Posted on January 19, 2009.
I recently had the opportunity to read Geoff Colvin's, Talent is Overrated. With
an attempt to better understand what contributes to excellent performance, Colvin asks the
reader to reconsider their assumptions. According to him, excellent performance
is more than what most people assume is a product of innate ability. Several of the contributing factors Colvin cites are hard work, deliberate practice, goal setting, and the ability to develop intricate mental models of the domain in which one wishes to excel in.
Within an organizational setting, Colvin points out that it is important for both the employee and the supervisor to believe that sucess is attainable. Without this belief, the supervisor may be reluctant to provide the kind of support an employee needs to be successful because they automatically assume failure. Management can choose to improve the odds of success by providing those that they supervise with the optimum learning opportunities that they need to improve their skillset.
I would recommend this book because it challenges the reader to rethink their assumptions about exceptional performance.
Posted in Feature Articles, Seen around
Posted on August 14, 2008.
If you haven’t seen it, this video of Randy Pausch’s "last lecture" will inspire you and give you things to consider about leadership, while you’re listening to him talk about his childhood dreams, enabling the dreams of others, and lessons learned. (1 hr., 16 min.)
Randy Pausch, Ph.D. was a professor at Carnegie Mellon University. In 2006, Pausch was diagnosed with incurable cancer and he died earlier this year. This "last lecture" is humorous, informational, and inspiring. His life was full of lessons the we can learn from, with perhaps the biggest lesson being that you never know what is possible (i.e., the sky is the limit).
Posted in Feature Articles
Posted on December 13, 2007.
In her book, Discovering Your Inner Samurai: The Entrepreneurial Woman’s Journey to Business Success, Susan Reid talks about what is needed to achieve business success, especially for entrepreneurs. In it, she talks about polymaths, who are those people who have multiple streams of passion and are knowledgeable in many areas. Leonardo de Vinci was a classic polymath and what we call a Renaissance man. According to Reid, polymaths are (pp. 90 – 91):
- Terminally curious
- Read widely
- Able to focus for long periods of time on a specific topic
- Fantastic synthesizers
- Great at generating ideas
Gee…sounds like our profession, doesn’t it?!
In looking at her book and thinking about our profession, these other thoughts came to mind…
Information professionals are often well versed in several areas (generalists) and some of us a real subject specialists. We like diversity in our work, although how much diversity can be different from person to person. We are asked to be creative in finding information (right brain) and methodical in some of the other areas of our work (left brain). And while we’re often people who like a good book, we’re expected to be people-persons too. We may not be ask diverse as Leonardo, but in order to be good at our jobs, we do need to have multiple streams of passion. Yes, multiple things that keep us jazzed.
Has you considered yourself like Leonardo di Vinci before? Likely not. And it is likely that you don’t have the range of passions that he had. However, you have some similar qualities! Perhaps it’s time to take a second look at your knowledge and skills, and spend time cultivating those multiple streams of passion that make you perfect for this profession.
Posted in Professional Development, Seen around
Posted on November 27, 2007.
I recently attended a Toronto Chapter event where a panel of knowledge managers presented on KM – and discussed what it takes as a manager to successfully steer a KM project. I think many of their key points don’t apply just to KM but to successful management of any type of project – and especially information projects – and that their definition of what it takes to be a good knowledge manager are EXACTLY the skills it takes to be a good manager – period. What do you think?
Challenges to success:
- Cultural change (and resistance thereto)
- Communication amongst the different departments (or lack thereof)
- Operating without an independent budget (as is often the case) means continually begging and pleading for resources
Suggestions to ensure success:
- Insert yourself into people’s team meetings
- Set up joint meetings (with an agenda!)
- Make sure you tell people what it is you bring to the table
- Be aware of where your resources are going to come from
- Leverage projects which reflect more than one goal
- Make the plan and ask for the money
- Tie your plans to specific business problems
- Don’t blow the business problem out of proportion – do you need a document management system or do you just need policies and procedures for documents
What do you need to be a good KM manager?
- A curiosity about people’s needs
- An understanding of technology
- An ability to forge relationships
- You need to be a good sales person – who can ask probing questions and listen to what clients say and then find the solution
- Marketing skills
- Networking skills
- The ability to keep a database in your mind of who’s working on what and making those connections
- Project management skills – including being able to manage scope
- Business analysis skills
- Business process management skills
Posted in Feature Articles