What a chance!
I always thought that knowledge sharing and information management inside my organisation was left to the basics of organic gardening, that is: chaos, spontaneity and emergence. We always gave more attention to our external projects and clients; rightly so, of course, since our purpose is to work for others… But then you find that you have at times slightly dysfunctional communication internally and ‘pockets of expertise’ somewhat not connected as much as they could. Nothing extraordinary here, we are talking about universal KM challenges, the kind of issues that all organisations are dealing with, to some extent.
What is really interesting in such situations though, most people find work-arounds. As human beings we are resilient, so we adapt. And our work-arounds sometimes fill gaps even better than the policy in place or its absence. The challenge here is to tap into that creative potential, seek, explain and amplify the smart work-arounds already in use in some pockets. The absence of guidance or ailments of frameworks and procedures in place can be very powerful sources of wider innovation – if indeed channelled.
And so it seems I might be able to work on this set of issues for my own organisation, so I am happy to compile a series of questions to interview my colleagues and find out more about the way they carry out their knowledge work and reach personal effectiveness.
After a discussion with my colleague and partner in KM crime (1), I’ve decided to design this questionnaire around a) explicitly seeking their good practices and tips to reach personal effectiveness and b) implicitly finding out how they use information and knowledge to leverage that.
I would love to tap into your collective smart folk brainpower to find more (or fewer) sharper questions:
Reaching personal effectiveness (explicit questions):
- Keeping on top of your field: how do you keep track of relevant information for your field of expertise and how do you keep the knowledge and skills you need sharply up-to-date?
- Planning: How frequently do you plan, on what time horizon and what tools do you use for this?
- Time spending: how do you fill your timesheet and what are your observations?
- Prioritising and making decisions: how do you juggle with multiple activities? How do you prioritise, on what basis, with what outlook?
- Monitoring: how do you monitor your expertise, your work, outputs, outcomes?
Knowledge and information (implicit questions):
- Identifying information and answers: how do you find good questions and identify the information gaps?
- Finding information and answers: Where do you find it? Via who? How?
- Creating knowledge: How do you create it? Where do you record it? Using what systems? How do you find focus and develop a creative environment? Do you create knowledge preferably alone or with others?
- Using information: What do you use information for? Whose information (what sources) do you use? What for (for research, to write articles, to develop proposals etc.)?
- Sharing knowledge: How do you share knowledge, with know, on what channels?
- Documenting and storing information: Do you document discussions and events? What do you document? How and on what systems or devices? Where (on what systems) do you store your information generally? How often do you do that, when exactly (at what moment)? Do you archive your information? How and what for?
For each of these areas, I intend to ask them about their personal advice or tips and tricks and sources of inspiration. In the process, I also intend to raise their awareness about a number of social media tools such as del.icio.us/Diggo, Slideshare, Twitter, Yammer, blogs on WordPress and Blogger, Quora etc.
A subsidiary question will be to ask them who, in their opinion is, the most effective colleague and for what reason. I hope this will really help us boost our information & knowledge processes and understand some homegrown sources of creative and productive inspiration. There should be some very useful lessons to tease out for the rest of you too – I’ll be sure to post here an overview of the key lessons!
For now though, your questions are more than welcome – make it work for you too!
(1) Jaap Pels.