Re: Emotions & KM #emotions

Aprill Allen


Nailed it. 

On Fri, 16 Oct 2020 at 6:45 pm, Matt Moore <matt@...> wrote:
So lets talk about fear.

I've just had a skim thru "The Fearless Organization" - and I don't hate it. I think creating psychological safety is important. I read Edmondson's advice and I'm like: sure.

However, if creating a psychologically safe organisation was the most important thing for organisational success, there would be more of them.

Our societies and our organisations are full of fear. We punish those who fail or are simply unlucky. We casually discriminate against or enact pain on others because, well, because it's easy and it gets us what we want. Management books such as "The Fearless Organization" make the removal of fear about acts of individual virtue rather acts of structural change.

For example (and I am about to say something political here), lots of people are afraid to criticise their boss because they are afraid of losing their job because there is no financial safety net for them to do so if they do. So don't say that you are in favor of "fearless organisations" if you are not in favour of structural change that makes this possible. If we see emotions as the products of individual biology rather than structures and systems that go beyond the individual then we will always have an impoverished view of them.

Also - people being "afraid to share their knowledge or that KM activity might lead to reprimands". Often, such fears *are* rational. Because people have seen what happens to those who do. Many managers will trade the long term benefit of trust for the short term kick of a business outcome. And they are rewarded for doing so. We talk about "technical debt" (the present cost of past technical decisions). Perhaps we should also talk about incurring "trust debt" or "fear debt".

Now it's not all doom and gloom. There are places where trust and honesty and caring happen.

But I get a cognitive dissonance verging on whiplash when we move from reading the management literature about what we should do and then seeing (and feeling) what we actually do.


Aprill Allen
Founder and Managing Director | Knowledge Bird
Knowledge management consulting & KCS Trainer
M: +61 400 101 961

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