Freedom of Knowledge, Value of Longevity

In both my recent work experiences, the face-to-face staff meeting is the still the number one vehicle for sharing information and knowledge.  Email is used to a lesser degree (and lesser effect for the most part).  In my mind, walking around the office, talking and asking questions is the most effective way to know what is going on.  My current organization is also very good about sharing weekly reports from the various entities, letting us get into the weeds a little.

My immediate past organization was geographically disbursed across Maryland, but still had both monthly and quarterly meetings where people came in from the field.  There was also a program of going out to the field pretty regularly.  There was a feeling of reasonable cohesion within the organization.

In both cases, however, I have not seen a significant use of mostly available technology.  Conference calls have been as good as it gets.

Longevity is a very different factor for me.  In my current position, there has been a huge turnover in the last year plus.  New folks far outnumber long term employees.  There is certainly reliance on long term people for what has happened in the past, but much of the emphasis is on a new model of service to and consideration of members.  On the other hand, my previous organization was highly partial to longevity.  In five and a half years I never felt as much a part of the organization as I did in my current organization almost from the start.  I think that much like the rest of life, longevity must be valued in moderation.  Longevity is very important in figuring out how you got where you are and what has worked or not worked in the past and why.  Paradigm shifts are better led by those with a little distance from the past.

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5 thoughts on “Freedom of Knowledge, Value of Longevity

  1. Hi Mike, we have tons of meetings, and email pollution is consistent, but people still complain they don’t know what’s going on. This proves organization centric models can be ineffective. If we would mobilize when necessary, keep the emails and meetings to a minimum, and use SharePoint and other technology more and effectively, we would probably get more done.

  2. desertoasisx03 says:

    Hey Mike,

    I fully know that feeling of being in an organization watching as people are getting replaced with newer personnel – fully knowing the value of longevity but not seeing it really valued. It’s a difficult position to be in, so i really hope that things calm down a little bit…

    Communication is a difficult thing to facilitate beyond the conference calls and emails, particularly in a larger organization. unfortunately i also have found that politics of a larger organization make that even more complicated because communication ends up incredibly nuanced and misunderstood…

    Great post!

  3. Hi Mike,
    It doesn’t seem to matter much what format communication happens in; what matters more, to my view, is the shared culture of the organization. The tools will be used in conformance with that culture. Real change happens in the domain of the shared culture, or company narrative- how the situation occurs to people. Three Laws of Performance: #1 Performance correlates with how situations occur to people; #2 How situations occur to people arises in language; #3 Future-based language alters how a situation occurs to people.

    http://josephrroberson.wordpress.com/2014/07/13/the-three-laws-of-performance/

  4. “Paradigm shifts are better led by those with a little distance from the past.” I like this, Mike. Striking a balance is really important. A little distance is probably good, as long as its tempered by an understanding of the system being changed.

    On the topic of communication–although perhaps a bit afield of this conversation so far, I’ve found that serendipitous communication (i.e., the ones that happen around the water cooler) are sooo important to forward progress and team cohesion. This is the good stuff that happens outside the boundaries of our attempts to formalize communication, and it’s really hard to get our arms around it. That is indeed culture is so important. When we recognize in an organization’s culture that these conversations are gold mines, we all become participants in those interactions without having a mandate. Not easy, but as I get older and work gets more complex, I’m finding that this is the way the best work often gets done.

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