27/03/2012 Leave a comment
Many of the attendees I’ve spoken to at workshops or training events I’ve run, and the majority of clients I’ve worked with implementing and embedding Knowledge Management, have at some stage in the conversation mentioned how busy they and their organisations are. Some even add “I’m so busy I don’t have time to think”.
I guess we can all relate to this statement and at some stage in our working lives (or maybe even weekly for some?) can recall at time when:
- There are so many things to do on our to do list but not enough time to do them in
- We’ve got far too many emails and urgent messages clogging up our in-boxes
- The level of complexity of our number one task makes it appear to be too difficult to even know where to start (so we don’t or we dither)
- Our organisation places more emphasis on ‘doing’ and ‘action’ than on ‘learning before doing’ and ‘reflection’.
And yet thinking, as Edward de Bono reminds us: “is the ultimate human resource – yet we can never be satisfied with our most important skill, and no matter how good we become, we should always want to be better”.
As employees, one way we can remind ourselves of the importance of thinking, and of the need to create thinking time in our busy work schedules, is to ensure that we always ‘learn before doing’ by asking ourselves: “has this been done before?”; “who are the experts?”; “do I have access to the knowledge I need to perform this task?”; “are there any case studies/lessons learnt I should be reading up on?”; “where is the good practice I can adopt?”
As managers and leaders in our organisations we should also be asking our colleagues “what have you learnt?”; “what was the thought process that got you to this decision?”; how have you applied the knowledge of others in helping you achieve this task?” – more often than the usual ‘management’ questions like “what are you working on?”; “will you deliver on time?”; “can you give me a progress up-date?”
Encouraging ourselves and others to use our ultimate human resource – thinking, is a vital ingredient in creating and sustaining a learning organisation. After all, you never know where the next great idea might come from – and it certainly won’t happen without time spent thinking (inside or outside the box).
Photograph from id-iom’s Photstream on Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/id-iom/