Knowledge Management

Richard Charles Holloway learnshops at
Tue Oct 5 09:53:23 PDT 1999

no, Kay...I don't believe that they lack the ability to form teams--it just
seems like it sometimes (-;

What's lacking (usually) is the purpose and individual belief system (why
should I be part of a team?  I've always been successful on my own!); the
training or education (when was the last time you heard of a school
"examining" and "grading" a study group as opposed to a student?); and the
organizational performance drivers (compensation; rewards; promotion;

When people do successfully form teams, it is usually because these 3
components are satisfied to allow people to collaboratively work together.

Of course, there are many instances of people who naturally work this way.
It's just that the organization's culture tends to create a performance
obstacle to collaborative behavior.  One of the saddest things is to undo
the cynicism brought on by an organizational culture for people who
naturally tend to want to work together.

My experience is that many knowledge workers do want to work together,
collaboratively.  They enjoy forming the "community of practice" that allows
them to optimize their enjoyment, their working experience.  Organizational
systems spoil this natural tendency.  Indeed, most of this begins to happen
at the very point when youngsters enter the educational system.  On the
sporting field, the activity is mostly team-centered.  In the classroom,
it's almost all individual-centered.

There are some activities which are best left to individual endeavor--but
the workplace is often best served by groups of people working
collaboratively together.  Sharing knowledge (for the purposes described by
the term KM) requires collaborative behavior.  So the key is to change
organizational systems so that they create the appropriate environment for
the type of behavior we want to support--whether it's individual
contribution or collaborative contribution.  Or, perhaps better yet, so that
each person and team can optimize behavior to meet the situation.

That's why OS can be such a powerful way for people in organizations to
begin addressing the needed changes...and because the right changes occur to
people only as they mature (develop their capacity) within a changing
organization, OS meetings become an evolutionary way for them to adapt
themselves and their organization to shape their future.  At least, this is
the way I'm planning to introduce and use OS within these groups.

thanks for asking...hope this is a coherent response.


----- Original Message -----
From: Kay Wakefield <Kbwatty at>
Sent: Tuesday, October 05, 1999 8:23 AM
Subject: Re: Knowledge Management

> Doc, do I understand you to say that most professionals (doctors, lawyers,
> accountants) lack the necessary ability to form teams which allow for
> of knowledge and wisdom? I don't necessarily think you wrong, but would
> you to expand on your thought. I'm particularly interested in your
> about how it might work for these professionals to become more
> (for lack of a better word).
> Kay
> Kay B. Wakefield, Esq.
> Wakefield McCobb, P.C.
> 1618 SW First Avenue Suite 210
> Portland, Oregon 97201
> (503) 223-8046
> kbwatty at
> The Family Business Law Firm

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