January 2008 SIKM Call - Kent Greenes on Facilitated Better Practice Transfer #peer-assist #monthly-call #proven-practice #knowledge-transfer
I really enjoyed the conference call with Kent today, and his presentation.
A few of my key takeaways:
If I think about Tom Davenport's work in Thinking for a Living and his classification structure for knowledge-intensive processes, and some of Richard McDermott's ideas in Learning the Master's Art, it would seem that not all types of knowledge/knowledge work are appropriate, or suitable, for best practices transfer.
If you subscribe to the notion that expertise is the ability to improvise effectively in previously un-encountered situations, or around new / novel / different problems, it seems that BPT doesn't really apply - unless, as Kent mentioned in the presentation, a learning conversation with the "learner" and the "contributor" is facilitated. But this strikes me more as developing new knowledge rather than transferring knowledge.
A practical situation. A while back, I did facilitate some interesting, experimental conversations. Organizations have specific policies around employee leave - vacation, bereavement etc. - often rooted in legislation. Organizations generally extend these legislated minimums as part of a career value proposition, presenting managers the opportunity to apply "discretion." HR organizations create guidelines to help managers make equitable decisions for their staff. The problem is that discretion falls squarely in a "gray zone" and over time, aggregated across multiple workgroups, tends to diverge significantly.
So I organized a number of large group "conversations" with managers around progressively complicated case studies. In each case breakout groups of managers considered the cases, made a group decision, and presented the decision to the whole group. The large group was comprised of a heterogeneous mix of new mangers, experienced managers, experienced managers new to the organization, and HR professionals with expertise in policy and acquainted with broad policy challenges across the organization.
The twist was that I asked each group to make explicit their thinking process - how they defined the problem, how they approached the situation, key considerations, sources of valid information (e.g. past experiences) what information/considerations were dismissed and why etc. The notion was that through involvement in numerous conversations about the case studies, more equitable application of discretion would emerge over time.
Based on feedback from participants, it seems like there is merit in continuing the conversations, and merit in forming a "better practice" thinking model/approach, and making it available, perhaps supported by a managers community of practice.
So, in the case of expertise/deep smarts, perhaps there is a way to transfer some degree of best practice after all.
TO: SIKM Leaders Community
Today we held our 32nd monthly call. Here is a summary.
The call was recorded. Thanks to Kent for presenting. Here are some comments from the participants: "Good call." "Outstanding presentation by Kent." "Good call today."
You can continue the discussion by replying to this thread or starting a new one such as Dale's post.