Sunday, June 11, 2006

Fundamental Motives Profile: A precondition to KM

I quote this from Dinesh Tantri's Organic KM: KM & "Peripheral Vision":
"Before sinking a million dollars into deploying a "workflow enabled collaborative KM system" it makes sense to bring in a business anthropologist to identify all cultural enablers and disablers in the organization. This is crucial because while a Social Network Analysis may bring to surface the disconnect between two groups, for any intervention to have a sustainable impact we need to dig deeper and attack the underlying problems.
To do this we need a trained anthropologist. Remember the devil is in the details (your complex cultural DNA). The results of doing this cultural audit could go a long way in improving overall organizational effectiveness. For instance, the anthropologist may discover that there is a "blame" culture or there is "fear" or that too many executives wear ambition on their sleeves and so on. These pieces of the cultural DNA need to be repaired. Change & adoption are always going to remain a challenge as long as we keep pretending that the next wave of tools and services will solve all our woes. IMHO, knowledge sharing like many other good things in life needs to be an emergent behavior - driven by positive strands in your cultural DNA."
-- Dinesh Tantri
I might like to offer a lil' assistant in how we could learn to understand the people in the company:
1. Do an assessment of their fundamental psychological motives using the Reiss's Profile.
2. Once you have the profiles of your employees, you should know what to do; else you shouldn't be the one that manage your employees. Hey, I'm not the manager here, you are! :)
Happy managing knowledge!

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Reality bites!

Here's a comment to Dinesh, who shares the same interest in knowledge sharing as I do (see Organic KM: Is Social Software Necessary & Sufficient For KM?).
Hi Dinesh,
My original comments were longer, quote mainly from Edgar Schein's work talking about the 3 cultures at work. The way I see most of the modern firms is that the top managers have to report earnings every 3 months! They have to rely on numbers, and they demand numbers from the middle managers. As a result, human related factors are swept under the carpet. Not only because it takes a long time to correct these human-related problems, there're not quantifiable.
Then, along come the sophisticated IT tools... not to mention the "Knowledge Management Consultants" thatsprung up in every corners all of the sudden. Managers are told that they could improve their firm's knowledge-related performance (whatever that is) if they hold on to a specific set of "best practices", regardless of the people who work for them, their strengths and weaknesses, their learning and sharing preferences, all of which are the preconditions tosuccessful KM.
The middle management now have a good and credible expert that they can present to the top management. Itis a job well done as far as the middle managers are concerned. The top managers have the "numbers" they need to present to the board... another job well done. If it ain't work... well, blame the consultants! But that rarely happens, because the consultants may well be the one that do the assessments... a positive ROI is almost certainly a sure thing! Everyone's happy, who cares if the firm can actually learn a lot morethan what it does now?!!
Reality bites!
p/s: I'm currently looking for individuals and companies to participate in a large scale survey. Let me know if you or people you know would be interested.