by Peter F. Drucker
Self-knowledge isn't just a tool for personal enrichment. In today's knowledge economy, it's crucial for survival.
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We live in an age of unprecedented opportunity: If you’ve got ambition, drive, and smarts, you can rise to the top of your chosen profession—regardless of where you started out. But with opportunity comes responsibility. Companies today aren’t managing their knowledge workers’ careers. Rather, we must each be our own chief executive officer.
Simply put, it’s up to you to carve out your place in the work world and know when to change course. And it’s up to you to keep yourself engaged and productive during a work life that may span some 50 years.
To do all of these things well, you’ll need to cultivate a deep understanding of yourself. What are your most valuable strengths and most dangerous weaknesses? Equally important, how do you learn and work with others? What are your most deeply held values? And in what type of work environment can you make the greatest contribution?
The implication is clear: Only when you operate from a combination of your strengths and self-knowledge can you achieve true—and lasting—excellence.
The Idea in Practice
To build a life of excellence, begin by asking yourself these questions:
“What are my strengths?”
To accurately identify your strengths, use feedback analysis. Every time you make a key decision, write down the outcome you expect. Several months later, compare the actual results with your expected results. Look for patterns in what you’re seeing: What results are you skilled at generating? What abilities do you need to enhance in order to get the results you want? What unproductive habits are preventing you from creating the outcomes you desire? In identifying opportunities for improvement, don’t waste time cultivating skill areas where you have little competence. Instead, concentrate on—and build on—your strengths.
“How do I work?”
In what ways do you work best? Do you process information most effectively by reading it, or by hearing others discuss it? Do you accomplish the most by working with other people, or by working alone? Do you perform best while making decisions, or while advising others on key matters? Are you in top form when things get stressful, or do you function optimally in a highly predictable environment?
“What are my values?”
What are your ethics? What do you see as your most important responsibilities for living a worthy, ethical life? Do your organization’s ethics resonate with your own values? If not, your career will likely be marked by frustration and poor performance.
“Where do I belong?”
Consider your strengths, preferred work style, and values. Based on these qualities, in what kind of work environment would you fit in best? Find the perfect fit, and you’ll transform yourself from a merely acceptable employee into a star performer.
“What can I contribute?”
In earlier eras, companies told businesspeople what their contribution should be. Today, you have choices. To decide how you can best enhance your organization’s performance, first ask what the situation requires. Based on your strengths, work style, and values, how might you make the greatest contribution to your organization’s efforts?
WHAT IS KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT?
An emerging academic discipline and management process that addresses how people, workgroups, and organizations use knowledge principles, processes, technologies, and training to leverage intellectual capital by increasing knowledge flow, organizational learning, innovation, and performance
Knowledge management caters to the critical issues of organizational adaptation, survival, and competence in the face of increasingly discontinuous environmental change.
“Today’s KM processes are contingency planning for tomorrow’s decisions.”
- Alex Bennet, Chief Information Officer for Enterprise Integration for the Department of Navy
KM IN AN ORGANIZATION
KM in a organization is concerned with strategy, processes and technologies to acquire, store, share and secure organizational understanding, insights and core distinctions.
Knowledge management gives priority to the way in which people construct and use knowledge.
Managing knowledge consists of deciding with whom to share, what is to be shared, how it is to be shared, and ultimately sharing and using it.
KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT vs. INFORMATION MANAGEMENT
We can quibble endlessly over what makes "information" different from "knowledge," but the important point is that we should always be trying to add value to what we have by turning data into information and information into knowledge
Managing knowledge is ultimately everyone's job. Virtually every industry today is becoming knowledge-intensive. What your organization knows is clearly one of its only sustainable competitive advantages.
THE DISTINCTION BETWEEN KNOWLEDGE & INFORMATION MANAGEMENT
Working with objects (data or information) is Information Management and working with people is Knowledge Management.
SOME COMMON KM ISSUES:
THE BRAIN DRAIN - LOSS OF INSTITUTIONAL KNOWLEDGE
Do you remember this ?
NEWS FLASH! NASA LOSES PLANS TO SATURN 5 ROCKET
The knowledge drain from the boomer retirement wave already has had some far-reaching consequences. As author David DeLong reports in his book, Lost Knowledge: Confronting the Threat of an Aging Workforce (Oxford Univ. Press, 2004), NASA lost the plans for the Saturn 5 rocket, which was used to launch the lunar landing craft. No one knows where the plans are. DeLong writes:
In an era of cost-cutting and downsizing, the engineers who designed the huge Saturn 5 rocket ... were encouraged to take early retirement from the space program. With them went years of experience and expertise about the design trade-offs that had been made in building the Saturn rockets. Also lost were what appear to be the last set of critical blueprints for the Saturn booster, which was the only rocket ever built with enough thrust to launch a manned lunar payload.
BUSINESS RESPONSE TO THE BRAIN DRAIN
An article in Management Issues – September 2007 stated that research by online recruiter Monster suggests that a mere one in five American companies have a formal strategy in place to capture critical knowledge and experience from older employees approaching retirement and transfer this knowledge to newer employees. To make matters worse, only 12 percent of human resource managers said that knowledge retention was seen as high priority within their organizations - despite the fact that a third of them acknowledge that 20 per cent or more of their workforce will be eligible for retirement over the next few years.
The study suggests that while HR managers may recognize the looming issue of losing institutional knowledge due to retirement, many face barriers to establishing strategies and tactics that could help to pre-empt the problem. The article further stated that concrete steps organizations can take to help mitigate the affects of brain drain include appointing a Chief Knowledge Officer responsible for organizational knowledge.
DO SIMULAR ISSUES EXIST IN YOUR ORGANIZATION? IF SO, YOU SHOULD PUT THE "X-FACTOR" TO WORK FOR YOU. YOU MAY CONSIDER . . .
Implementing programs to identify knowledge assets, sources, and offering knowledge-sharing incentives for employees and incorporate standards in performance reviews. Employing other tactics including leveraging technology – using things like blogs and wikkis to enable employees to redistribute and access organizational knowledge. There are many remedies, and one size does not fit all.
Although the brain drain is a looming problem for employers, it also presents an excellent opportunity for innovative companies to position themselves for better competitive advantage.