Gurteen Knowledge Letter: Issue 202 - April 2017


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Gurteen Knowledge Letter: Issue 202 - April 2017


  1. Introduction to the April 2017 Knowledge Letter
  2. The Mehrabian Myth - another persistent myth
  3. Thinking together: contra-conversations
  4. Empowering conversation in the workplace
  5. Decisions Are Emotional, Not Logical
  6. Gurteen Knowledge Tweets: April 2017
  7. Upcoming Knowledge Events
  8. Subscribing and Unsubscribing
  9. The Gurteen Knowledge Letter

Introduction to the April 2017 Knowledge Letter

Which is better?

"You are only as good as the love you have for other people." or "We are only as good as the love we have for other people."

The first sentence does not include the writer and sounds a little preachy to me. I prefer the later when I write, as it conveys a sense that we are in this world together.

And so in all my writing, I try to use the word "we" rather than "you" though it is not always possible without distorting the English grammar.

From a marketing perspective, the author of this article Marketing Material Tip: Use of “We” vs. “You.” disagrees with me.

When writing informally, as say a blogger - which do you think is best? Which is the more authentic?

I'd love to know your thoughts. I have posted this question on the Gurteen Knowledge Community group on LinkedIn.

Please join the discussion there.

The Mehrabian Myth - another persistent myth

Recently, I pointed out that although the Hawthorne Effect was real - the research that it was based on was flawed - yet we still call it the Hawthorne Effect. So in some ways it is a bit of a myth.

Here is another persistent myth - the Mehrabian Myth.

I would be surprised if you have not heard the statement, often in a training course or at a conference that when we communicate:
  • 55% of the message is conveyed by our body language
  • 38% is conveyed by the tone of our voice
  • and only 7% is conveyed by our actual words
Well, it's just NOT true. It is a misinterpretation of some research conducted by Albert Mehrabian in 1967.

The research is discussed at length here but this little video from Creativity Works explains it concisely

Thinking together: contra-conversations

We all have our beliefs.

Some held firmly; some held not so tightly. Some true, some false. Some we are prepared to change. For others, we are prepared to die.

One of my firmly held beliefs is that if we are going to create a better world, then each and every one of us needs to figure out which of our beliefs are true and which are false. We should be forever questioning everything.

We need to understand better how the world works and the nature of what it means to be human, especially how we think and make decisions. We do this through conversation - by thinking together.

I recognize that many people do not fully hold this belief. They believe that some things are preordained; that they are the way they are; that some things should just not be questioned. Even beliefs such as these are worth talking about, however difficult that might be.

Let's look at an example of different beliefs:

I believe in climate change. Some people don't. I would like to persuade them that climate change is a reality. And they would like to persuade me that I am wrong.

I am open to being proved wrong, and as long as they are open to changing their minds too, I am happy to have a conversation with them. But I don't want a debate. I don't want to argue. Such interactions usually only entrench each other's beliefs.

I would like to have a conversation where we can "think together" and leverage our different views on the subject to gain a better understanding.

I am always looking for ways in which we can do this. Here is one nascent idea.

For the purpose of the discussion, I would like to swap places with the other person. I'd like to "argue" against climate change while they "argue" for it. Wouldn't that be a revolution in how we hold conversations and think together?

I wonder, could I adapt the Knowledge Café process to have such contra-conversations?

Empowering conversation in the workplace

Conversation is not a nice-to-have but a critical competence of a 21st-century organisation. But often we take it for granted and fail to capitalise on the power of conversation to drive performance, transfer learning, build relationships, make better decisions, innovate and more!

On May 11th, I will be taking part in a 1-day workshop on Empowering conversation in the workplace, organized by the Henley Forum

Dr Sharon Varney will start the day by warming people up to the theme and I will follow with a Knowledge Café -- using conversation to help you explore how to empower conversation in your own organisation.

Fiona Hiscocks and Jim Scopes from Sparknow will then consider the issue of "speaking up" – empowering more difficult conversations.

And finally, Vicky Short and Monica Danese-Perrin from Lloyds Banking Group will share how they put people at the heart of their work in embedding Knowledge Management into a fast paced Financial Services organisation that is in the midst of a large scale digital transformation.

Although this is a members' event, a few guest places are available. Contact Marina Hart [email protected] at the Henley Business School if you are interested.

Decisions Are Emotional, Not Logical

If a big part of Knowledge Management is about improving decision making then we should take more notice of fascinating research such as this:

This isn't about liberal verses conservative thinking. It is about how we all think and make decisions. None of us are logical in our thinking and there are clearly many deep emotional influences.

There are no simple answers but here are some ideas how to change false beliefs: How to debunk false beliefs without having it backfire.

And take a look here - the list of our cognitive biases is an extensive one. In this graphic, they are organized into four categories: biases that arise from too much information, not enough meaning, the need to act quickly, and the limits of memory.

And download the free The Debunking Handbook

Gurteen Knowledge Tweets: April 2017

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.

5th International Conference on Innovation and Entrepreneurship 2017
26 - 27 Apr 2017, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

APQC's 2017 Knowledge Management Conference
27 - 28 Apr 2017, Houston, United States

Empowering conversation in the workplace
Thu 11 May 2017, Henley on Thames, United Kingdom

KM Legal UK 2017
24 - 25 May 2017, London, United Kingdom

12th International Conference on e-Learning
01 - 02 Jun 2017, Orlando, United States

KM UK 2017
14 - 15 Jun 2017, London, United Kingdom

ISPIM Innovation Conference
18 - 21 Jun 2017, Vienna, Austria

KM Conference 2017
21 - 24 Jun 2017, Novo Mesto, Slovenia

4th European Conference on Social Media
03 - 04 Jul 2017, Vilnius, Lithuania

Theory and Applications in the Knowledge Economy
12 Jul 2017 - 14 Jul 2016, Zagreb, Croatia

Advanced Course in KM
12 - 13 Jul 2017, Henley on Thames, United Kingdom

KM Australia 2017
01 - 03 Aug 2017, Sydney, Australia

18th European Conference on Knowledge Management
07 - 08 Sep 2017, Barcelona, Spain

12th European Conference On Innovation and Entrepreneurship 2017
21 - 22 Sep 2017, Paris, France

KMO 2017: the Twelfth International Conference on Knowledge Management in Organizations
21 Sep 2017 - 24 Dec 2016, Beijing, China

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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