdom

KM UK 2016
15 - 16 Jun 2016, London, United Kingdom

3rd European Conference on Social Media ECSM 2016
12 - 13 Jul 2016, Caen, France

17th European Conference on Knowledge Management
01 - 02 Sep 2016, Belfast, Ireland

Subscribing and Unsubscribing

You may subscribe to this newsletter on my website. Or if you no longer wish to receive this newsletter or if you wish to modify your e-mail address or make other changes to your membership profile then please go to this page on my website.

The Gurteen Knowledge Letter

The Gurteen Knowledge-Letter is a free monthly e-mail based KM newsletter for knowledge workers. Its purpose is to help you better manage your knowledge and to stimulate thought and interest in such subjects as Knowledge Management, Learning, Creativity and the effective use of Internet technology. Archive copies are held on-line where you can register to receive the newsletter.

It is sponsored by the Henley Forum of the Henley Business School, Oxfordshire, England.

You may copy, reprint or forward all or part of this newsletter to friends, colleagues or customers, so long as any use is not for resale or profit and I am attributed. And if you have any queries please contact me.

Gurteen Knowledge
Fleet, United Kingdom

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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