April 09, 2011


I don't know if its the past module working, but the lack of efficient knowledge management systems in places suddenly seems a lot more obvious to me now. At work, the possibilities to make good use exist. Highly skilled labour, it systems for knowledge storage and sharing, training facilities, great teamwork, good management. But absolutely no knowledge sharring between the various levels of the orgnisational hierachy. People don't talk. The culture of sharing and learning doesn't exist. Its such a shame. With a leadership driven change so many improvements could be made!

April 08, 2011

Presentations – one for all and all for many

So... the presentations... what did I learn...

To be honest, thats a very hard question to answer. While numerous presentations on knowledge and asset management contained similar points, they were all completely different and had vastly different focusses. Some expanded more on the tools for resource utilisation, some delved very deeply into knowledge management and the systems and culture it requries. This is why saying what exactly I learned is hard. So much was covered is such a short space of time that more than learning about specific implementations of assets management techniques I should say that I have once again witnessed the vastness of this topic, but in this I have seen numerous techniques applied that we had not even considered and that if/when I'm put in a situation where awareness of these is required I have a headstart of what I can consider and look into. Rephrasing, like much of MBE, this module has given me an insight into whats available in the field of knowledge and asset manageent without delving too deeply into any of them. This depth is something for me to go find out where-ever I see fit.

Prepare and Practice

Well, today was our KBAM presentations. More on that the post presentation points in another blog though. Right now I'd like to talk abit about portfolio preperation and pratice.

Point 1. Portfolio preperation

Its quite amazing that when researching a topic and making notes about it how much information you actually cover. Starting to put together the portfolio of research evidence and expansion of presentation information you begin to see how much work actually goes into every topic people research into. For just 2 out of 11 sections that were part of our knowledge and asset management presentation the portfolio came to about 8 pages of detailed information. Putting that into perspective, together that was about 5 minutes worth of presentation time. Putting together a portfolio is like a mini project on its own. So many details need to be covered that expand on the rather basic ideas what you're presenting.

Point 2. Practice

Some people say last minute practice of presentations doesn't work. Some swear by it. I am of the latter. Now don't get me wrong, last minute practice should not be your sole practice session for any presentation but last minute practice still has much that you can gain from. While all week we worked towards our KBAM presentation, every time we went over the material again areas for improvement were spotted and this was true to our last run through 1 hour before the presentation. Looking through various aspects of knowledge management and how to explain the necessity of leadership in creating a learning culture, or taking knowledge and asset management and streamlining how we see it fits into the framework of EFQM, all these point noticed in last minute presentation that add to all the changes already that were implemented. I could possibly say that this is an example of knowledge management in itself. Information is learned and applied to create new knowledge. This new knowledge worked into the presentation then creates a further situation from which lessons can be learned and applied, further added to knowledge accumulation in the group.

April 07, 2011

Here a link, there a link, everywhere a link.

I'm noticing that in Knowledge and Asset Management, every topic seems linked in someway to another. This just compounds the complexity of the topic. Discussion with my team members we start to see overlaps in the themes we're covering, take for example Health and Safety, the management of assets relating to health and safety issues links to facilities management in that the H&S aspects must be considered in the planning of assets in terms of facilities. Facilities management in turn can be linked to maintenance because the requirements and processes for maintance involve all aspects of assets, including buildings. The more all the topics are developed the more these links build up. Then to add to it, the links are then developed between asset management and knowledge management. Its all interconnected!

Not only though are topics of KBAM linked, but they are also related to everything we've done this year so far!!!

Environment management --> Corporate social responsibility
Reactive maintenance --> Six Sigma

The list goes on and on and on....

KBam goes the theory

KBAM (Knowldge Based Asset Management) is huge. Absolutely huge.

Preparing a presentation seems like an imporssible task. At first glance theory of KBAM seem  simple, a few basic point that need to be considered when managing assets. But everytime you look at one you realise how much more to it there is. Every idea can be expanded on, developed, linked to other. The more you read, the more the contents of theories for KBAM grow in your mind. Take for example maintenance, that exapands into theories such as TPM (total productive maintenance), RCM (reliability centred maintenance), PM (predictive maintenance). Then each of of these in themselves are a vast topic. And if you want to build in a practical approach to implementation for the theories in a specific context.... well....   then you're pretty much into thesis levels of detail.

This is the problem. A 20 min presentation for applying KBAM to an organisation! Its a challenge to say the least, but does provide good heated discussions of what to prioritise and how to implement the theories.

April 06, 2011

Anticipation, Awareness, Situations and explosion.

Situational awareness is an interesting topic. Thinking back to the class examples of errors of judgement in some sense that lead to disasterous results. Basically people not having full awareness of he situational so not acting in the appropriate way leading to a failure of some sort.

Numerous reasons were identified in in how people fail to grasp complete situational awareness which were split into 3 different categories.
>Gathering information
>Interpreting Information
>Anticipation errors

What surprised me however was the importance of ainticipation error which occurs on an individual and system level. While the occurence of this on an individual level is somewhat limited in scope, the resounding effects when you think of the concept on a system level is quite shocking. Most situations in which an individual does not have complete situational awareness that result in an incident could be attributed to a lack of anticipation on behalf of management.
I'll give an example from class, an individual enters the wrong room, opens valves for on a working reactor... result... big boom. Individual errors arise from the lack of observation in gathering information, incorrect mental model in that the individual was in a frame of mind where they saw what they wanted to see (the not working reactor).
But here comes the crux of.... the anticipation error. An anticipation error can be said to exist because management did not consider what would happen if someone attempted to override the valves to a working reactor, or they failed to anticpate someone entering the wrong room. Management failed to antipate, and does that make them responsible? It just shows the importance that in situations of responsibility complete situational awareness is more important than ever.

April 04, 2011

Overlaps and Links

I am a firm believer in flexibilty when it comes to leadership. All situations require different forms of leaderhip to achieve the best result. What I've noticed however is that when considering mental models for leadership and the various leadership styles, the leadership styles have many many links and overlaps with the characteristics of the different mental models of leadership. In essence, depending on your personality or how you link to interact with others, there are many leadership styles that fit under the umbrella of your personality. For example, the mental model of a charismatic leader suggests that participative leadership is most appropriate, so democratic decision making is needed. This however encompases consultative decisions, joint decision making, delegation and more. Under this umbrealla of leadership style you also have ideas of team leadership, roles as a visionary motivator, thoughtful architect and more. Basically, what I'm trying to say is that leadership is never black and white. There is no single approach but many. What makes a good leader is being able to interpret the situaiton and apply the most appropriate style. Ideas of situational leadership pop up there as well but I'll leave it at that for now.

April 01, 2011

Leadership – when did it get so complex?

I have a question... yup... you're guessed it.... when did leadership get so complex?

My whole life so far I've seen and experienced leadership in what after countless books and text read seems like sucha  simplistic form. I have a vision of a book title "Leadership for dummies". I always used to think of leadership as a simple topic, broken down into a few basic ideas.

1. The desire to be a leader is down to nature, i.e. you're born that way.
2. The ability to be a leader can be both down to nature or nurture. You can be born a natural leader that people will just follow, or through experience and training learn the skills needed to lead.
3. As a leader you are either democratic, autocratic, or take a laissez faire approach.

But now when I think of leadership it means soooo much more. Mental models of leadership that influence the underlying reasons for decisions as a leader, where you place you most importance (people you lead or the system you lead them in), how they create visions and goals. Then more questions arise about the mothods of leadership that give rise to issues such as... What does a leader actually achieve? How do they interact with others? How does a leader influence actions of others?

Leadership is no longer black and white for me now. Leadership has taken a whole new level. Will a greater understanding of theories of leadership actually help me when I'm in a position of leadership? Difficult to say. Experience has shown me that leadership behaviour is very instinctive depending situational influences. But maybe subcontiously awareness or a greater depth of leadership theories may change this instintive leadership exhibited... maybe not... I guess I'll have to wait and see.

March 19, 2011

Final Day Decision

2 weeks of work on our decision making presentation.

Countless hours arguing over the fine point of various tools, the scales we schould use, the weighting and their justifications.

Numerous days off ill.

More time spent in uni than home....

And finally it was here. Our presentations for waveriders strategic choice. We were plesently surprised to see others among us who had thought similarly out of the box with the solutions, impressed by the detail and complexity embraced by some using tools such as ahp, and intrigued by the different results and figures achieved by those who used the same tools as us for the same problem. FOr me, the last point just goes to show that no matter what you do, ridding yourself of bias in decisions is an impossible task. Even when using decision tools to minimise it, bias exists. For example in thr decision tree... what order do you put in chance and decision events? Or in simple grid analysis tables, when the order or preferences are known for factors, what actual weighting is appropriate. How much better is each factor than the other? It seems there is no correct answer, only a justified one. Any decision can be said to contain bias, but in approaching these with system 2 thinking, using various tools to minimise bias, what we can do is justify why we choose what we do. To every individual this process may result in a different solution for the same problem. What does this mean? There is not necessarily a right answer, just a good, reasoned answer.

March 18, 2011

Decision Tree: How do I love thee. Let me count the ways

How do i love thee? let me count the ways.
I love thy depth of analysing every possible result.
Taking all choices of alternatives into full account.
Through the grace of your incredibly flexibility.
We can have such varying levels of complexity.
Simple trees of only decision nodes.
Spiced up with a sprinkling of random chance nodes.
Qualitative data like cost thrown in the mixture.
Makes expected present value of outcomes a calculable fixture.
Decisions made easier all thanks to thee.
Oh how I love thee, decision tree.

I've said it before and I'll say it again. I like decision tree....

A quick mention must by made of Elizabeth Barrett Browning, who of course wrote the original "How do I love thee?" poem.

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