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Let’s avoid the grand unifying approach to Personal Knowledge Management

Posted by  Shawn Callahan —November 30, 2005
Filed in Communication

Tom Davenport relates an interesting observation about the Capability Maturity Model (CMM) by its developer, Watts Humphrey.

He realized that it was taking too long for many organizations to move up through five stages of the CMM, and began to think about what might accelerate the process. He concluded that if organizations were to develop team and individual-level capabilities in addition to those at the organizational level, they would probably improve much faster.

It makes sense of course to focus on helping people get better at what they do. Like Tom we need to ask “What do knowledge workers do?” and provide ways to improve their ability to do it. Tom picks some of the obvious knowledge worker activities such as reading and writing and suggests we have them covered. He also points out that we’re a group of meeters and could be better at this skill. But Tom want to take us to the topic of information processing pointing out that we do a lot of this but we don’t know much about how to improve our skills in this area.

Personal knowledge management is an important movement. I hope we don’t take to it, however, with a grand unifying approach where ‘the smart people’ decide how it will be implemented. I’d rather see knowledge workers (which is everyone I think—let me know if you can think of non-knowledge workers) design their own interventions and be supported to put them in action and learn from the process.

About  Shawn Callahan

Shawn, author of Putting Stories to Work, is one the world's leading business storytelling consultants. He helps executive teams find and tell the story of their strategy. When he is not working on strategy communication, Shawn is helping leaders find and tell business stories to engage, to influence and to inspire. Shawn works with Global 1000 companies including Shell, IBM, SAP, Bayer, Microsoft & Danone. Connect with Shawn on:

2 Responses to “Let’s avoid the grand unifying approach to Personal Knowledge Management”

  1. Says:

    Today’s links

    Or rather yesterday’s, since it’s just passed midnight.
    Anecdote on PKM
    Jack Vinson on Uses for expert locators

  2. Says:

    Today’s links

    Or rather yesterday’s, since it’s just passed midnight.
    Anecdote on PKM
    Jack Vinson on Uses for expert locators

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