Gurteen Knowledge Letter: Issue 173 - November 2014


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 173 - November 2014


  1. Introduction to the November 2014 Knowledge Letter
  2. There is nothing new about the Knowledge Cafe or is there?
  3. Thoughts on conversation from Moscow
  4. More KM Videos from eClerx Services
  5. Award for running a Knowledge Cafe
  6. Gurteen Knowledge Tweets: November 2014
  7. Upcoming Knowledge Events
  8. Subscribing and Unsubscribing
  9. The Gurteen Knowledge Letter

Introduction to the November 2014 Knowledge Letter

It has been a busy month and hence my apologies for a very late and rather short newsletter this month.

Four great trips: but no more travel until the new year.

If you are interested you can view my presentation on Conversational Leadership at KM Russia here.

There is nothing new about the Knowledge Cafe or is there?

There is nothing new about the Knowledge Café or is there?

When people say that something is not new, they usually mean that they are familiar with the concept and its in common practice.

To my mind, when this objection is levelled at the Knowledge Cafe - it means that they do not fully understand it.

When I look at how organizations operate and the behaviours of people in organizations - it is quite apparent that people are either not aware of the fundamental principles and the power of good conversation or they understand them but do not to change their way of doing things either out of habit, laziness or choice.

Why in meetings and presentations are we still so dependent on Powerpoint? Why is the dominant format of a talk, a long presentation with lots of Powerpoint slides and a very short time for Q&A? Why is no time included for reflection and no time for conversations amongst the participants in order for them to engage with the topic or issue? Why do we insist on talking at each other rather than with each other.

Why is the dominant layout of our meeting rooms: either lecture style or large tables, when we know from experience and observation that these layouts are not conducive to good conversation? The research shows that good conversations take place in small groups of 3 or 4 people sitting around a small round table or even no table at all.

Why in meetings, especially those where the people do not know each other well, do we not allow time for socialisation and relationship building before getting down to business when again the research shows that such socialisation improves people's cognitive skills. Why are circles rarely used in meeting's when the research and our own personal experience demonstrates their power?

Why do managers and facilitators seek to control meetings so tightly and are afraid of negative talk or dissent. By surpressing people's fears, doubts and uncertainties - you do not eliminate them - you just drive them underground. Peter Block says "Yes" has no meaning if there is not the option to say "No". You need to bring people's doubts and fears out into the open and talk about them at length.

And why when we know from research that group intelligence relates to how members of a team talk to each other. That it depends on the social sensitivity of the group members and on the readiness of the group to allow members to take equal turns in the conversation. And that groups where one person dominates are less collectively intelligent than in groups where the conversational turns are more evenly distributed, do we allow the same old people to dominate the conversations in our meetings and do nothing to encourage the quieter ones to engage and speak up.

The Knowledge Cafe may not be totally new but it addresses all these issues and more but as a conversational method is still sadly very poorly adopted.

In fact in many organizations conversation is seen as wasting time. But slowly this is changing. More and more people are starting to understand the power of conversation and take a conversational approach to the way that they connect, relate and work with each other. They see themselves as Conversational Leaders.

Thoughts on conversation from Moscow

One of the things I like about conferences is that they trigger thoughts and ideas in my head as I listen to the speakers. Interestingly, the thoughts often have little to do with the subject of the speaker.

Usually I just make notes of these thoughts in my note book but at KM Russia 2014 in Moscow. I decided to tweet a few of them.
  • A thought: Conversation is a simple tool for making sense of a complex world.
  • Another thought: We should not try to control the outcomes of a conversation but let the conversation take us where it wants to go.
  • A thought: Conversation is a powerful tool for helping us challenge our existing mindsets.
  • A thought: get older managers to have open conversations with their youngest employees to learn about social tools and new mindsets.
  • Thought: we inspire each other through conversation.
  • Thought from #kmrussia It's not that communication is key. Conversation is key!
Clearly my mind was focused on the power of conversation.

More KM Videos from eClerx Services

eClerx Services now have 45 videos with interviews from leading KM practitioners from India and the world. Here are the lastest four:

Award for running a Knowledge Cafe

Now this I like :-)

Recognition for Knowledge Management - thanks to David Gurteen

Congratulations Gavin!

Anyone else running Knowledge Cafes - let me know how you are getting on.

Gurteen Knowledge Tweets: November 2014

Here are some of my favorite recent intersting 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.

KM Legal Europe 2015
28 - 29 Jan 2015, Amsterdam, Netherlands

7th Iranian Knowledge Management Conference
17 - 18 Feb 2015, Tehran, Iran

3rd International Conference on Innovation and Entrepreneurship
19 - 20 Mar 2015, Durban, South Africa

7th European Conference on Intellectual Capital
09 - 10 Apr 2015, Cartagena, Spain

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

Follow me on Twitter

How to contact me

My Blog

Gurteen Knowledge Community
The Gurteen Knowledge Community
The Gurteen Knowledge Community is a global learning community of over 21,000 people in 160 countries across the world.

The community is for people who are committed to making a difference: people who wish to share and learn from each other and who strive to see the world differently, think differently and act differently.

Membership of the Gurteen Knowledge Community is free.
Knowledge Community


request help
visitor book
Saturday 25 May 2024
11:38 PM GDT