Gurteen Knowledge Letter: Issue 160 - October 2013


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.

Gurteen Knowledge Letter: Issue 160 - October 2013


  1. Introduction to the October 2013 Knowledge Letter
  2. By the excessive promotion of leadership, we demote everyone else
  3. Euan Semple on curating
  4. A missed opportunity for conversation
  5. Upcoming Events
  6. Gurteen Knowledge Tweets: October 2013
  7. Subscribing and Unsubscribing
  8. The Gurteen Knowledge Letter

Introduction to the October 2013 Knowledge Letter

The Gurteen Knowledge Community Group on LinkedIn continues to grow and has now reached over 4,100 members.

Every so often, someone triggers a great discussion. My good friend Jon Thorne who loves to question things triggered this recent discussion with the following question. Is conversation the most powerful way to share knowledge or the best barrier to knowledge sharing?

Just browsing the discussion and reflecting on the topic, it seems to me that there are a whole range of conversational styles from chit--chat to dialogue to debate to emotional argument. Each of these styles can lead to learning though the learning is heavily influenced by the context of the relationship - in particular how well people trust each other.

But in general:
  • Chit-chat builds relationships.

  • Dialogue reveals assumptions, surfaces new ideas etc

  • Debate determines the truth of a subject but can too easily get emotional and lead to argument.

  • Argument is about winning or losing. In the context of a strong relationship it is not too harmful but lacking that trust, relationships can be so easily destroyed.

So yes,conversation, if it turns to argument can be a barrier to sharing knowledge..

But take a look at the discussion - its quite far ranging with contributions from Nancy Dixon and Nick Milton.

By the excessive promotion of leadership, we demote everyone else

I love the way that Twitter points me to interesting stuff and causes me to Google, think about and research things that I might otherwise have not. I read things that resonate with me and I am almost compelled to follow them up. This re-tweet by Harold Jarche @HJarche was one such provocation:
By the excessive promotion of leadership, we demote everyone else --- Henry Mintzberg – via @flowchainsensei

Googling turned up the full quote and source as follows:
By the excessive promotion of leadership, we demote everyone else.

We create clusters of followers who have to be driven to perform, instead of leveraging the natural propensity of people to cooperate in communities.

In this light, effective managing can be seen as engaging and engaged, connecting and connected, supporting and supported.

I have long had a problem with books, blog posts and articles that are written for leaders ...ones that are titled "How effective leaders do so and so .... ". I like to think we all leaders in our own way, in our own time - that sometimes we chose to lead, other times we chose to follow. Like Mintzberg, I'd much rather we viewed things as "people cooperating in communities than leaders leading the not so charismatic, motivated or informed".

In Googling, I also found a few good YouTube videos of Henry Mintzberg talking about his ideas and I decided to start to curate a Mintzberg playlist. Make sure you check out his Introduction to CoachingOurselves video - so much in common with my Knowledge Cafe concept.

What could be more natural than to see our organizations not as mystical hierarchies of authority so much as communities of engagement, where every member is respected and so returns that respect? (p. 233 – 234)

Euan Semple on curating

This recent blog post on Curatorship from Euan Semple resonated with me so strongly I just had to reprint it.

Note my emphasis in bold. This is what it is all about "curating stuff that appeals to you" - not curating stuff that you think will be of interest to other people. It's helped me make some amazing friends all over the world - many whom I have never met. I think all good bloggers/curators naturally do this.
Many of you will have noticed, either through my Facebook updates or my newsletter, that I like to point to interesting things. Whether stunning images, quirky insights, or ideas that interest me, they are all things that have made me think "Ooh that's interesting."

The things I find interesting say something about me. Shared links are like the clothes you wear, they project an image of yourself that you hope some people will find attractive and be drawn to. This process of curating stuff that appeals to you allows you to be found by people who share your interests. This helps start relationships and build networks. This is how you get to do interesting things with interesting people.

Curatorship adds as much value inside organisations as it does for freelancers like myself. If you don't already have one you need to find a platform on which to carry out and share the results of your own curatorship. It can be as simple as sharing links by email.

Early link blogs were a way of pointing to stuff and saying why it was interesting. Nowadays there are all sorts of tools to curate your stuff from Pinterest to Pinboard, but the principle remains the same.

Take your curatorship seriously, become known for your discernment and as someone who finds good stuff, who adds more signal than noise. Do this and interesting things will start to happen.

A missed opportunity for conversation

One of my community members recently e-mailed me to say that one of the ideas she had proposed to the conference committee of which she was a member was to run a Knowledge Café as an evening event at one of their conferences.

The idea was to tie it in one of the keynote speakers, allowing participants to dig deeper in to the concepts presented by the speaker. A question would be posed by the speaker and tie back to the keynote from earlier in the day. This would in turn tie into an on-line community that would continue the conversation, post lessons learned and insights gleaned from the conference.

Guess what? She was voted down by the other members of the committee. It still amazes me how conservative people are about running Knowledge Cafes or similar conversational events.

The above idea is a perfect way in which to experiment with conversations. If you get the chance to do something like this - grab it!

Upcoming 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.

International Conference on Knowledge Economy icke2013
28 - 30 Oct 2013, Cape Town, South Africa

30 - 31 Oct 2013, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
I will be be giving a talk on the role of the Knowledge Cafe in organizational learning and running a KCafe at the end of the second day.

The 8th International Conference on Knowledge Management (ICKM 2013)
01 - 02 Nov 2013, Montréal, Canada

9th Knowledge Globalization Conference
01 - 02 Nov 2013, Boston, United States

KMWorld 2013
06 - 08 Nov 2013, Washington DC, United States

KM Asia 2013 #KMAsia
12 - 14 Nov 2013, Singapore City, Singapore
I will be running a Knowledge Cafe and a workshop "Conversation: Our most powerful Knowledge Management tool" at KM Asia this year.

KM Russia 2013
27 - 28 Nov 2013, Moscow, Russia
I will be taking part in this conference.

AKISS: ASLIB's Knowledge and Information Strategy Summit
05 - 06 Dec 2013, London, United Kingdom

David Gurteens Kunnskap Café
29 Jan 2014, Oslo, Norway

Gurteen Knowledge Tweets: October 2013

Here are what I consider some of my more interesting Tweets for August to September 2013. 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.

  • Choosing conversations that work for knowledge sharing http://bit.ly/H5vkI2 #KM #KnowledgeCafe

  • Growth is Obsolete: Society needs to realize growth does not equal prosperity http://bit.ly/H5uJGi #SocialGood

  • What did Einstein know about Knowledge Management? http://bit.ly/19LBvKk #KM /love the infographic

  • Conversation is king. Content is just something to talk about http://bit.ly/17lLZOr

  • Your organization's culture is nothing more than what individuals say to each other & what they think to themselves http://bit.ly/15Zgej1

  • RT @EskoKilpi: We are the result of our interaction. We are our relations http://bit.ly/1bw64Ia

  • Culture is conversation. To change the culture, change the conversation http://bit.ly/197sDfA #GurteenTalk

  • Pinky has a "Scary School Nightmare" http://bit.ly/18WKV7b #education #teaching #IvanIllich

  • There's no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance. http://bit.ly/9z0Ei4 /how wrong can a man be!

  • To build support align the initiative to serve the selfish interests of the individuals who will be impacted most! http://bit.ly/1hkAHOV

  • Why conversation is the best way to share knowledge http://bit.ly/19e89HL /thanks @DavidWilcox #KnowledgeCafe #KM

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

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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