May 06, 2012

Transferable skills

I thought at the end of the module that I didn’t learn that much about knowledge management and how to apply it for an effective management of assets within organisations, but after raising this issue to Paul during the module review I realised that we learned quite a lot, not about the module only but about many things and some other learning points which we previously had like leadership, team learning, time management, presentation skills, and other relevant stuff and transferable skills.

What really makes me passionate about this is the creativity of this learning style and how it prepare us for the real life cases where it doesn’t really differ that much from what we are really experiencing, but at the same time we are aware that the real world is not safe, and it is very hard and difficult and sometime frustrating to apply what we really learnt.

It’s not what you really know but the way you will communicate it, and how you will send the message to convince the other party whether they were your company or your clients, those little bits really matters and makes the difference.

Different Types of Knowledge Organisations

There are three different types of organisations which I know so far which goes under the category of knowledge management: knowledge intensive organisations, knowledge based organisations and learning organisations.

I am sure that those three types have common characteristics between them, at the same time there has to be some differences between them, and that is what I really want to know, the thin line which differentiate them from each other. We went through learning organisations in different modules but we didn’t have the chance to go in depth about knowledge intensive organisations.

I have tried to search on this topic but I didn’t really find anything which might answer my question. I forgot to ask Paul about this, and I do hope he could answer me on this topic.

Ignorance Management

Going through the literature of knowledge management, I came by something called “Ignorance Management”. In the first place, I thought it is the opposite of knowledge management, but actually IM and KM are the two sides of the same coin. However, perceiving knowledge management in a different way might be much better, as for instance, there is always much more to learn, and manage what organisations don’t know is just better than managing what they currently know. I know it is of big importance to create, exploit, collect and share what they know, but more critically is to be aware that there is a limit for knowledge and organisations cannot know everything.

Ignorance management is based on the idea that organisations must always seek for knowledge they don’t have, because assuming that the knowledge they have is enough is not a good sign of management, and ignoring this fact might leave the organisation behind its competitors. Therefore it is not about managing the current knowledge within organisations only but adopting a culture of transparency and awareness of organisational ignorance.

May 05, 2012

Learning Organisations & Knowledge Management

With regard to our mini – project, I was wondering about which comes first in application, is it the principles of learning organisations or knowledge management?

The whole point of knowledge management is to make sure that the knowledge present in an organisation is applied productively for the benefit of that organisation, and as a result this what makes a learning organisation, but managing knowledge effectively within organisations requires a culture where organisations could identify, capture and store critical knowledge, and this could be done by adopting the five disciplines of Senge’s organisational learning.

So is it knowledge management that drives an organisations towards a learning organisation, or is it the characteristics that organisational learning have that makes an effective knowledge management system within an organisation.

Definitely, the two terms overlap, and organisations are in such need for both of them, and from my point of view, I think that those two are applied in parallel, and each one is the end result for the other.

April 26, 2012

Customer Service & Knowledge Management

One of the main things that differentiate companies is there customer service. In this regard, how could we link customer service to knowledge management? Well first of all knowledge management provides a better customer service in terms of quality, time and the right information. It is all about the knowledge asset, strategy and the process within a company in which the customer service fits in.

What brought this into my mind is what I have experienced recently with a bank and a telecommunication company, it was completely a waste of time and it really got on my nerves. I don’t want to go into details, but the customer service was trashy from my own perspective as a customer. And this reminds me of what Tom Peters said: “American management is out of touch with its customers, out of touch with its employees, out of touch with its suppliers. Other than that, it is in pretty good shape”. This also might be applicable on some aspects in the UK business concerning customer service.

There can be no doubt that knowledge management could improve the customer service in any organisation as it could provide for an instance :

  • The ability of the customer care agents to solve problems and take initiatives, and by sharing the knowledge and experience within the pool of those involved in the process.
  • A better quality of customer service. Getting the right answer without being put on hold or transferred to another customer support.
  • A good standardisation of the quality and ensure the consistency of service.

One of main important factors is sharing knowledge and experiences, creating a safe learning environment within the company. Shrewdly, this will transform the organisation into a learning organisation and into a knowledge intensive organisation where people can feel safe to share openly and take risks, provide a continuous learning on an individual and group level, and where people master their speciality to satisfy the stakeholders or the internal and external customers.

April 21, 2012

Decision Making Skills

One of the most important skills in business is problem solving and decision making skills at all levels of the organisation especially for managers and leaders. Most of the job announcements require decision making skills; job interviews quite involve behavioural case studies related to decision making and problem solving to test the capability and the competence of the candidate in such situations. The success of the whole business depends on the decision making ability of the upper management. In today’s business the quicker decisions are made the more we will take advantage of opportunities and the more company will achieve its competitive advantage.

One of most important characteristics that differentiate effective leaders and great managers are their decision making skills especially in stressful situations. It’s quite hard to be in such positions where you are stressed out and you need to make a quick but effective decision concerning your business or company. But the good part about this is that there are no perfect decisions and we all make mistakes, but the most important thing that we have to learn from our own mistakes and experiences and act accordingly and follow up to make sure that the decision has been implemented. Without this skill the business will go bankrupt, if the management in the company don’t have these skills or other interrelated skills such as problem solving and analytical thinking skills, If the top management was not aware of the process, the biases that could occur and influence their decision, the mind traps that they might fall in, then definitely the company will be in a deep crisis.

April 17, 2012

The Herd Instinct!

It is funny to see how such phrases are derived from particular stories happened in the past. In this respect, the best way to understand the term is to go back to its origin and see how it evolved. The Bandwagon effect is one of these phrases which first appeared in America in the nineteenth century in political campaigns where the phrase “jump/climb/or get on the bandwagon” means that you or the group become involved in an activity so that you can get the advantage of it yourself or the group.

We sometimes take our cue for decisions we make from our surrounding to some extent, when we see new idea or product or an event and we see other people enjoying it, then this will have a high level of influence on our decision to join that group of people or buy that product to take advantage of it.

But this might go further at some stages particularly in politics where people are blend into the scenery without considering the reasons behind this behaviour and regardless of their own belief or the accepted moral or ethics existed in the society, and I have reckoned this in some cases like what is happening in Syria where there are some people who are still swimming with the tide and still supporting the regime whereas the president and his thugs are still killing people just to keep in power, bear in mind that those people have no interest with the regime so why are they still supporting it! Is it part of the herd instinct or the bandwagon effect? Is it the fear and part of change and moving outside their comfort zone and taking risk for the unknown future in case the regime went away?

April 16, 2012

Leadership & Decision Making

One of the best parts of this module is that it is interconnected with previous modules especially with “Leadership and Excellence” module. Decisions are at the heart of leadership success, and there are critical moments when they can be difficult, however effective leaders can make efficient and effective decisions, and that’s what differentiate them from others. The most important traits that all successful leaders have is being a great decision maker, having a high level of decision making skills, a proper insight and knowledge of the business and the issue at hand which helps them make a robust decision in an efficient manner, and then act accordingly. However taking the action once the decision is made is also one of the most important parts of decision itself which differentiate successful leaders.

Looking back at some examples of successful CEO’s, we could reckon that those leaders have brought their company to the top or made those companies successful or kept them successful overtime, and one of the main aspects behing this is being a robust decision maker which is a common train between those CEO’s.

March 29, 2012

Psychometric Assessments & Leadership Styles

Psychometric assessments are widely used by consultancy firms as useful tools to help them identify a customised leadership approach for their clients, keeping in mind that this is just merely an aspect of several applications for those tools in the business environment. However, the most known instrument is MBTI assessment which stands for Myers – Briggs Type Indicator for determining personality types. MBTI is based on over 50 years of research and development traced back to 1943 by Katharine Cook Briggs and her daughter Isabel Briggs Myers.

This assessment tool helps people understand themselves well and how they interact with others in their surroundings. It has several applications in many sorts of fields ranging from business to education, counselling and others. In our case, companies and third parties use it to help them identify the strengths and blind spots of people in the top management within an organisation in order to identify the areas of improvements and thereby the best combination of leadership psychological theories to be adopted.

Other instruments are such as FIRO model (Fundamental Interpersonal Relations Orientation), CPI (California Psychological Inventory) and TKI (Thomas – Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument) which are also used for leadership and coaching projects.

March 11, 2012

Group Decision Making

Many groups meet to solve problems or achieve a task, on both cases the process involves decision making and the team members have to learn how they can effectively achieve the results. So far as MBE students we have experienced this since the start of the course through working with other class mates on preparing presentations and taking decisions on several mini projects, and the latter project was working on finding the best fit decision for WaveRiders.

Through this task, all team members within the group were participating collectively to reach a decision through analysing the problem or situation, considering and evaluating alternative courses of action, and selecting from among the alternatives a solution or solutions.

However there are pros and cons of this type of decision making as far as I have experienced during our mini projects. First of all, the advantages are combining the strengths and knowledge of its members to likely reach superior problem solution rather than the individual. On the other hand, group decision making are generally slower to arrive decisions than individuals or when some situations at particular times requires a quick solution or taking a quick decision.

As we go and enter the real business world, we are going to experience more of these kinds of decision makings, as we are going to spend most of our time working within teams.

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