All entries for May 2013

May 31, 2013

Known–unknown matrix

I would have definitely argued with someone last week if they tried to tel me the johari window is not the same as the known-unknown matrixi. I was so sure the two were the same. After Management of change module, I figured I was totaly wrong though I was sure there was another matrix, similar to the johari window that potrays the known and unknown. I am glad I have finally discovered its name and what it is.

Know that we know Know that we don't know
Don't know that we know Don't know that we don't know.

Information sources. (at the side of the matrix, there is user awareness)

The understanding of this will enable knowledge sharing. We should share what we know we know, for that we do not know, we should find out. For the knowledge we don't know that we know, this need to be developed and created and ways to do this should be devised. For the knowledge we do not know we know, this ned to be captured and shared. A deeper understanding of this know unknown matrix will enable an organization to plan and ensure all knowledge is captured, acquired and disseminated for the benefit of ll in the organization. I am still yet to fully grasp how it works fully in the knowledge management context but I am happy to learn about it from books.

May 29, 2013

Knowledge management practices

I am amazed everyday by the number of organizations that apply knowledge management practices and activities in their culture. It is refreshing to read about organizations that are successful and are benefiting from such practices. I have to admit a few weeks ago this was a foreign concept to me. Over the weeks as I have been familiarizing myself with the topic, I am amazed at how important it really is.

Being given the title knowledge officer sure does sound exciting and important. I have to accept and acknowledge that knowledge management is very important in organizations and if that is not convincing enough, have a look at companies such as Nokia, microsoft, GE, Viant, Xerox etc. They have successfull knowledge management practices that have done thier organization wonders.

May 27, 2013


There is so much to consider before one decides to outsource. After reading abit of it today, I am left to wonder why one would choose to outsource if indeed it requires a lot of planning and commitment before it is done. With my personality, I figure it would be difficult to let someone do something for me, not unless I was 100% sure they would do it better than I could and even then, it would still be difficult.

I think about Coca Cola in Kenya and at least catering, cleaning and security was outsourced. They used to do a pretty good job. I have realized that most companies that outsource are the very big ones that can afford such services and for an SME....outsourcing would be out of the question. What happens when you know you do not have the skills required to do the job perfectly but do not have the money to outsouce..what then? If outsourcing was cheap..then that would be good but since it is not, not to mention the legal obligations and all, it is quite a daunting thing to do if you ask me. That said, I agree outsourcing can actually be a cost reduction strategy and incvrease one competitiveness. Learning about it more today in greater depth opened my eyes to just how much goes into this activity and before an organization decides it wants to outsource, they better be sure it will have great benefits or else they will end up on the losing end.

May 23, 2013

Asset management

Tomorrow is the last day of my last module, Management of Change. We had a simulation and I could not help but link some aspects of my company to asset management. To begin with, on day 1, we did away with with some tables in a bid to cut costs of rent and this was well done and it reflected how facilities managers would ensure efficient use of facilities in a profitable manner. Stock contoller tried to ensure there was stock all the time even if demand was unpredictable and if we had thought about it, we could have implemented resource planning in a better more efficient way but at least we managed to make it work. There was a nuclear battery that we had to be trained on under health and safety and in as much as it was just a simulation, our trainer was pretty serious about teaching us how to handle that battery. This demonstrated exactly what it meant to be aware of danger that may oocur and prevent in beforehand.

We sold the battery to the millitary and apparently they had not been trained on how to use that battery and thus we had to refund 50,000 dollars to them. I learnt that when it comes to matters of such utmost importance, care must be given and above all, people must be shown how to handle and use the battery if they are to make use of it. This was a good eye opener as to the mistakes that can take place in the real world and how it may cost a company. As long as all aspects of asset management are handled properly, an organization will more or less succeed in its endevors. If ignored, this can cost a company lots of money to fix and take care of. The biggest learning point for me this week has been to be keen of my surroundings and influence what I can to the benefit of the organization even if its in a small way like finance, to which was my role in our company.

May 21, 2013

Stress management under health and safety

Today I came acroos a video of a worker who developed stress at work and how she described that stress having ruined her life in areas such as her social life, and definitely work life. The good thing is that in the end, she was able to talk to her boss and HR manager and the issues leading to her stress were resolved and she was now able to work more efficiently. Stress can be seen as not such a big thing at work. Worse still, it can mistaken for other personal issues, other than work related. I know stress can in fact reduce motivation levels significantly in workers. It has for me in the past.

As I have explored this area of health and safety, I have come to realize its the job of the H&S manager to develop stress management policies in an organization as one can so easily feel stressed especially when one is overloeaded with lots of work to do. Having things such as fliers on the notice board about stress can help employees open up if they feel stressed. Regular meetings and asking how they are doing will open up communication channels that will help workers feel they are in a safe environment such that if they feel stressed, they will talk to someone.

It will surely lead to reduced sick off days when people take a day off to relax after so much stress. It will help save a lot of money and productivity will definitely improve. I have come to realize stress is indeed a big thing and at least now I have known it will be my role as a future manager or leader to know my employees and identify things that can increase or develop stress in my employees and help get them through it successfully.

May 19, 2013

Tacit and explicit knowledge

Today is when I really got to know the difference between tacit and explicit knowledge. I have to admit that during the lectutres, I never really made an effort to know what they mean and when reading, I sort of took what my classmates said it was. As I was reading today, I found myself asking the question what exactly is tacit or explicit knowledge and that is when after researching a bit, I discovered the difference. Suffice to say tacit knowledge is inexpressible easily while explicit knowledge is expressible and can be shared easily. However, contary to what the book said, I disagree with swimming or riding a bicycle being a good example of tacit knowledge. I think, rather, I know one can transfer the knowledge of riding a bicycle or swimming to another person. It can be shared. I do not understand why one would consider swimming a good example of tacit knowledge. Further research I need to do.

That said, I appreciate that there are different forms in which one can posses such knowledge and the vast ways of sharing makes it easy to disseminate information, especially with rise of ICT.

May 16, 2013

Schools of knowledge management

Of the 7 schools of knowledge management by Earl, the one that relates most to my current module is the strategic school. In this school, the emphasis is on what will facilitate and drive knowledge management, as opposed to driving the knowledge process in itself. As long as the organization is driving knowledge management strategies, eventually or by default knowledge sharing will occur. Things such as business plans, the vision and mission statements etc are such tools that are used in this school of thought.

I can't help but relate this to strategic human resouirce management. As long as the HR department develops sound and robust strategies that are alligned to the business strategy, then also as they come up with goals and plans, sharing and knowledge will also be enhanced. This means that even in day to day running, there musn't be specific knowledge management strategies incorporating those words for one to believe that there is knowledge management. Even where goals and targets are set, and ways of achieving them are drwn, that in itself is knowledge management. That is something new I have leant and will pond over today.

May 14, 2013

Benchmarking and Health and safety

More often than not you will hear departments such as production or manufacturing, finance etc being benchmarked. Rarely will you hear of benchmarking of health and safety. Personally, I have never heard of such a thing. However, I have come to learn you can benchmark just about anything, health and safety being one of them. After some reading today, I actually think as an organization is considering to develop and implement a health and safety strategy or plan, benchmarking can be a very good start for them.

They will be able to see what others are doing, what others have done, what has worked and what hasn't, etc. This will enalbe them to plan effectively and to avoid the mistakes others have done proviously. And yes, knowing it has worked somewhere before does not guarantee success in your organization or that it will also work in yours. Very many other factors need to be considered such as company culture, structure, personnel, etc. All these things held constant, benchmarking will help in knowing where to begin. It has actually helped some companies reduce their accidents considerably and subsequently, their insurance costs have reduced. This becomes a win-win situation as both companies will benefit from good reputation and above all, saving costs.

May 13, 2013

Risk management

Risk management is assessing potential threats to health and safety and mitigating them. I did not know until today that all companies, even self employed companies must undertake risk assessment to ensure safety of their employees. More shockingly was the fact that as long as an organization has upto 5 employees, proper risk assessement must be done and properly recorded. As I have come to find out, a lot of money goes into lawsuits and insurance and compensations of risks that could have been avoided if proper risk assessement had been done.

I have come to appreciate the importance of risk assessement and what it means to an organization to carry it out. In as much as it may be expensive for an organization to start a healthy strategy on the assumption of the risks that may occur, in the longer term, this will save the company billions or millions or pounds in solving problems that have occured. It is our duty to think of al things that may go wrong. In a way its kinda like inspection of products before they get to the end user, one ensures they are of good high quality and safe for use. In the same way, an organization should be inspected to ensure it is safe for employees to work in without fear of their lives. This is indeed a very important issue to us all.

May 11, 2013

Maintenance management

After doing a bit more reading on maintenance, I have learnt that it does not matter how detailed maintenance is carried out on machines or plants. Breakdowns will still always occur. In as much as there is error proofing and measures to avoid faults, sometimes breakdowns can still occur even with a full detailed thorough check on machines and factories. Some common breakdowns that can occur even after full check include vandalism that is random can sometimes not be avoided. Human error is unexpected. One may make a mistake and cause breakdowns unknowingly. Weather conditions such as floods or too much heat or cold can cause damage unexpectedly etc.

I have learnt it is the job of the facilities manager to have an emergency cover in such situations as this is the only saviour at such times. Routine and regular maintenance should continuoulsy be done and employees should be trained in disaster management so that in case such an event happens, employees know how to react, what to do and not to do etc. I think this is a pretty huge responsibility but I guess when things run smoothly, success is guaranteed and an organization will be able to translate into an excellent organization.

May 2013

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