An invitation to Andrew and others (long)

Subject: An invitation to Andrew and others (long)
From: Gwen Thomas <GThomas -at- PaySys -dot- com>
To: 'TECHWR-L ' <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 8 Jun 2000 10:31:27 -0400

So how is it that I find myself both still wanting to "fire" Andrew for his
actions and also agreeing with most of the well-thought-out concepts in his
"Control" post?

Because the issue of freedom vs. control in enterprises is and always has
been one of fuzzy boundaries, at-odds goals, and impossible balancing acts.

Do I think helping yourself to information should be a firing offense? No
way. I've done it more times than I can count - none of us could survive if
we didn't. The most rewarding work of my career has been with skunk works

But the deliberate act of walking through a server room door without
permission (why wasn't it locked?) has been considered strictly verboten
most places I've worked. Circumventing security procedures to give yourself
admin rights has been considered inexcusable any place I've ever been
associated with. Ranks with rifling through the CEO's desk.

Do I think a lazy network admin should be dealt with? Absolutely, but

Do I think a tech comm. contractor worried about meeting a deadline for a
doc should be the one to make a flash decision on whether breaking security
is actually for "the common good" as Andrew put it?

I would not be willing to bet my company's intellectual capital on it. Or
its network operating systems. Or even a day's productivity lost to

But Freedom...
Funny Andrew should mention that. His last post quoted an article, saying
that "in the best and most productive organizations ... people and
participants ... are free to interact and communicate with peers and
external sources with little to no interference from any controlling
entity." He then went on to eloquently describe how too tight of control
can doom a company.

Couldn't agree more. That's why I moved into Knowledge Management - not to
control information, but to work to free it up and make it accessible to
those who could use it (while aligning efforts with the enterprise's
strategic plans).

I'm working on a strategic realignment project now where we're trying to
legitimize knowledge networks and communities of practice across a global
enterprise. We're also looking at making silo-owned information available to
all who could leverage it. We're not looking to replace business units or
hierarchical reporting structures, but to create a hyperlinked layer on top
to increase effectiveness and productivity.

As we go through this, I could use some fine minds to bounce ideas around
with. People who have put time into thinking about knowledge flow, obstacles
to success, how and why skunk works projects succeed, when and how
serendipitous "aha!" moments occur, companies that have succeeded in sharing
knowledge-rich people across departmental boundaries. Voices of reason,
voices of experience, voices of always-valuable naivite, voices of fanatics.

How about it, Andrew? Wanna join my community of practice?
Tracy, Amy, Mike, John, Michelle, the others who wrote me privately?

Anyone who wants to participate, send me an email.

Gwen Thomas
Corporate Knowledge Manager
PaySys International, Inc.
407.660.8807 x511

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