RE: Knowledge Management (kinda long)

Subject: RE: Knowledge Management (kinda long)
From: "Domaschuk, Rob" <Robd -at- datalogics -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 4 Sep 2002 09:38:21 -0500

Gotta agree with John, Keith, and Bill on this one.

Brad wrote:
> You teach best what you most need to learn.

Actually, it may *appear* that way because your interest level will be
higher on a subject that you are wanting to learn. The knowledge you have
just gained will be fresh and (perhaps) exciting.

That does not a teacher make.

How effective is a teacher or seminar-leader when they cannot answer
questions or put the information into a 'real-world' perspective. I've had
university professors like that - they believed that all they needed to do
was learn the material a few days before they taught it. As long as we
didn't ask questions, it worked well.

> Let's see, we go to church to listen to a person instruct us in
> spiritual things, that very frankly,
> they don't completely understand themselves.
> Then we go to seminars on stock market strategies and --- ditto.
> Then we go to therpists --- ditto.
> Then we go to knowledge management consultants and --- ditto.

I find this a bit disturbing. It goes back to the whole "either/or"
mentality that we seem to obsess on:
* Either we know everything about a subject,
or we know nothing.
* Either we believe tools are important, or we
believe that the learning is important.

In the above examples, I see a view that equates not knowing (or
understanding) something completely with not knowing it at all. That isn't
the case.

Let's take the example of clergy and therapists. Do they know everything
about their subject and what they are "teaching"? No, they don't. For their
area of practice, life is a journey and most people in these professions are
there not to give answers but to help you figure out which questions to ask
along that journey. Incidentally, you are quite capable of answering those
questions for yourself without being force-fed someone else's view. I know -
I was in seminary and am trained in counselling. To that end, they know a
lot about what they are saying/instructing.

Stock market analysts and seminars? Given the choice of attending a
financial seminar hosted by *Citigroup Financial* (for example) and *Fred's
"We don't let larnin' get in the way" Brokers*, I am probably going to go
with Citigroup. Not because they have more information than Fred's, but
their experience and knowledge are going to let them see trends and they'll
be better at answering my concerns and questions.

Back to the original thread/post - if you are going to lead a seminar on
knowledge mgmt and offer yourself as the expert, then you better be able to
back it up when push comes to shove. It's no different (tech writing tie-in
here) than applying for a senior tech writer position if you have less than
one year experience and only edit people's work (instead of writing your own
content). You might get called on to prove that you have the knowledge and
experience to be at a senior or manager level.

I suppose it is possible to see leading a seminar as a Zen experience, but I
wouldn't try that approach in corporate America.

Rob Domaschuk | 312.853.8337 - t
Technical Writer | 630.430.4162 - m
Datalogics inc. | 719.623.7431 - f

"A man is not old until regrets take the
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