Lessons Learnt and a Culture of Learning

PictureGroupLessons learnt are key within the management of knowledge. It’s a way of thinking in contemporary management terms. It is about learning from past experiences good and bad. This is a very effective technique for sharing knowledge and practice within the company. By doing so, colleagues learn from past experience. As Bennis and Ward (1997) stated ‘none of us is as smart as all of us’. Any focus on illegal behaviour is, of course, not condoned and is not part of lessons learnt. Instead, this is an approach to management which relies on the sharing of intelligence.

An attitude of lessons learnt enables individuals and teams in the company to share their knowledge with their colleagues to gain from the experience. It becomes part of organizational resilience. Applying lessons learnt makes sure that similar projects will not have to go through the same trouble as the previous one did. For the company members it can be therapeutic – a form of therapy. It is about a desire to learn and create a culture of learning within the company. This whole idea of reviewing challenging situations and sharing knowledge in a non-judgemental way is most powerful when embedded in the company culture. Therefore, what is required is a culture of learning and a culture of sharing!

This way of thinking and being can also be part of a re-framing in personal development, coaching and leadership. On a personal level we can continual to evaluate and learn by taking a lessons learnt approach, which is far more positive than dwelling on negativity. It is about us all continually learning from experiences, adding to the wisdom and moving forward.

‘None of us is as smart as all of us’ Bennis and Ward (1997)

Learn, Change and Heal!


Creativity – Aha Moments!

minds_0It doesn’t happen very often that moment of Aha! Suddenly it is a revelation. We view the world in a new way. Perhaps it is an inner knowingness or just a moment of clarity. The light-bulb moment! Whatever it is for us it is, the Aha moment may become a catalyst that helps us make the change.

Those internal individual moments may be the point where the drop-out decides to take a new path and research in a new and exciting field they feel passionate about, and this new path may eventually lead them to becoming a Professor in the new field of study. A truly significant catalyst! Or it just may be that Aha arrives over a small but not least significant vital issue. However it happens, the Aha moment can make waves as we see and realise new perspectives.

Creativity of course may arise in the Company as small numbers of individuals within teams throw ideas around and choose to experiment in new and dynamic ways. The power of the team verses the individual! Of course, the team has the multiplier effect! Collaborative practice, as such, is an important element leading to creativity, especially when it cuts across boundaries. It is all about making connections, brainstorming, researching new methods, re-evaluating, re-framing and viewing the world from a different angle. Ideas create options for the business so that they can change instantly. Some of the greatest research comes from those who bring together ideas and concepts from different disciplines, rather than studying within one field alone.

Aha moments are important in coaching and act as catalysts to change. An Aha moment is important in business when for instance new ideas arise for the design and creation of new products and services.

Celebrate – Aha, Aha, Aha!

Janette Young at Knowledge Futures, UK. Personal, Career and Executive Coach; Trainer/Learning Facilitator; Consultant and Academic.

Author of Personal Knowledge Capital: The inner and outer path of knowledge creation in a web world Elsevier publishing. Paperback and Kindle e-book.



The Knowledge Leader as a Coach and Sage!

Picture1Sage2It makes sense that coaching as a style of leadership is far more effective than instructing/commanding. Therefore, why wouldn’t a knowledge leader want to coach? It fits with a knowledge sharing culture. An open collaborative culture where a learning organization approach emerges. In this context the knowledge leader becomes the wise ‘Sage’ who uses his know-how and wisdom.

The Knowledge Leader as the ‘Sage’!

Coaching is a gentle and personal way to encourage, motivate and pass-on vital information and knowledge. Coaching enables the leader to observe the body language and nuances of the coach (observing tacit knowledge) through online (face-to-face) and off-line communication. Added to this, this type of coaching style can add a variety of tools at their disposal to the mix such as EQ, positivity psychology, and NLP, thereby motivating and encouraging staff as they pass on the knowledge. Great leadership attractors!

Coaching is known to be an effective leadership style that can be used both regularly and when appropriate. This is in contract to command and control or pacing styles of leadership which should be used sparingly. If not, then these styles cause burn out and alienation. As such they are leadership detractors!

Having worked in a culture where coaching and mentoring staff was the norm way back in my past, I felt at the time, that I was shown the ropes and supported in my role until I was indeed competent enough to shoulder the responsibility of liaising and managing companies. In this context the culture was amiable, collegiate and social and showed kindness. Contrast this with a few years later (going back about ten years now!) where no coaching style was experienced. There was a distinct lack of awareness of leadership styles or more to the point an immersive pacing style seemed to have developed. The result was a dis-empowered culture where the light hearted atmosphere and good will had evaporated! It was of course the so-called knowledge brigade or rather knowledge what?

In knowledge sharing the creation of a suitably amenable culture is at the centre of a knowledge organization. However, let’s face it knowledge organizations’ are led from the top. As such, the leader plays a crucial role and leads by example. Appreciation of the wisdom arising from a coaching style, with its ability to be support the role of Sage, is at the heart of the contemporary knowledge organization. The Sage as an advanced being appreciates the need to use the coaching style to both develop staff, share knowledge, encourage collaboration and get the most out of a knowledge sharing culture that they themselves encourage.

Lets get Coaching!

Janette Young at Knowledge Futures, Personal, Career and Executive Coach, Learning Facilitator, Knowledge Consultant. Focusing on Innovative Leadership, Personal Development and Education. Author of Personal Knowledge Capital: The inner and outer path of knowledge creation in a web world, Elsevier publishing. Paperback and Kindle e-book.


Building Trust

TrustNew Update 24th May 2014

Trust is a mighty word! Not so easy to unpack! However, trust is a key element in the contemporary organization. How do we facilitate the intangible asset such as trust in relationships? The answer lies in being aware of the significance of these relationships (Young, 2012).

Daniel Goleman talks about establishing trust, rapport and listening skills in order to handle emotional situations on a personal level in order to manage with heart.  At a personal organizational level you may trust someone due to competence. Or you may trust due to a benevolence level of trust (or good will to you and me).  Add ‘time’ to the mix! Trust develops and is compounded over time as individuals learn to trust each other step by step.

At an organizational level trust enables ‘speed’ to occur (Covey). This is because when we trust a person or organization – things can happen more quickly and at greater speed! This type of trust enables things to happen far more speedily than would otherwise occur. Trust demands openness, bonding and toughness, and its no easy feat.

We all want to work and collaborative with those we trust. It makes sense and it makes life easier. At the heart of relationships is trust. Without trust it is a managed relationship which lacks a certain element of integrity. If you can’t trust the person, company or situation then walk away.

At the organizational level being aware of the organization culture and level of community spirit, good relationships and collegiality is a first step in weighing up an organization’s ability to share knowledge. In a contemporary knowledge organization value is created through collaborative relationships, sharing, creativity, networks and social capital creation. The importance of this can’t be over emphasized strongly enough. Internally strong relationships are the glue to productivity, collaboration and ultimately innovation. Externally of course organizations reach out to develop strong relationships with customers to sustain the business called CRM and to employees, business, and supplier. Trust is key.

Awareness of the importance of trust enables you to build a business and on a personal level build integrity.

Key Elements of Trust
1. Build relationships
2. Time +
3. Competence professionally
4. Good will – benevolence
5. Creates speed
6. Assess the organizational culture
7. The glue to productivity, collaboration and innovation
8. Important for efficient working practice

Janette Young, Knowledge Futures, Coach, Trainer/Learning Facilitator, Knowledge Consultant. Focusing on Innovative Leadership, Personal Development and Education. Author of Personal Knowledge Capital: The inner and outer path of knowledge creation in a web world Chandos/Elsevier publishing. Paperback and Kindle e-book.


Facilitating a Virtual Space

The world has recently fundamentally changed due to the new technologies. Management has changed and work life experiences have changed. We are no longer work in the physical world but participating in an interconnected dynamic space of physical and virtual synchronous and asynchronous space. The new technologies are rapidly improving and changing as we speak. As such, the pace of change and ability to disrupt means that small companies position themselves in the market and change the rules of the game. Everyone is trying to learn the new rules of the game as the disruption continues.  So what skills do we now find we need to survived in this new world (for those of us who have been around for a while)? In particular we need to know how to operate and lead in all kinds of virtual communities, and appreciate a number of simple techniques to facilitate this process. Awareness of cultural differences, appreciating power dynamics online and how to facilitate dialogue are all part of the practice. The virtual community creates opportunities for knowledge sharing, collaboration, cooperation and reframing of previously held ideas. It enables those involved to deepen ideas. The synergy created in a dynamic space enables interactions between those with opposing views colleagues from all over the world coming together to share and create value through social capital.

Virtual Communities of practice created internally within the organization can be powerful mechanisms that lead to the engagement of staff and the creation of new ideas for innovative management. Communities of practice can bring together those who have a passion in a particular area and they are so powerful that they break down silos and leapfrog across all aspects of internal management structures. Another recent emergence is the “Idea Jam” supported by some of the larger organizations like IBM. Let us get together internally and Jam online for a whole weekend.

However, the virtual community doesn’t survive without good leadership. The management, leadership and vision of the community are pivotal to its success. Added to this, the role of the online facilitator (gardener or moderator – there are many other names) plays a major role in keeping the space “alive”. Many companies and organizations are still trying to build online virtual communities for staff without realizing the importance of the role of leadership in the process. Technology is only technology and it is the human element to make it meet the needs of staff.

Where does this tell us and where does it lead to us? Make sure staff fully understand their role and have the necessary skill when participating in online groups and communities. Make sure they have the skills in place and the ability to participate competently, assess the risks and read the situation.

“Virtual community doesn’t survive without good leadership”

Janette Young, Knowledge Futures is a Coach and Learning Facilitator.   Author of Personal Knowledge Capital:  the inner and outer path of knowledge creation in a web world.  Elsevier.


Personal Knowledge Management

Posted on February 7, 2014

PKMpicPKM (personal knowledge management) takes us into the arena of personal awareness. It starts with the knowledge worker – you or me!  It builds onto know-how at the individual level.

I designed courses in this area when working as a Senior Academic. In the early day authors like Mick Cope who wrote Know Yourself (discussing the concept of head, hand and heart) came to the University to take a guest session with students. He brought his guitar with him and began by strumming to the students before taking us through a facilitative learning experience. It was a truly inspirational session and I was taken by his approach. However, my own work in this area has taken me in the direction of knowledge creation. Eventually, I designed modules in PKM at postgraduate level and lead the field. It became very popular with the students and turned into a blended learning experience online. The assessment was online group activity and partly a reflective individual blog. I believe it helped students’ learn and reflect whilst focusing on themselves and their own reflective practice.

Eventually, this lead me to develop my own ideas in my book Personal Knowledge Capital. Personal knowledge capital is part of both the outer world of technology and the inner world of personal development. Of course the technological environment is increasingly becoming mobile. How then do we interact online, store and edit personal information, collaborate in communities and design our own personal information systems? Alternatively personal knowledge delves into the world of personal development. It involves know-how, cognitive and social. I call this the inner world of knowing (knowledge awareness). It is a skill-set that knowledge workers and leaders alike need to develop. The inner personal knowledge arises from interior place of inner knowing. We do have access to the answers within. This forms part of emotional knowledge assets, and leads us into the area of self-mastery. A fascinating area.

We have moved a long way in the area of PKM because like KM, PKM absorbs practice from psychology, technology and personal development. It helps us to move forward as individual knowledge workers in the new economy and helps us to develop confidence, self-esteem and understand self, along with savvy technical skills.

This is the era of Personal Knowledge!

Janette Young, Knowledge Futures, Knowledge Consultant, Trainer/Learning Facilitator and Coach for Knowledge, Innovative Leadership, Personal Development and Education. Author of Personal Knowledge Capital: The inner and outer path of knowledge creation in a web world Elsevier publishing. Paperback and Kindle e-book.


Implicit Knowledge and Non-Verbal Communication

PicturehandshakeIn the fascinating field of knowledge creation these two areas stand out as worthy of further investigation. Leaders, coaches, knowledge workers, health workers and educationalist can all empower themselves greatly by appreciating this area. Implicit knowledge is a part of tacit knowledge and is indeed a very fuzzy area. In conversation people may imply a meaning rather than explicitly expressing it. It is non-direct rather than direct and shrouded in mystery. This type of language is expressed, in particular, in many Asian type cultures in the form of a type of flowery language that express meaning.  We also use it, but to a lesser extent. Actually it can be used online and off-line where appropriate. Added to this, online we can find visual metaphors that form part of the organization brand and used so that a picture speaks a thousand words. Whether virtual or physical this area is part a sophisticated world.

However, on top of this, non-verbal communication can be seen in terms of observation and this is most definitely part of tacit knowledge! This is the beauty of being in the physical world because we can see a whole range on non-verbal skills. Infact, non-verbal communication can be far more powerful than the spoken word. Non-verbal communication not only arises in knowledge creation but in NLP and Emotional and Social Intelligence and parts of psychology. The overlap continues. In terms of of NLP we have body language, tone of voice, eye movements and ‘mirroring’. Whist in EQ and social intelligence in particular there is an emphasis on facial expression and micro expression which form part of cognitive empathy. Understanding the cues and nuances involved in reading body language and expressions enables the user to ‘read’ a situation or person and appreciate real from the fake. In other words does the body and facial expression match the words? Are the two aligned? The argument for appreciating this area lies in the ability to have greater empathy for others as part of self-awareness, and also lies in its ability to safeguard you in certain situations. The world of knowledge creation is even more interesting than we suspect and we all need to step up and get clued up! I presented on this area last week and think it is very important for those of us who know that human behavior is crucial in to a business context.

Knowledge is Power but never more so in than in the world of non-verbal communication!

Janette Young, Knowledge Futures, Coach, Trainer/Learning Facilitator, Knowledge Consultant. Focusing on Innovative Leadership, Personal Development and Education. Author of Personal Knowledge Capital: The inner and outer path of knowledge creation in a web world Chandos/Elsevier publishing. Paperback and Kindle e-book.

The Dream and Vision

Eye on Flat Panel MonitorHappy New Year 2014!

How do you know where you are going if you don’t have a dream or vision! It’s the same in an organization as it is for the individual. How do you know you are successful if you don’t know where you are going? Clarifying this concept is now always easy. However, here we are at the beginning of a New Year (2014), a perfect time to re-consider new beginnings, new cycles and focus on the road ahead. Is your vision clear, concise, detailed? Can you see it? What components make up the vision?

At the organizational level the vision is part of strategy so that you move from the ’where are we now’ to the ‘where are we going’ thinking. communicating this effectively is imperative. Is the language used precise and clear and succinct? In the current climate do you need to use a short video to get your message across? Major shifts and changes always start at the top and this starts with the vision.

On a personal level without the clarity of the dream and life vision it is very hard to push ahead because, instead we get buried beneath all the ‘noise and distractions’ of every-day life. Get the headlights out to see through the fog! Help yourself to reflect – take time out to write it down. Where is it you want to go in the short-term and long-term? Decide on the steps or goals you wish to pursue (whatever feels most comfortable). The process of writing it down helps you achieve this. Can you communicate this appropriately with conviction? Check inside. Does it feel ‘right’? Is it making your smile or jump for joy? If not why not?  Let’s start 2014 as we mean to go on – GET FOCUSED!

Get the headlights out to see through the fog!

Janette Young, Knowledge Futures, Knowledge Consultant, Trainer/Learning Facilitator and Coach for Knowledge and Innovative Leadership, Personal Development and Education. Author of Personal Knowledge Capital: The inner and outer path of knowledge creation in a web world.


What sort of leaders are knowledge leaders?

Picture1leadershipAre we all leaders now? Are there special qualities and attributes attributable to the knowledge leader? Do we know what a knowledge leader looks like? The answer is yes and no. We are all leaders now online and off-line. In terms of Dan Tapscott’s thinking ‘we are all professionals together’. However, we don’t have clear picture of what a knowledge leader looks like as much research remains to be done in this area. However, one thing is clear the knowledge leaders’ know that the landscape and environment are collaborative and supportive. They are aware that leaders need to coach (the Yogi bear) approach, rather than continuously be (a commander or commissar). I love the Yogi as he/she ‘believes natural change occurs when people have natural incentives to make changes to themselves’. The Yogi focuses on giving colleagues the opportunity to express their feeling through conversation and engagement that leads to organizational change. The commissar of course is stuck in the world of rules and procedures! However, these two approaches offer a very stark contrast, whereas the subtlety of leadership styles in between the two approaches needs to be unpacked, especially in a web world. Of course really it is all about how the leader sees the world.

In terms of leadership and insight ‘don’t the best leaders in the world use their insight’? This links leadership with self-awareness. Think of Daniel Goleman’s work. Trusting and believing in your own insight is key. Leadership and insight are very much at the heart of the creative thinker. The answers and solutions arise from a deep place within. Suddenly it’s the ‘ah ha’ moment! Developing this type of leadership is about developing an inner resilience. Ok, you can think complexity and bigger over-view thinking and making sure you understand the consequence of the decisions you make, but the ability to go within and not without, is the balancing act you need. It adds another dimension so that it becomes the resilience that will make a difference, and make you survive.

Janette Young, Knowledge Futures, Knowledge Consultant, Trainer/Learning Facilitator and Coach for Knowledge, Innovative Leadership, Personal Development and Education. Author of Personal Knowledge Capital: The inner and outer path of knowledge creation in a web world Chandos/Elsevier publishing. Paperback and Kindle e-book.


A for Awareness

Posted on November 8, 2013

The A for awareness is important to all of us on a personal and professional level. It is the A in the KAi (Knowledge Awareness Innovation) and the A in personal awareness. It is important in coaching as a deep level of awareness is required when you listen intently to someone. It is a type of third level listening – a type of hearing that picks up emotion, body language and the environment itself. It is the awareness of the nuances and tone of someone’s voice on the telephone. The knowing that arises when you really listen identitly. It is awareness of the culture in which you work and whether you fit into it. In particular it is an awareness of the beliefs and behaviour of those around you, and this, ultimately helps you navigate the life journey. Key to this is first awareness and then asking the right questions – is this a good fit?

Awareness within Personal Awareness and Personal Knowledge may emerge as a type of helicopter factor as you observe yourself, your actions, thoughts and feelings. Awareness at this level helps you to manage self and eventually become your own Master. Awareness is an under used word and particularly under used in corporate management.

Can we foster awareness? Yes, we can become more alert to our own signs and symptoms. This alertness and awareness can be managed, exploited and used effectively once we learn how important this A really is for a positively managed future.
This A is not for Alpha, this A is for Awareness!

Janette Young, Knowledge Futures, Knowledge Consultant, Trainer/Learning Facilitator and Coach for Knowledge and Innovative Leadership, Personal Development and Education. Author of Personal Knowledge Capital: The inner and outer path of knowledge creation in a webworld.