June 17, 2012

…something extra


As a part of KM process, besides all the good documents safely stored in the expensive system, experts usually fly from all over the places to Bangkok-based office, to transfer some certain knowledge of how some new stuffs in the system work.

In order not to limit the knowledge to just the key personnels directly responsible for the system, all interested staffs are usually invited to attend the sessions as well.

Is it a good idea to invite too many audiences???

Unavoidably, many audiences brought many different questions, from different perspectives.
As a results, the main responsible personnel received some answers to the questions they hadn't thought of and also had their chances to listens to other opinions.

However, are the targeted audiences were distracted by all those questions, not directly addressed by them.
Instead of having more chances to pause, think, and concentrate on something they might have missed,
they had to listen to all the stuffs which might not be of their interest at all.

I wasn't even sure myself; a one to one classroom with lecturer?


…deep and wide



A few years back, while watching an American tv show that, from a given group of Americans, most of them did not know what H2O was while all of them knew everything about the Kardashians. I think this reflects something on American educational system and how well they manage the knowledges on their fellow Americans.

However, I think they can still live their lives happily if at least they really know something related to their works which earn them money without having to know a single thing about chemical compound.
Besides, what would be a benefit of knowing H2O besides not to sound less intelligent while discussing chemistry with family and friends over a dinner table.

As a Thai famous poet once said: "One does not need to know everything, but an in-depth knowledge of a certain thing can bring one a fortune."

The question is....if the employees are knowledgable only how to do their jobs properly, should that be efficient for the organisation and the employees themselves?? ...is it enough?

Is it necssary that an employee have limited access to only information/knowledge related to his job?
I think it is enpough to make the wheel turn, but it is not enough to create new knowledge or make an organisation an innovative one.


…favourite chair


Several years ago I went to pick up my friend for dinner at her office, I didn't realize the chair I was sitting on (her chair) was purchased at approximately 1,000 pounds.

There are thousands of employees in her organisation and each of them is sitting on the identical chairs,
it means the organisation invested 2 million pounds for these chairs which their employees are to be sitting on at least 8 hours a day.

The chair was ergonomically design (that's what they claimed), for a computer user, to provide a maximum comfort,
and most importantly, to protect their employees from back pain.

Besides the chair, I was quite sure there must be other working environment-friendly equipments and activities.

I was impressed by the way this organisation was concerning over the well-being of its people, as people are the most vital assets. Even if they have the highest muti-billion cutting edge technologies of computer running the daily operation; without people input, it doesn't save the company from losing business.

So, 1,000 pounds chair makes all the sense; at least in term of asset management.

June 16, 2012

…dusk


Currently operating no different than most SMEs, I never pause to question myself the effectiveness of the way I study.
It is because I'm only thinking about surviving, indeed without goals and strategies, I lack direction and focus.

I can benchmark myself with others, see how high they all fly, but that does not make me understand the path to get there.
I can opt for self-assessment, it gives another view of how to get there (your destination not others') since it is tied with strategies, it objectively defines the course of actions that can be tailored specifically for me.

It could be harder doing it yourself than following some standard guidelines that tell you exactly what to do, what to fix.
I feel that self-assessment needs more input, creativity and initiation from the users than other methods.
It is harder to follow because there is no right or wrong, and the hardest part is the start,
until you realise that it actually reflects strategies of your business, then you know where to start.

First thing first, understand business strategies....
understand what you want to achieve.
set direction, measure it, then review it.


June 15, 2012

…hiccup


My friend told me that she is working on a very large scale computer system project in America for her organisation. A big portion of the human resources working on the project is from Bangkok; yes, imported from Bangkok because they are cheaper, but highly efficient.

After the implementation, all the good knowledges on how the system works needs to be transferred to the American employees who are to be supporting the system in a long run.

The funny thing is that, there is a problem regarding those expensivemanpower to support the system because after several knowledge transfer sessions, the American are still pretty much blank on how to support users of the system once problems arise; not because they're dumb, but the system is so complex that the people who did not involve in designing stage would be struggling understanding all the logic behind the designs.

She's still complining over this as the supporting people should have been involved throughout the designing and implementation stage, not just having several hours listening to a lecture. Something can't just be learned in a classroom without any hand-on experience (problem translating tacit knowledge into explicit and then share it).

She thought the company must have somehow realized this, but ended up having no choice due to the fact that the American are so expensive and their involvement would exceed the project budget. However, they might have to suffer even more cost when the system crashes and none of the expensive labour is able to do anything.

Like Greme said before sometimes what we can trasfer is only information, knowledge is cognitive things it involves experiences.
KMis an on going process that can never reach saturation. For this cross continent project, those Thai system designers will still have to work hand-in-hand with the American, a one time knowledge transfer session or a complete manual will not be enough.


June 14, 2012

…contractors


My close friend (the one working for that American company) has been complaining about her low income,
she always compared herself to a certain European contractor who is paid at least 8 times more than what she earns. 



Yes, she admits the contractor is good (well they ought to be), the guy knows almost everything and his contribution is so vital that his contract has been renewing for over a decade and it does not seems to be terminated anytime soon. 



It is not that the guy wants to keep all the knowledge to himself nor his apprentices are not able to learn anything from him (by saying apprentices I meant the company employees whom were assigned to learn from him).



The problem is that, the skillful employees always quit the company because the pays were horrible.

The question is, why organisation doesn’t try to keep their own (cheaper) employees and their knowledges, rather than being dependent on the super expensive contractor? 


Is this an efficient way to manage the company's crucial knowledge (and also asset, people)?

Some certain thing is just so hard to understand.


…join the club



well,...I love the idea that organisations invest in their people by giving them support and chances to develop themselves whether it's through training, seminars or other kind of activities.

My close friend is a committee for "Toastmasters", an international club her organisation joined. She participates regularly to its activities resulting in improvement of her skill in presentation, public speaking and leadership (also she gets to know more people from other departments).

What do they do at the club.....?
She told me sometimes they randomly pick an audience (most people joined because they have problem with presentation, public speaking, articulation etc.) to give an impromtu speech.
There will be a group of people who are assigned to do specific tasks such as, person A will count the number of "umm" or "err" in the speech, person B will have to count too many "well" or too many "the", person C a time keeper etc.

and at the end of the speech, a big round of applaud is mandatory, that's a positive way to cheer up the speaker no matter how horrible it was. then the evaluators (picked among the audience as well) will give positive feedbacks (they really have to find good thing about the speech whether it is tone, body language, smile, volume etc.), then person A,B,C (the counters) will declare the amount of unnecessary "umm" "err" in the speech.

Wthout being shot down with bad comments (they never compliment first and then "but you shouldnt have", instead they give recommendation for his/her next speech), funnily people have gained more courage to speak in public and be aware of the things they ususally do unconciusly when giving speech.

(this is one of many club's activities)

This kind of skill/knowledge can be acquired from forming a network, in this case, joining Toastmasters Club.
So I think it is such a good way for small firms, whose resoureces are limited, to develop their people and acquire knowledge with less cost.


June 13, 2012

…a circle in the head


I have this friend who is so bright, she always has good ideas and brilliant solutions to problems.
anyway,....it is not easy for her to communicate her ideas or thoughts to others.

I found out that she is a bright person not because she showed me or told me about her thoughts, but because I was trying so hard to understand what she spelled out and putting it all together.

I believe it is typical for a bright mind to be articulate,...in this case it is not.

She explained to me that when she tries to speak, her thought goes round and round in circle which make it impossible for her to communicate to another person, and thus, she usually keep quiet, and most of the time, she loses chance to speak out her good ideas.

If valuable knowledge is trapped in a person like this, what can a firm do to draw it out?
Suppose KM system is in place, what can they do to capture knowledge from their employees effectively?

A machine (e.g. IT system) alone will not be enough to extract what inside employees'heads, in the case of my friend, she need a medium, a human being that she is comfortable enough to explain things to, to be patient with her, like an interpreter or a translator.


May 06, 2012

…Pluto is the 9th planet….duh??


well...there is more problem with KM than just capturing knowledge, storing it and disseminating it.

A friend of mine was working for a large American multinational corporation, she voiced her concern about KM in her company that KM started from the basis...since they (engineer team) are engineering, theyhave requirement/spec, they have desgin document before they start and they put the comment on their code, everything is put online just like 'wikipedia' but internally, and things can be searched and tag....this including images, video, words document, projects timeline etc.
They use a software called "SharePoint" which they developed and sales externally......

however the biggest problem they have with this type of knowledge management is not creating document.
.....it is UPDATING....!!!!

Knowledge can become obsolete, organisations that build their sucesses on innovation really need to be careful of this point.


May 04, 2012

…survival


bye bye two weeks project.

...the best thing I learned from you is teamwork, motivation and how to be calm when I have to.
the survival skills (soft skills) are improved and I'm glad that I haven't had any single moment that I feel like giving up.

Honestly, I came out of the module knowing a little bit better about KM and AM than 2 weeks ago, but I know a whole lot better of how to survive lol.


May 02, 2012

…peeling mango


...just had an epiphany while peeling mango over the sink.


It is necessary that organisaitons incorporate KM in their strategies, they can have all tools they want,
but oh boy,.... it wouldn't make KM happen.

I don't think that it is close to possible for organisations to lure their employees to practise KM without leadership.

Who are organisations? Exactly who?... The CEO?... The mangement? ...The manager?... The building?
The idea of organisation-people, is so vauge and lack personal touch.

I believe that the link between "organisation" and their "people" should be dissected into personal level.
If I were an employee, I wanted to feel that I can personally communicate and connect with "my organisation",
how would that happen?....yes I must talk to a person, a representative of "organisation"...
and that person should be my boss.

He must possess leadership quality, and ability to translate whatever the organisation aims for to me.
He should act like a sounding board. His leadership should motivate me to work as a team and to set my eyes towards a shared goal, his leadership should make me feel safe, willing and happy to work hard as well as share my knowledge.
He must never ignore subject-matter experts in KM, if I'm one of those, I'll surely feel valued if they require my involvement and I would not hesitate to share my knowledge.

That is closer, with leadership, and that must start from The Management.

my manager should be guided by his manager the way he does to me, ...passing the torch from the management.


…sabotage



An employee decided to sabotage a big project by leaving bugs in the codes. That's right, she's pissed at some manager who relocated her to other smaller project.

Ultimately, they had to call her back in as she is the only one who has thourough knowledge of this project. She knows how valuable she is. No one know this project through and through, none other than her.

That is why she decided never to share her valuabe knowledge to anyone as this is her leverage in any work-related negotiation.

Paul mentioned today about barrier in knowledge sharing, and that reminds me of the story above.

Whatever plan we have for KM sounded so simple and doable, however, the biggest barriers still lie in management, organisation culture, and people themselves.

I will have go back to that person, and draw out whatever it is inside that keeps her from sharing knowledges and what that would make her do.


May 01, 2012

…poor cat


I feel sad for the cat in the microwave Rasmus mentioned in the class yesterday.
also for the old lady, the owner of the cat who has no intention to boil her cat.

Come to think about it, the case gives us a picture of how dangerous and hazardous it is to let someone operate whatever machine without knowledge. But to what extent does one need to know?

A safety precautions and other things related to health are seriously necessary, and I wonder if the old lady should have at least basic knowledge of how microwave works (how things get heated up inside that closed door).

I doubt if the safety precautions would include -do not use microwave to dry cat.

Sometimes, some incidents are beyond what we could think of at the first place, (error in anticipation).

One way to deal with this situation is to make a person by himself, be concious and curious and be aware of the situation, of what he is doing. Always ask for second opinion or refer to the manual when in doubt.
Most imporatantly, company must be responsible to educate their employees and take health & Safety seriously, putting in place and preventive measure to prevent any loss or damage.


If we lost a person it does not mean we lost only one life, because that person could be a whole world to someone.


…people, a burden or an asset ?


People,....most valuable assets to the company?


When people claim that employees are the most valuable asset to the company, I don't think they really give much thought about it, and most of the time they must have referred to only hard-working and dedicated employees.

and that could not be more true, good employees are indeed company's assets, we cannot quantify what an employee could bring to the table in terms of financial figure. They are like seeds, if the company plant them and nurture them, they will flourish into a big tree, yield enough fruit for prosperity.

However, should bad employees be considered assets? or liabilities?
there are some examples I have seen, a supervisor has been with the company for 20 years, she stays supervisor for the last 5 years, and there is no career propect for her because she's been outperformed by other colleagues and new comers.

The thing is, the company cannot fire her without good cause (otherwise they might have to face wrongful termination lawsuit or severance), so they keep her but limited her career advancement,....

How sad it is,...what are other things should company do when they already done anything possible to develop an employee but it does not work?

is it worth spending time and money and other resoureces to develop an almost-impossible to develop employee?
would it be better to strengthen recruitment?


April 22, 2012

…sunday special


It is Sunday, cannot imagine someone would be working today (of course not in service sector).

I called up my friend,...turned out she has on-call duty today, anyway, .....she told me that it is such a hectic day for her as a couple of million dollar was lost, after only 8 hours of her employer's computer system went down since the business operation really relied on the system.

The root cause, was due to the server upgrade project which was planned months ahead, but when it didn't work out as it should be.
All the technicians spent all the efforts trying to fix the problems because they had no clue of what to do if the upgrade hadn't gone as planned. They only knew how to go forward,..... but somehow forgot to give any attention on how to step backward safely to the origin without falling.

As previously mentioned, RDM has not been my company.
so, I only know how to go forward when deciding on my education.
I don't have any backup plan of if I flunk this, what would be the next step besides tumbling down the hill, into a pool of quicksand and start sinking slowly.

What is more robust? planning to make a firm move forward to minimise failure or planning for possible worst case?
or maybe the combination of both ;D


April 21, 2012

…paradox of decision–making


I have never made a robust decision before,
through all my life, whenever I reach crossroad, I always leave it up to destiny.

If I had known about decision-making tools, my life would have been different.
I would make sure that every step I take is firm and that no matter what happens I would not regret.

I would have been more prepared than this, and I would have thought of my choice and its consequences more carefully and critically.

Decision-making tools make us think logically, anyhow, we are all capable of thinking rationally but we are only human and sometimes subjected to psychological traps,.....instead of using our gut feeling, the tools help us turn to a scientific way when dealing with decisions.

But if I were using decision-making tool for my education choice, I would have been somewhere else, and thus, I would not be introduced with decision-making tools in the first place.

hahaha confusing,..just like time machine paradox.


…oh Italian


A certain information technology project was called off after the company injected close to a hundred million dollars and wasted over 4 years of their resources.
The main reason behind the cancellation was that they couldn't withstand the constant changes of Italian regulations on running energy business and could no longer forecast the upcoming ones;
one change in Italian law can results in a major computer system enhancement which is also, costly.

Thus, it's better for the company to cut a finite lost, in order to not to spend who knows how much more. (I'm talking about a multi-billion dollar company in which a hundred millions could have been only what they spend on an annual cost of stationaries.)

I guess this is where the unpredictable factor became too unpredictable which collapsed all the good plans generated by RDM tools.

Anyway, congratulations to the company,....at least they did not fall into decision trap,....hahaha SUNK COST


…towards the end


It is almost no surprise why I felt stress when started reading about AM and KM, it's like what they say "old habit dies hard".

Right, this morning Paul mentioned that a probable reason we feel overwhelmed by KBAM is because we get used to education system that focuses on details, theories, pure knowledge. We do not know how to think real, and we do not have a good grasp of concept.

I'm quite disappointed in myself, because this is probably the last 'real' MBE module, the one I signed up for because I believe it would introduce me to many soft skills that will stay with me, that will be applicable to anything I want to do in the future.

So how come I'm still the same person as I was 7 months ago?
Do I need a longer time to get used to it?
Why am I realising this only in my head?
Is it because everything seems to be so philosophical?
Do I undermine myself?
Is it because I have not been focusing this whole time?


April 20, 2012

…scenario


The recent earth quake and tsunami warning in the south Pacific brought me back to late 2004,
where several hundred-thousands of lives were washed away by the giant waves.
At that time, Thailand did not have the slightest clue of that they could be potentially hit by tsunami so there was absolutely no warning system whatsoever.
After the event, several pundits came out, criticizing the government for not listening to their warning of the disaster.

Even if scenario planning was used whether the tsunami warning system should be implemented along the coast of Thailand, I was not sure of the outcome. For several centuries of recorded history, there's never been such phenomena.

How would a group of people come up with scenario that may or may not happen?
A good blend of knowledgable people in decision-making group? Creativity?

Given the fact that tsunami naver hit Thailand before, and no history data, how would anyone consider about preventing it?


April 19, 2012

…robust



Just came across an article capturing comments from foreigners working in Thailand with Thai people.

They mentions that there are 10 working habits that hold them back from career advance, and one of those are "unable to make robust decision, and thus, they tend to react to problem rather than being proactive."

Indeed it would save time and prevent the spread of damage if one is to make robust decision that take into account noises and uncertainty, at least the problems are foreseen and some preventive measures could be in place.

What would make a manager get into a habit of using techniques and decision-making tools when he has to make decisions?


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