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  • The Knowledge Management Handbook - Book review

    The Knowledge Management Handbook - Book review 1 August 2016 Dr. Moria Levy Previous Article Next Article "The Knowledge Management Handbook: A Step-by-Step Guide to Embedding Effective Knowledge Management in Your Organization," authored by Nick Milton and Patrick Lambe, renowned knowledge management leaders hailing from England and the East, was published in 2016. This is a comprehensive and practical knowledge management guide. It adeptly encompasses explicit knowledge, offering guidance on what to do, and the often intricate tacit knowledge, providing insights on implementing these concepts. The book doesn't prescribe a singular approach but presents multiple acceptable courses of action, drawing from literature and experiential knowledge. It encourages readers to select the approach that best suits their organization, acknowledging the diversity of contexts. The book delves into various crucial topics, including: 1. Definition of Knowledge Management 2. Initiating the Knowledge Management Process within an Organization 3. Knowledge Management Infrastructure - A Supportive Framework for Activities 4. Types of Knowledge Management Solutions 5. Establishment Process 6. The Post-Implementation Phase 7. Challenges This summary only scratches the surface, as the book is replete with in-depth information, practical tips, and illustrative examples integrated into the narrative and as standalone chapters. Definition of Knowledge Management The beginning of the book evokes the style of a typical Jewish joke, setting a humorous tone. When you gather five knowledge management experts in a room, you'll inevitably encounter seven definitions of what knowledge management entails. Nevertheless, Milton and Lambe provide a clear purpose: Knowledge management is an emerging discipline focused on knowledge. It represents an approach to overseeing work that emphasizes recognizing the value and impact of knowledge, a vital intangible asset within an organization. The critical elements of knowledge management that enjoy widespread acceptance include: 1. Facilitating connections among individuals. 2. Drawing insights from past experiences. 3. Enhancing access to documents. 4. Preserving knowledge within the organization. 5. Cultivating insights such as best practices. 6. Fostering innovation. Initiating the Knowledge Management Process within an Organization Numerous approaches exist for initiating knowledge management activities within an organization. The authors recommend a dual-strategy course: a long-term commitment to experimentation, piloting, and seizing immediate opportunities to achieve quick wins. A comprehensive knowledge management strategy comprises the following components: 1. Vision: A concise statement that aligns employees with the subject matter. 2. Demarcation: Clearly defining the boundaries and scope of knowledge management. 3. Guiding Principles: Suggested examples include: - Knowledge management is organization-led and aligns with the organization's strategy. - Knowledge management prioritizes critical knowledge and impactful decisions. - Implementing knowledge management is akin to a behavioral change management program and will be phased in gradually as a project. - The knowledge management plan incorporates the necessary infrastructure (detailed in the subsequent chapter). 4. Assessment of Current Knowledge State: This involves: - Analyzing knowledge assets, including documented knowledge, trainable skills, practices, connections, experience, and natural talents. - Mapping potential benefits stemming from knowledge management. - Analyzing challenges, including current risks, access to knowledge assets, and identified gaps. 5. Change Management Plan: Determining how to navigate the change management process. 6. Business Case: Although only sometimes mandatory, it is advisable to include a proof of concept exemplifying the benefits of knowledge management through a one-time event. Proof of concept examples encompass: - Learning from Project Summary (Retrospect). - Peer Assist. 7. Culture: Addressing culture involves several stages, including: - Mapping the existing knowledge management culture (with two possible models proposed). - Understanding the underlying factors driving cultural behaviors. - Formulating and communicating a change management plan to cultivate a supportive culture for knowledge management. Knowledge Management Infrastructure - A Supportive Framework for Activities The knowledge management infrastructure, which serves as the framework facilitating and sustaining long-term activities, comprises four primary components: 1. Role Holders 2. Processes 3. Technology 4. Governance Indeed, all these components necessitate adequate budgets, primarily for staffing but not exclusively so. Further Details on Key Functionaries Include: - Sponsor of Knowledge Management: This individual holds a senior position and is pivotal as the primary change agent. They lead the knowledge management program at the highest level, challenging the status quo, allocating necessary resources, emphasizing the business aspects, monitoring progress, removing obstacles, and representing the management of knowledge to the executive team. - Knowledge Manager (Lead): This individual heads the Knowledge Management Team (described below) and is ideally a senior figure from within the organization. - Knowledge Management Team: This team scales per the organization's size and possesses a diverse skill set, including business acumen, coordination and planning abilities, deep organizational knowledge, change management skills, writing proficiency, technical prowess, and project management proficiency. Team members are passionate about knowledge management and adept at implementing tools and techniques. In larger teams, roles such as project manager and communication manager may exist. The knowledge management team can be situated in various organizational areas, each offering distinct advantages. - Knowledge Management Steering Committee: This coalition drives change by providing guidance, allocating resources, and wielding decision-making authority. It comprises representatives from key departments (e.g., human resources, information technology, quality) and fosters collaboration, as only some entities can effectively lead knowledge management in isolation. - Knowledge Management Leaders in Units: These individuals act as advocates for knowledge management, representing the Knowledge Management Implementation Unit and bridging the gap between employees and external sources of knowledge beyond the usual context. Investing in training and support for these leaders, which can encompass resources, community-building, events, and more, is advisable. (The book offers comprehensive insights into each of these roles.) Note: Investment efforts should commence with stakeholder recruitment, beginning with awareness, progressing through engagement, and culminating in cultural and institutional adoption and assimilation. Regarding Processes: - These are defined in the chapters and pertain to knowledge management solutions, the establishment process, and post-implementation considerations. Concerning Technology: - This aspect is elucidated within the context of knowledge management solutions. In Governance: - Systematic definition of solutions. - Supporting documentation (e.g., Business Case, Strategy, Appointment Letters). - Clear articulation of expectations from employees/units (e.g., Charter/Ethics Rules, Manuals). - Provision of tutorials. - Dissemination of usage guides. - Establish procedures and guidelines. - Documentation and celebration of success stories. - Implementation of performance measurement. Types of Knowledge Management Solutions Knowledge management solutions can be categorized into four groups, closely aligned with NONAKA's SECI model, represented along two axes – human (Connect) and content (Collect). Connect- These solutions focus on connecting people to foster dialogue and interaction. Equivalent to SECI, Socialize Collect- These solutions revolve around capturing and documenting knowledge, including oral proficiency, and processing and integrating it effectively. Emphasis within Discourse: It is advisable to prioritize dialogue types that encourage exploring different perspectives and attaining mutual understanding. These dialogues necessitate structure and regulation. Typical processes include: - Knowledge community meetings (both face-to-face and virtual) - Discourse on social networks - Building expert maps and facilitating knowledge transfer - Peer assistance Supporting technologies: - Discussion forums and Q&A platforms - Enterprise social networks - People Locator Systems Emphasis within Capture and Record Knowledge: Four distinct types of information and knowledge are involved, with a focus on capturing and documenting these resources: Typical processes encompass: - Interviews - Lessons Learned sessions (After Action Reviews - AAR) - A3 Reports (borrowed from Toyota's methodology) - Retrospectives Supporting technologies: - Recording technologies, including video - Knowledge management systems - Lessons repositories - Blogs Emphasis within Processing: Structured and validated content is at the heart of processing knowledge, involving various processes and sample content like procedures, working methods, checklists, templates, FAQs, and tips. Processing activities can be individual, collaborative between teams, or even part of a wiki marathon. Supporting technologies: - Wiki platforms - Portals - Specialized knowledge bases Emphasis within Detection: Encouraging people to search for knowledge is paramount in this category, making learning more accessible and traceable. Implementing proactive methods, such as BAR (Best Available Resource), is crucial. Typical processes: - Proactive search strategies Supporting technologies: - Search applications - Tag clouds - Automatic tagging tools - Taxonomy systems - Catalogs The book describes the various functionaries and the processes for establishing these solutions and provides governance examples for each. The authors also recommend creating a summary table that outlines individual solutions concerning the four types mentioned above, as well as the associated activities related to people (roles), processes, technology, and governance. Establishment Process The construction process comprises several distinct stages. Below, you will find a suggested outline of the typical components of such a program: 1. Formation and Training of a Knowledge Management Team 2. Cultural Analysis 3. Stakeholder Engagement 4. Training and Guidance for Knowledge Workers in Knowledge Management Practices 5. Establishment of a Supportive Framework for Activities encompassing the above four aspects 6. Development of a Technological Infrastructure 7. Implementation of an Enterprise Taxonomy Infrastructure 8. Capability for Proof of Concept (PoC) 9. Execution of Pilot Projects: These projects draw from experience and are designed to illuminate the correct course of action, a supportive framework, and, of course, to generate successful outcomes, providing evidence of the feasibility of knowledge management. 10. Iterative Improvement and Adjustments to the Activity Support Framework 11. Launch of Full-Scale Activities 12. Development of Governance Processes to Fully Integrate Knowledge Management within the Organization 13. Reporting and Future Planning Each of these sections entails numerous sub-steps. We recommend a meticulous approach to planning and resource management, encompassing time, personnel, and investment, to ensure the successful execution of this comprehensive plan. The Post-Implementation Phase The success of knowledge management relies on integrating knowledge management activities into the organization's everyday operations. It's crucial not to consider these activities separate endeavors once established. To achieve this, the organization should take the following steps at the organizational level: 1. Assimilate Knowledge Management Functionaries into the Organizational Structure: Incorporate individuals responsible for knowledge management as integral parts of the organizational framework. 2. Make Comprehensive Adjustments to the Supportive Framework for Knowledge Management Activities: Ensure that the support systems and structures align seamlessly with knowledge management initiatives. 3. Establish Governance for Knowledge Management: Implement governance mechanisms encompassing guidelines, performance measurement, and training. Regarding measurement, there are four distinct categories of metrics in knowledge management: 1. Activity Measurement 2. Performance Measurement: Evaluating knowledge management activities against the planned policy. 3. Impact Measurement: Assessing the positive changes attributable to knowledge management. 4. Maturity Measurement of Knowledge Management: This pertains to the enterprise's overall maturity of knowledge management. The first three metrics are applied to each project, while the maturity measurement is implemented at an enterprise-wide level. These measurements can serve as a basis for recognizing and rewarding success. Concerning the future, after completing the entire program and successfully embedding knowledge management as an integral part of normative organizational activity, knowledge management must continue to thrive on two fronts: 1. Current Level: This involves ongoing support, monitoring, control, and a commitment to continuous improvement. 2. Refresh and Update: As organizations evolve, knowledge management should adapt accordingly. It's crucial to periodically refresh and update the framework and initiate new pilots and projects to ensure that knowledge management remains aligned with the organization's changing needs and goals. In closing, it's important to remember that every ending marks the beginning of a new phase. As the saying goes: "And every end is a new beginning." (M.L.) Challenges Below are the primary lessons learned from real-world experience in the field, representing the most common challenges encountered along the way: 1. Lack of Business Focus: Failing to present knowledge management with a clear business focus. 2. Insufficient Integration with Business Processes: Integrating knowledge management into core business processes. 3. Failure to Secure Management Support and Stakeholder Engagement: Inability to garner support from management and effectively engage stakeholders. 4. Lack of Focus on High-Value Knowledge: Neglecting to prioritize knowledge of significant value. 5. Inability to Demonstrate Measurable Benefits: Need to demonstrate tangible benefits that align with stakeholder and user expectations. 6. Unequal Emphasis on Infrastructure Components: Giving disproportionate weight to certain aspects of the knowledge management infrastructure, often at the expense of functionaries and governance. 7. Partial Implementation of Knowledge Management Solutions: Implementing only a portion of a comprehensive knowledge management solution. 8. Overly Complex Solutions: Designing knowledge management solutions that prove excessively complex for users, emphasizing simplicity and integration with existing tools. 9. Lack of Change Management Approach: Need to implement knowledge management as a change management program. 10. Limited Outreach: Restrict knowledge management initiatives to those already convinced of their value. 11. Resistance from Uncooperative Employees: Facing opposition and uncooperative behavior from employees. 12. Staffing Challenges: Dealing with frequent staff changes and turnover can disrupt knowledge management efforts. 13. Inadequate Knowledge Management Team: Struggling with a knowledge management team that may need the necessary skills and capabilities. As highlighted, knowledge management is undoubtedly a challenging endeavor. However, its significance undeniably compels organizations to invest the effort required to succeed. The rewards make it a worthwhile pursuit. (M.L.)

  • The Organized Mind - Book review

    The Organized Mind - Book review 1 July 2016 Dr. Moria Levy Previous Article Next Article "The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload" is a book by Daniel Levitin in 2014. Levitin was a student of Prof. Tversky, a research colleague of Nobel Prize-winning Kahneman, who tragically passed away at an early age. The book delves into the theme that in today's era of information overflow, we often struggle with memory retention and offers insights into how we can enhance our cognitive abilities. The book covers a wide array of topics, including: 1. The Challenge: Information Overflow 2. The Brain's Role in Thinking 3. Attention 4. Cataloging 5. Externalization of Memory 6. Alternative Methods 7. Enhancing Memory for People 8. Decision Making 9. Vigilance Against Biases 10. Seeking Satisfactory Solutions With a practical approach, the book provides numerous actionable recommendations. While it occasionally lacks focus, readers can undoubtedly extract valuable ideas from its content. Enjoy your reading! The Challenge: Information Overflow It comes as no surprise that we inhabit a world overflowing with an abundance of information. Ever since the evolution of the Internet, we find ourselves residing in an information-rich environment and constantly bombarded with copious amounts of it. At any given moment, we can access as much information as we desire, often surpassing our immediate needs, covering a broad spectrum of topics, from studies and research to attitudes, opinions, and beliefs. The term "Big Data" aptly encapsulates this formidable challenge. On one hand, it presents numerous opportunities to acquire more knowledge, enhance our memory, and facilitate improved decision-making. On the other hand, it poses a substantial challenge. Our brain's capacity to effectively manage this influx of information falls short of our expectations. The paramount challenge lies in taming this deluge and avoiding being submerged by it. It entails remembering amidst the information flood and making decisions despite the overwhelming data surrounding us. The Brain's Role in Thinking The brain's mechanisms for thinking can be examined at various levels, from physiological and neuronal to perceptual aspects. This summary will primarily focus on these levels. In the context of memory retention, three core processes come into play: 1. Absorption of Information 2. Storage 3. Retrieval Surprisingly, despite the overwhelming volume of data and information we encounter, our brains can absorb and store nearly everything we choose to take in. The challenge arises when we attempt to retrieve this information, pulling it from its storage location. This issue manifests in two distinct ways: forgetfulness, where we fail to recall specific details or the context, and errors, where we remember incorrectly. Recognizing that the brain organizes received information into categories is crucial to understanding what leads to such errors. While the same information may be stored under multiple categories (e.g., "blue object" and "gift I liked"), the fundamental principle is categorization by family resemblance. Consequently, remembering a unique event is relatively straightforward, whereas recalling a specific routine event becomes more challenging. For instance, recalling what one had for breakfast last Wednesday is difficult if the brain tags it as a regular breakfast without distinctive attributes (resulting in cognitive savings). However, suppose that breakfast included unusual elements, such as a special meal or an unexpected phone call. In that case, the categorization expands beyond just "breakfast," increasing the likelihood of remembering the details, especially the unique ones. This categorization method also contributes to memory errors, as items cataloged together may be retrieved incorrectly, leading to mixed recollections. In contrast, the calculation and decision-making processes are rooted in systems commonly called System 1 and System 2. System 1 operates swiftly, offering answers with minimal energy and time expenditure. For example, when asked to compute 5 times 10, we instinctively retrieve the pre-established answer without actual calculation. In contrast, System 2, the more resource-intensive system, takes charge when System 1 deems a request too complex or demanding. System 2 engages in deliberation, computation, and thoughtful analysis to arrive at a response. Attention Whether conscious or subconscious, attention plays a crucial role in aiding memory. If nothing enters the brain, there will be nothing to retrieve and remember later. When we use the term "attention," we encompass its broad meaning, encompassing what our mind becomes aware of, whether through the senses of hearing or other sensory channels. Our attention operates alongside a filtering mechanism; not everything we hear is processed and retained in our minds. Two critical criteria heavily influence this filtering process: change and importance. Our brain constantly detects change compared to the existing state, even when unaware. This encompasses changes in movement, content, or voice—changes perceptible through any of our senses. The second criterion is subjective importance, related to what resonates with us personally, such as specific words, individuals, or objects that hold relevance in our lives. We cannot attend to everything simultaneously because attention is a finite resource. Furthermore, shifting our attention from one subject to another consumes significant cognitive resources. At any given moment, attention is directed toward one focal point, inevitably diverting it from something else. So, what's the recommendation? If there are specific things we wish to remember, it's imperative to assist our brain by proactively directing our attention. We should contemplate how we intend to remember a particular action, task, or experience as it unfolds. This is a constructive starting point, as without our conscious guidance, our brain may independently shift its attention toward other stimuli, or it may not. Cataloging So, we've made the conscious decision to remember something. We've actively turned our attention to ensuring its absorption into our minds. Indeed, whether we are aware of it or not, much information is absorbed by our minds. The primary issue arises when we fail to recall something or misremember it; it's not that we haven't initially absorbed and stored it in our brains, but rather, we encounter difficulty retrieving it. While there is an undeniably strong link between attention and memory, there is a crucial third component in this equation: the catalog. Our brain systematically catalogs each memory within a mental "drawer," which coexists with related memories. Individual pieces of information absorbed into our brain are not allotted independent spaces; instead, they are cataloged, closely associated with their defining characteristics. Much like virtual folders on a computer, our memories are typically labeled based on several identifying features that classify them. These labels ultimately aid or hinder our capacity to comprehend and retrieve them. For example, if we had an egg and salad breakfast on a particular Wednesday, it would be categorized with numerous other breakfasts. We might not retain their memory if egg and salad breakfasts are routine. Conversely, if we deviated from our usual breakfast schedule and had it at lunchtime, the memory would also be tagged as "unusual." This cataloging system streamlines our mental organization, and we humans tend to thrive on order as it simplifies our lives. The multi-catalog approach helps us streamline perception and determine the significance of various memories. Our knowledge of the world allows us to discern if something resembles others, requires minimal attention, or possesses distinct qualities that warrant heightened attention, contemplation, and action. The catalog also enhances memory accuracy and facilitates information retrieval when needed. Suppose we only recall that it was breakfast. In that case, we may struggle to remember accompanying details (such as the color of the shirt we were wearing), or we might erroneously associate unrelated details with a memory from another day. This occurs because the brain has stored the item as part of a cluster of information, retaining only what is essential for comprehension during the initial storage. What's the practical recommendation? If we intend to remember something, more is needed to think about it to ensure absorption. We must also focus on its distinctive details, embedding them into our memory. This holistic approach enables us to retrieve the entire memory when needed accurately. Moreover, we should tailor these categories to our individual preferences and not rely solely on universal categories. It's recommended to group 5-20 items together, with up to four types of items within each category, especially when the connections between the things could be more robust. The more we delve into a particular subject, the more we'll subdivide our descriptions and categorizations into finer subcategories (e.g., tools > types of nails > thickness, etc.) and vice versa. Externalization of Memory Up to this point, we've elucidated ways to enhance brain activity and improve memory. However, life could be considerably more straightforward if we didn't rely solely on our memory and someone else remembered for us. Why do we frequently forget where we've placed our keys? As previously discussed, it often pertains to a mundane, routine activity lacking significant change or importance. We tend to set our keys aside while preoccupied with more pressing matters, cataloging the information without additional details (or not cataloging it at all), leading to subsequent forgetfulness. How can we liberate ourselves from the burden of remembering? The first approach involves establishing a permanent place for items like keys. Allocate a designated spot where these items belong and strictly adhere to this arrangement. The book's author even presents photographs of homes featuring specially designed holders matched to keys (or other easily misplaced items), each tailored to its specific purpose. Externalizing our memory to a fixed location obviates the need to remember the specifics of each event, ultimately enhancing overall memory capacity, as you'll consistently know where to find what you need. The second application capitalizes on making forgetting essential tasks or items difficult. For instance, if you want to remember to buy milk after work, place an empty cardboard box next to the driver's seat. It will catch your eye and serve as a compelling reminder. This concept extends to commonplace items, such as a pillbox containing medicine for each day, a widely familiar example. The third application suggests adhering to established standards and conventions, simplifying decision-making, and reducing the need to remember specific details. For instance, keep the top turned on, and the bottom turned off, or designate red for danger and green for normalcy. The fourth application involves leveraging technology. Scan documents into your computer, transfer them using optical character recognition (OCR) and let the computer remember and manage them. The underlying idea is straightforward, and its implementation is equally so. Externalizing our memory liberates cognitive resources for more critical matters while enhancing our memory even in routine aspects of life, which are often susceptible to forgetfulness due to their inherent lack of novelty or significance. These strategies alleviate the daily, and often hourly, burden of remembering such routine tasks. Alternative Methods The Junk Drawer Who among us doesn't have a "junk drawer" at home? There's usually at least one, whether in the kitchen, garage, or utility room (which often turns into a catch-all closet). And most of us have one or more on our computers as well. Levitan argues that having a junk drawer isn't bad; it's necessary in our daily lives and on our computers. Every attempt to meticulously engineer every aspect of our lives is bound to fail from the outset. The solution will always feel forced and ultimately won't succeed. It's advisable to keep such a drawer, give it some organization, and recognize its value when you can't locate something elsewhere. It's crucial to remember that having something in the wrong place or cataloged improperly is much more troublesome than leaving it unfiled in the junk drawer. In this summary, the junk drawer even lends its name to a chapter called "Other Methods," encompassing everything that doesn't fit neatly into other categories. The Duplicates When we need something in our home in multiple locations, we often dart between places to locate it. The easiest solution is to buy another one and have duplicates (e.g., scissors in the study and kitchen). This approach eliminates the need for constant searching and wondering where we last left the item. In the digital realm, we've been implementing this for years through hyperlinks between folders or within websites. The same principle can be applied in our daily lives (akin to the multiple catalogs), and there's no reason not to do so. The savings are more substantial than one might anticipate, as uncertainty itself consumes significant mental resources and the time spent searching for misplaced items. Embrace the Trash Can Dispose of everything unnecessary; this reduces the number of things that need to be remembered. Separate Whenever Possible Create distinct environments for different purposes, including dividing a room, organizing your computer, managing email accounts, or using a tablet. You create separate contexts by employing multiple domains designated for a specific purpose (e.g., work, play, household chores), making it easier to remember and associate tasks with the appropriate setting. Enhancing Memory for People So far, we've explored methods and tools to aid in remembering information, but what about people? Many of us struggle with recalling faces or names of individuals we've encountered. Here are some recommendations: 1. Detailed Documentation: During your initial meeting with someone, make it a practice to add as much detail as possible to their business card or accompanying note. Additionally, scan this information into your computer. The act of recording aids memory, and the contents of your notes provide valuable context. Utilizing digital tools assists in retrieval when needed. 2. Categorization in Group Settings: In situations where you meet many people within the same context (such as a reunion or work meeting), consider associating an additional memory category with each person and their association with the larger group. This helps distinguish individuals and improves recall. 3. Focused Attention: When engaging with someone, be attentive to the person standing before you. Make a conscious effort to commit their face and name to memory actively. 4. Name Repetition and Association: When introduced to a new person, repeat their name several times during the conversation. Try to associate with someone you already know who shares the same name. If you don't have such an association, politely ask the person to spell their name, and then repeat the spelling to reinforce your memory. These strategies can significantly enhance your ability to remember people's names and faces, making social interactions more enjoyable and meaningful. Decision Making Brain organization involves accessing stored information and employing knowledge effectively when making decisions. In this regard, Levitan provides critical recommendations for understanding the causes of confusion in thinking and facilitating decision-making: 1. Avoid Hasty Judgments: Sometimes, people behave in ways that may appear inappropriate, leading us to form negative opinions about them. It's crucial to recognize that their actions might result from situational difficulties rather than inherent character flaws or ill intentions. 2. Promote Direct Communication: People often communicate indirectly. Engage in active listening and strive to steer conversations toward direct communication without resorting to manipulation. 3. Avoid Generalizations: Guard against making overly broad generalizations or stereotypes about individuals or groups. 4. Task Simplification: Acknowledge that complex tasks can be overwhelming, causing stress and confusion. To manage this, break them down into smaller, more manageable tasks. 5. Separate Planning and Execution: Understand that the brain processes planning and execution in different areas. Make a deliberate effort to separate these two phases. 6. Task Grouping: Recognize the challenge of handling numerous and diverse tasks. Organize similar tasks into groups and tackle them sequentially (e.g., paying all bills simultaneously) before moving on to the next group. 7. Task Analysis: Realize that tasks often comprise multiple components, and it's only sometimes necessary or possible to address all of them. Analyze tasks to identify and prioritize the most critical elements for successful completion. 8. Scheduled Breaks: Acknowledge that the brain isn't a machine and requires breaks. Incorporate quality sleep during learning processes, such as initial learning followed by repetition or deepening the next day. Include rest breaks in your workday routine to rejuvenate and promote a state of flow that enhances creativity. 9. Self-Confidence and Task Significance: Recognize that task success is heavily influenced by both the importance of the task and our self-confidence in accomplishing it. Employ self-persuasion techniques to bolster self-confidence when it's lacking and necessary. By implementing these recommendations, you can optimize your cognitive processes, enhance decision-making, and navigate complex tasks and social interactions more effectively. Vigilance Against Biases As many are already aware, thanks to the teachings of Prof. Daniel Kahneman, Prof. Dan Ariely, and others, people commonly tend to make erroneous decisions based on available information. Here are some recommendations to counteract these biases: 1. Mitigate Small Number Statistics Bias: Recognize that our decisions are often biased because we give too much weight to statistics from tiny sample sizes. Consider complementary statistics to gain a more balanced perspective. 2. Manage Decision Overload: Acknowledge that an excess of decisions can lead to bias. Make immediate decisions with clear answers, and delegate some decisions to others. Focus your attention solely on what remains. 3. Evaluate Information Sources: Be aware of our inclination to favor professional information, regardless of its ability to aid the decision at hand. Avoid over-reliance on diagnostic information and prioritize existing statistics, especially in cases of uncertainty. 4. Vet Internet Information: Understand that misinformation on the Internet can bias our decisions. Verify sources, and when verification is not possible, approach the information with caution and limited trust. 5. Recognize Spurious Correlations: Be vigilant regarding statistical details that may seem like cause-and-effect relationships but are not (correlation between parameters does not necessarily imply causation). Critically evaluate such findings and consider the potential influence of third-party factors. 6. Combat Confirmation Bias: Realize our tendency to perceive information related to our experiences (e.g., assuming everyone is pregnant or has a car). Raise awareness of this bias and try disregarding such information as it may not reflect reality. Consider involving others in your decision-making process. 7. Avoid Projection Bias: Understand that we often attribute projections from stories to broader statistical realities. Exercise caution in making such assumptions. 8. Manage Fear of Regret: Acknowledge our fear of future regret, which can drive us to make decisions, even if they are incorrect, to avoid that regret. Be mindful of this bias. 9. Address Emotional Decision-Making: Recognize our tendency to make emotionally driven decisions. Approach emotionally charged decisions with extra care and consideration. By implementing these recommendations, you can reduce cognitive biases and make more informed decisions based on available information. Seeking Satisfactory Solutions One of our limitations in decision-making is the allocation of resources required for this process. These resources encompass both the information available for the decision and the cognitive functions, including calculations for numerical data. These resources are abundant and naturally impact our capacity to handle concurrent tasks. In some cases, they may even affect our confidence or lack thereof in completing the original task. How can we support our mental faculties and ourselves? The solution is simple: redefine the objective of the decision-making process. Instead of pursuing the exact answer to the original question, consider seeking a satisfactory answer—an answer that is "good enough." How can we place trust in satisfactory answers? In quantitative queries, we can rely on orders of magnitude. In qualitative matters, we can assess the range of potential answers and recognize that the answer lies within that spectrum. Relying on good enough answers conserves valuable cognitive resources and occasionally propels us from uncertainty and indecision to clarity and resolution. This approach aligns with how System 1 operates in the first place. By emulating this process, we assist our brains in helping us reach our destination swiftly and securely. Ultimately, what truly matters is reaching the desired outcome.

  • International Conference on Government Knowledge Management

    International Conference on Government Knowledge Management Previous Item Next Item ICGKM 2023: 17. International Conference on Government Knowledge Management November 27-28, 2023 London, United Kingdom For more details: Link

  • News

    News Previous Item Next Item In collaboration with KM software and organization leaders, ROM Global is leading a coalition to develop how to utilize generative AI, taking us to a new and better future. Few places left. Details on the coalition: . To check the option of joining contact Preparations for the KMGN KM Global Week are well underway, with 16 countries expressing their intention to participate in this significant initiative that promotes awareness and desire for knowledge management (KM). Those who have not yet signed up and wish to join are requested to contact ROM Global initiated a new service supplying organizations in applying generative AI for business needs. The services are available in various countries including the UK, USA, Brazil, Spain, Israel and more. Join us in moving forward to Smart, Easy and Responsible Applied AI. For details- contact

  • Celebrating Knowledge Management's Impact on AI

    Celebrating Knowledge Management's Impact on AI Previous Item Next Item It may not be surprising that knowledge management professionals believe they are making valuable contributions to AI projects, as evidenced by the KMGN 2021 course on Knowledge Management and Artificial Intelligence. However, it is both surprising and encouraging to find such a perspective echoed in a journal dedicated to computing professionals. This may suggest that we are moving in the right direction. Link

  • On knowledge management, customer experience, artificial intelligence, learning and everything in between

    On knowledge management, customer experience, artificial intelligence, learning and everything in between Previous Item Next Item

  • News update

    News update Previous Item Next Item In collaboration with KM software and organization leaders, ROM Global is starting a coalition to develop how to utilize generative AI, taking us to a new and better future. Details: Preparations for the KMGN KM Global Week are well underway, with 16 countries expressing their intention to participate in this significant initiative that promotes awareness and desire for knowledge management (KM). Those who have not yet signed up and wish to join are requested to contact . The 2nd Annual KMGN HacKMthon, a hybrid event that is both local and global, physical and virtual, is set to occur on October 17th, 2023. Be sure to save the date! More details will be available soon. The KMGN round tables series continue, with Moria Levy having recently facilitated a session on Digital Transformation and KM. The next round table will focus on Applying Extended Reality to KM and is set to take place on September 21st, 2023. This session will be led by Prof. Eric Tsui. For more details and registration, please visit: Link

  • Successes and Failures of Knowledge Management - Book review

    Successes and Failures of Knowledge Management - Book review 1 September 2016 Dr. Moria Levy Previous Article Next Article The book "Successes and Failures of Knowledge Management," edited by Jay Liebowitz and published in 2016, stands out as a significant contribution to the field. In recent years, Liebowitz has dedicated his focus to editing books containing articles on various facets of knowledge management, bringing together a diverse array of academic writers and professionals from different organizations and countries. This volume delves into analyzing the past two decades' successes and failures in knowledge management activities. The summary below presents positive recommendations derived from case studies and expert analyses of failures and successes. While some of these recommendations may seem straightforward, others offer deeper insights, rendering this collection of recommendations precious. The book encompasses the following key topics: 1. Organizational aspects 2. Stages of knowledge management 3. Components of knowledge management 4. Recommendations for specific knowledge management solutions 5. Learning and synergy within complementary fields 6. A comprehensive list of articles and their respective authors The book's richness, diversity, and the insights it provides through its wide-ranging content make it a highly recommended resource in the field of knowledge management. Organizational aspects 1. Placement within the Organizational Structure Knowledge management often finds its place within a specific department of the organization, where it primarily supports and relates to that department's functions. In contrast, other managers may perceive knowledge management as less integral to their roles. While it's true that knowledge management should ideally span across all departments and involve everyone, achieving this requires strong leadership to drive such a transformative change. Additionally, it necessitates a supportive framework of awareness and governance, including well-defined work procedures. Another noteworthy recommendation underscores the importance of securing departmental organizational sponsorship for knowledge management, emphasizing the need for an integrated organizational team to lead the process jointly. 2. Investment in Organizational Personnel Executing a knowledge management project in which all personnel is external, with no contributions from within the organization, is never advisable. 3. Gradual Project Growth Referring to knowledge management as an evolving project can be beneficial in various ways. This growth can manifest at the budgetary level (avoiding the request for a considerable budget initially), in terms of the investment in human resources, and at the enterprise level. 4. Integration of Knowledge Management into Organizational Structure and Operations Changing an organization's culture and behavior can be challenging. The most effective way to drive change is by creating enabling conditions. This involves integrating knowledge management into the organization's structure, processes, and systems. 5. Terminology for Enhanced Understanding People often need help to grasp the full scope of knowledge management. A minor adjustment in terminology, such as using "managing knowledge," can significantly improve comprehension. 6. Leadership Leadership is indispensable and should be brief and dynamic. One recommendation emphasizes a "transference" leadership approach, where leaders inspire others to think critically, engage them in decision-making, and nurture their personal growth. In transference leadership, leaders empower individuals to become leaders themselves. This type of leadership is highly effective, and efforts should be dedicated to its ongoing evaluation. A visual model, the "Sand Cone Model," is proposed to help leaders identify where to invest effort at each stage, both in their leadership and in developing those under them. 7. Lingering Obstacles Despite progress, certain obstacles related to knowledge sharing and utilization still need to be addressed. Some individuals still fear sharing knowledge and criticizing the work of others or subordinates. There is also apprehension about using shared content and assuming responsibility for any mistakes made by others. Language barriers persist in many global organizations, with employees needing help accessing and comprehending information in a common language. The recommendation calls for a thorough analysis of inhibiting factors and open, in-depth discussions addressing these challenges. Stages of knowledge management 1. Initiating Knowledge Management Projects When embarking on knowledge management activities within an organization, it's reasonable to assume that previous efforts to share knowledge, albeit under different names or perhaps even unsuccessful, exist in some form. As a starting point, it's worthwhile to sift through and leverage the assets already accumulated in prior knowledge-sharing endeavors. 2. Strategic Integration Knowledge management is often seen as valuable but only sometimes critical. Integrating knowledge management into the overall organizational strategy is advisable, positioning it as an integral component supporting the overarching strategy. Caution should be exercised against implementing isolated knowledge management initiatives without precise alignment with business objectives. Another vital recommendation is to ensure that the knowledge management plan remains flexible, adapting to evolving organizational needs and circumstances. 3. Facilitating Knowledge Flow Processes involving knowledge sharing, capture, preservation, creation, and utilization become apparent when addressing challenges or opportunities, managing organizational expectations, facilitating individual and group learning processes, and realizing project outcomes. 4. Selection of Appropriate Approaches Many organizations use benchmarking to examine what others have achieved and emulate successful activities. However, context often plays a significant role. It is advisable to focus on learning from others rather than unthinkingly replicating their actions, a concept known as "bench-learning." 5. Streamlining Knowledge management implementations can sometimes become needlessly complex. Simplification is recommended in various dimensions, including strategy, delineation, governance, priorities, partnerships, their roles, application technologies, information and knowledge management, and establishing transparent processes. 6. Trust Trust forms a fundamental component of effective knowledge sharing and utilization. 7. Patience Both knowledge management and organizational change require time. Patience becomes an essential virtue when factoring in trial and error while searching for the right path. 8. Measuring Activities Knowledge management activities should be evaluated based on five key parameters that influence knowledge: • Knowledge acquisition • Knowledge assimilation • Selection of knowledge for use • Creation of new knowledge • Retiring existing knowledge and removing it from the system Additionally, four sub-parameters related to measurement, control, coordination, and leadership complement these primary parameters. This framework provides a model for assessing the relationship between activity and success. Each organization must identify the relevant and significant parameters to its context and conduct adequate assessments of knowledge management activities accordingly. 9. Measuring Outcomes Directly measuring the benefits, return on investment, or value of knowledge management can be challenging for organizations. It is recommended to gauge organizational benefits and employ corporate indicators instead of attempting to measure knowledge management directly. 10. Defining Long-Term Success For organizational knowledge management to succeed, it must achieve success during the initial launch and sustain effective knowledge management over time. 11. Forgetting As part of knowledge management methodologies, organizations should adopt sub-methods for determining when and how to forget information and knowledge that have become deeply ingrained in the organization, whether in consciousness or work processes. Acknowledging the issue is the first step toward effectively managing it. 12. Relearning Organizations should establish systematic methodologies for relearning topics they previously knew and now require again. It becomes apparent that these processes differ significantly from initial learning endeavors. Knowledge Management Concepts 1. People Leveraging the organizational human capital through knowledge communities, social networks, and other communication channels is contingent upon fostering a culture of openness that actively encourages sharing. 2. Computing It's essential to approach knowledge management in the context of technology, including document management, with caution. Knowledge management should be viewed as both a managerial and techno-social concept. 3. Shared Information Architecture Organizational knowledge management stands to gain significant advantages from an information architecture that facilitates seamless navigation across various knowledge management domains. This includes accessing all customer-related knowledge irrespective of departmental boundaries. A well-structured architecture, including taxonomy and patterns, can provide a solid foundation for achieving this goal. The recommendation is to treat this architecture as an independent project, complementary to decentralized efforts, with a delicate balance between the two. Such a project should not only define the core architecture but also address user experience and governance considerations. Highlighting the inherent benefits of such an endeavor can help justify its necessity within the organization. [Another recommendation discusses the Semantic Web as a framework for cross-organizational data representation understood by humans and machines.] 4. Accessibility of Information Accessible information should be presented in a user-friendly and easily accessible manner. 5. Processes Embracing a process-based knowledge management approach can be a pivotal factor for success. In this approach, work tasks across different functions are clearly defined, along with expectations from individuals. Roles and processes that involve knowledge acquisition are also well-defined. For procedures requiring knowledge, consensus is established regarding the support processes needed and the responsible parties. Adequate time should be allocated for this purpose to ensure practical applicability. Recommendations for specific knowledge management solutions 1. Solution - Search Web 2.0 Service Recommendation - When individuals struggle to find information through typical knowledge management systems, investing in a search project and fine-tuning the existing search engine is crucial. Consider initiating investments in WIKI and RSS when organizations are venturing into the world of WEB 2.0 and are still determining how to begin. To enhance knowledge management systems effectively, it is advisable to establish a level of engagement that encourages ongoing content sharing with customers. Furthermore, consider allowing customers to contribute their knowledge. 2. Solution - Social Social knowledge management systems distinguish themselves from traditional content-based knowledge management systems and offer significant organizational value. These systems thrive when they encompass four key components: high interactivity, knowledge-based functionality, content-sharing capabilities, and multiple layers of expertise and knowledge. 3. Solution - Chatbot Testimonials - Chatbot systems are designed to interact with customers in an automated manner, assisting them. At the same time, they navigate websites or other knowledge management systems, ultimately aiding in knowledge utilization or promoting purchases. Such systems require continuous learning and improvement. As evidenced by research, automatic analysis of system logs serves as a valuable tool for pinpointing areas where knowledge enhancement is needed. Concrete recommendations are provided for exploring blogs. However, it's crucial to understand that this process is iterative, and improvements may only occur sometimes or after the initial implementation. 4. Solution - Knowledge Retention · Knowledge retention processes alone do not guarantee knowledge utilization and contribution to organizational improvement. · Knowledge can be lost during preservation processes. · Even when knowledge is stored within knowledge management systems, structured retention processes may inadvertently accelerate knowledge loss. · It is strongly recommended that as part of a knowledge retention strategy, organizations should examine how knowledge is acquired and transformed into organizational knowledge and how easily others can access it in the future. Learning and synergy within complementary fields 1. Knowledge Management and Project Management The business landscape is increasingly project-oriented. To advance knowledge management within the organization, it's advisable to implement project management methodologies across all knowledge management activities. However, an additional recommendation, which may seem contradictory but is complementary, is to view knowledge management as something other than a standalone project with a defined beginning, middle, and end. Instead, consider it as an ongoing journey. 2. Knowledge Management and Digital Asset Management Digital asset management offers well-established methodologies for handling the influx of information, such as assessing the validity of content items. Incorporating these methodologies into organizational knowledge management is highly advisable to enhance its value and utility. 3. Knowledge Management and Competitive Intelligence While knowledge management predominantly focuses on preserving, sharing, and facilitating access to knowledge, knowledge development and innovation sometimes need more attention. One practical approach to foster gradual and revolutionary knowledge development is to collectively formulate rules for knowledge assets at all levels, from data to structured information, open knowledge, tacit knowledge, and intuition. This approach involves integrating the various knowledge management components into a unified repository. Addressing organizational knowledge within the Competitive Intelligence (CI) framework, which encompasses these integrations and other tools, can significantly boost knowledge development effectiveness. Viewing these two worlds as cohesive can create substantial synergy for both. [Consider the incorporation of analytics/Big Data into this amalgamation as a further advancement.] A comprehensive list of articles and their respective authors 1. Parameters of Knowledge Management Success, C.W. Holsapple, S.-H Hsiao, J.-Y. Oh 2. Why are companies still Struggling to Implement Knowledge Management? Answers from 34 Experts in the Field V. Ribiere, F.A. Calabrese 3. REAL Knowledge and the James Webb Space Telescope: Success and Failure Coexisting in NASA E. Hoffman, J. Boyle, E. Rogers 4. Processes: Still the Poor Relation in the Knowledge Management Family, J.S. Edwards 5. KM Successes and Failures: Some Personal Reflections on Major Challenges, A.K.P. Wensley 6. Lessons Learned from Nearly 200 Cases of KM Journeys by Hong Kong and Asian Enterprises, E. Tsui 7. Knowledge Loss and Retention: The Paradoxical Role of IT, N. Levallet, Y.E. Chan 8. Knowledge and Knowledge-Related Assets: Design for Optimal Application and Impact G.S. Erickson, H.N. Rothberg 9. Knowledge Management Success and Failure: The Tale of Two Cases, S. Larson 10. Social Knowledge: Organizational Currencies in the New Knowledge Economy, K.E. Russell, R. La Londe, F. Walters 11. Knowledge Management and Analytical Modeling for Transformational Leadership Profiles in a Multinational Company, T. Ha-Vikstrom, J. Takala 12. Successes and Failures in Improvement of Knowledge Delivery to Customers Using Chatbot- Result of a Case Study in a Polish SME, B. Filipczyk, J. Gotuchowski, J. Paliszkiewiez, A. Janas 13. Don't Neglect the Foundation: How Organizations Can Build Their Knowledge Architecture and Processes for Long-Term Sustainability, S. Earley 14. Semantic Technologies for Enhancing Knowledge Management Systems, V. Sugumaran

  • The Effortless Experience - Book review

    The Effortless Experience - Book review 1 November 2016 Dr. Moria Levy Previous Article Next Article "The Effortless Experience: Conquering the New Battleground for Customer Loyalty," co-authored by Matthew Dixon, Nick Toman, and Rick Delisi and published in 2013, undoubtedly departs from anything we have encountered. This book delves into the service concept at call centers and is grounded in a substantial series of studies conducted within these call centers. Naturally, this book holds relevance not only for knowledge management managers in service centers but also for knowledge managers in general and anyone involved in service management. Its significance extends to everyone, whether engaged in providing services within organizations or seeking to develop life skills for effective communication with others. The book encompasses a wide range of topics, including: - Introduction - Starting point - Service Strategy - Service Management - Channels for self-use - All-in-one solution - Call experience - Enabling culture - Measurement - Change management I have gained valuable insights from this book and wholeheartedly recommend it. Introduction Starting point Many organizations embrace the idea of captivating customers to deliver excellent service. However, the approach advocated in this book differs from the norm. It may be an appropriate approach to managing service in specific circumstances and for a select group of customers. What customers genuinely seek in service is relief. They contact customer service when they encounter a problem or malfunction, hoping to return to their pre-issue state. They are not searching for excitement or fireworks; their priority is to revert to the way things were before the need arose. For them, relief holds greater importance than a spark of excitement. While online tales of extraordinary service experiences may exist, they are rare and do not accurately represent everyday reality. Moreover, research analysis demonstrates that statistically, these exceptional experiences do not significantly enhance customer loyalty. The study reveals that after interacting with customer service, the likelihood of a customer abandoning a company or product is four times higher than before the interaction. Admittedly, the starting point may not be favorable, as customers typically reach out to customer service when encountering issues (very few people call to commend a product or company). Nevertheless, this statistic remains remarkably noteworthy. It underscores that customers make purchases due to a good product and leave primarily due to poor service. Service satisfaction alone does not nurture loyalty. Additionally, it's important to note that good service is not synonymous with polite speech. Politeness may serve as an initial step, but more is needed. When customers encounter poor service coupled with excessively polite explanations for why they can't be assisted or inadequate support, over-politeness can backfire and greatly frustrate the customer. The foundational premise upon which a concept of good service should be constructed is the preservation of customer loyalty. It's about retention rather than promotion and relief rather than excitement. Service Strategy Based on studies conducted in call centers, the most impactful way to cultivate customer loyalty is by reducing customers' effort when seeking solutions to their problems. This approach has a fourfold greater influence on loyalty than generating customer excitement. The following factors influence customer effort during interactions with a representative: • Number of calls/communications (including web searches and subsequent calls) - 2.52 • Quality of service provided by the representative - 0.52 • Repeated interactions - 0.46 • Perception of customer effort - 0.23 • Switching between representatives - 0.20 Service Objective: The primary goal of our service is to uphold customer loyalty by minimizing the effort required from customers to resolve their issues. Proposed Strategy: 1. Enhance self-service channels to reduce channel switching, as many customers initially turn to these channels to solve their problems. 2. During interactions with the call center, proactively suggest additional actions or provide information that can help prevent recurring issues. 3. Provide agents with the necessary tools to effectively manage the emotional aspects of customer interactions and improve their perception of the conversation. 4. Foster an environment that empowers representatives to handle complex problems skillfully. Service Management Channels for self-use Contrary to the prevailing belief that customers prefer making phone calls or contacting service representatives, research indicates that this perception belongs to the past. Nowadays, an increasing number of customers across all age groups, including adults and older people, prefer to independently find solutions for most issues, especially those that are simple enough. So, why do individuals who visit websites still resort to contacting service centers? There are several reasons: • They primarily visited the website to find a phone service number. • They struggled to locate the necessary information on the website because it was unavailable or hard to find. • They found it challenging to comprehend the information provided on the website. • The website explicitly instructed them to contact customer service for the described problem. Action Items: 1. Analyze the current situation to identify gaps for individuals who first call or visit the website. 2. Expand the website's content to address the issues that prompt communication. 3. Simplify the access route to reduce the effort required; most customers prefer task-oriented menus. 4. Adapt the language to align with that of customers (rather than employees); the book offers a list of recommendations. 5. Provide answers to frequently asked questions alongside the service's phone number. In Summary: The goal is not to entice customers to use the self-service channel; it is already available. The objective is to assist them in finding solutions there, eliminating the need for a phone call or a visit to a service center. All-in-one solution As discussed previously, the primary challenge in customer retention within a service context arises when resolving an issue requires multiple interactions. These interactions may involve transitioning from one channel to another, as explored in the previous chapter, or they may necessitate numerous phone calls to customer service until the customer's problem is resolved. Here are the recommended steps to tackle this issue: 1. Establish a clear objective of minimizing recurring or follow-up calls, defining them broadly as any calls received within seven days related to a previous call. 2. Instruct representatives to actively listen to the customer's problem, addressing the initial question or issue they raise and providing a comprehensive solution. 3. Enhance the agent's toolkit for responses by drawing insights from experienced representatives, analyzing call logs, and reviewing related calls from the same customer. This analysis helps identify recurring issues. Simple solutions can be provided immediately, while more complex problems, such as those related to account understanding, can be addressed by sending a detailed letter to the customer after the conversation. 4. Encourage representatives to inquire at the end of each conversation if there is anything else they can assist with. Ensure they remain attentive and ready to listen and address any additional customer problems. Call experience Engaging in the conversational experience is built upon two fundamental assumptions: 1. The service representative genuinely commits to resolving the issue. 2. Not every problem can be resolved precisely as the customer desires. Based on these foundational principles, several tools are proposed to enhance the conversational experience to the fullest extent: • Utilize optimistic language: Instead of stating, "No technician is available until next Monday," it is advisable to say, "The next technician will be available on Monday. We apologize for any inconvenience caused." Similarly, instead of saying, "There is only a specific two-hour window for the technician's visit," it is recommended to offer, "Next week, we can schedule a technician at your preferred hours. However, if you need assistance sooner, there are two available time slots this week that you might consider." Avoid explaining why the customer's exact request cannot be met. • Encourage representatives to employ precise and confident language during the conversation. • Try to solve the problem more comprehensively, beyond the customer's initial request. Propose alternative solutions that may be equally beneficial, even if they differ from what the customer initially requested. Present these alternatives' advantages while acknowledging any disadvantages or deviations from the original request. This approach, known as experience engineering, offers an alternative to the conventional methods of simply being nice, understanding, and empathetic. • Adapt the conversation style to the nature of the caller. While this may seem challenging, especially when guidelines prohibit retaining visible customer information from the call to call, it is grounded in the following principles: 1. Recognizing four basic caller types – the intuitive, the friendly, the analytical thinker, and the control-oriented individual. 2. Identifying the caller's type during the conversation through attentive listening and recognizing certain words or behaviors. 3. Analyzing the caller's needs: if the market is straightforward, a specific approach may not be necessary. 4. Implementing distinct guidelines for communicating and interacting with each caller type (details available in the book). As a bonus, this approach can enhance the representatives' sense of purpose in their work, contributing to increased team loyalty. Enabling culture Over time, calls to call centers have grown increasingly complex owing to two primary functional factors: 1. Products featuring numerous intricate options and interfaces. 2. Simple problems are being addressed through alternative channels. Furthermore, there are emotional factors at play: 1. Heightened customer expectations regarding service. 2. Comparisons are made with competitors and every company providing a service. To effectively manage these intricate conversations, whether due to their content or interactions with potentially impatient and intolerant customers, extensive research was conducted to identify the qualities essential for representatives to respond aptly to complex conversations. Surprisingly, it was discovered that more than intellectual or emotional intelligence, a representative's "control quotient" plays a significant role. This quotient influences: 1. The ability to swiftly recover, especially after challenging conversations, allowing for efficient handling of the next caller. 2. The capacity to handle stressful situations without experiencing burnout. 3. A willingness to take personal responsibility for one's actions. 4. A positive response to constructive criticism from managers. 5. The ability to focus on tasks when required, even over extended periods. Perhaps even more surprising is that these qualities can be found in most individuals, including representatives, and primarily originate from an enabling organizational environment. To encourage employees to demonstrate a sense of control, it is recommended to: • Trust in the judgment of the representative. • Ensure there is an understanding of and alignment with the organization's goals. • Foster a support network among the agents themselves. Implementing these recommendations may appear straightforward but involves a departure from conventional work methods: • Abandon dictating scripts to representatives and empower them to take control of problem-solving. • Shift away from rigid checklists, offering representatives guidance and flexibility in their responses. • Remove the pressure of time constraints; instead of measuring call duration, allow representatives to take the necessary time. Optimize productivity through offline periods between calls. • Enable service representatives to translate the organization's goals into their terms, fostering a personal connection to these objectives. • Facilitate communication and skill development through coaching. In summary, providing employees with direction while granting them control is the key. Measurement One of the tools that can significantly enhance the organizational situation is the straightforward measurement of customer effort when engaging in problem-solving interactions. This metric does not replace broader indicators related to customer loyalty or overall satisfaction with the company. Instead, it provides a focused assessment of service quality and its impact on repeat purchases or increased spending related to the purchase. Additionally, it has an inversely proportional effect on the likelihood of customers using negative language when referring to the organization. The question posed to customers is singular and uncomplicated: they are asked to rate, on a scale of 1 to 7, how easy the process of resolving their issue has been. Crafting this question is of paramount importance, and, as the authors confirm, it underwent multiple iterations before reaching its current form, which aims to capture the minimal effort required for understanding and responding to the inquiry. In essence, it's all about making it "Effortless," "Straightforward," and "Highly Recommended." Change management Like any method advocating for a conceptual shift, the authors of this book emphasize that it's not a subject that can be adequately addressed by simply appending it to a list of positive ideas. It represents a substantial change that management must embrace and guide as an organizational journey involving all employees. Here are several change management recommendations (relevant not only in this context but for any change management endeavor): • Communicate the current situation and explain why it is unsustainable. • Craft a comprehensive and compelling narrative that outlines the new solution, in this case, reducing customer effort. • Implement a robust coaching process to introduce this change. It involves developing soft skills, and more than regular training is required. • Engage employees in the new path by illustrating it and analyzing real-life scenarios. • Begin with a pilot phase to test the approach. • Progress through small, manageable changes rather than attempting a comprehensive overhaul all at once. Keep it simple. • Foster a positive atmosphere among service representatives. They must comprehend and embrace the idea that the change benefits both the customer and makes their job more accessible and satisfying. As discerned from the underlying message, this concept applies to any service provider. While the studies and examples may be rooted in the realm of call centers, they hold universal truths regarding an advanced service concept. It's tempting to view customers seeking the "flame," but the foremost priority is to ensure our customers don't abandon us. The path to achieving this lies in minimizing the effort they need to expend. There's work to be done, but it's certainly achievable.

  • Scaling Up - Book review

    Scaling Up - Book review 1 December 2016 Dr. Moria Levy Previous Article Next Article "Scaling Up: How a Few Companies Make It... And Why the Rest Don't" is a book authored by Verne Harnish in 2014 in collaboration with his team. It is considered a classic management text, encompassing comprehensive principles associated with scaling up businesses. The book offers management tools tailored to help companies expand their scale and become industry leaders. Serving as a follow-up to a similar publication from a decade ago, "Mastering the Rockefeller Habits," this book takes the form of a guide, providing precise operational directives for navigating this context. The book explores several key areas, including: 1. Infrastructure: Emphasizing the significance of having the right people in place. 2. Planning: Focusing on strategic thinking and formulation. 3. Execution: Highlighting effective implementation of the devised strategy. 4. Enabler: Discussing the role of cash flow in facilitating growth. In addition to explanations and insightful content, the book is filled with real-world examples of companies that have successfully applied these principles. While rooted in classical concepts, it also demonstrates its relevance in our contemporary world. It's undoubtedly a valuable read for those interested in effectively scaling their businesses. Infrastructure: Emphasizing the significance of having the right people in place. Management: The nucleus of the organization's leadership resides in its top management. As the company strives for expansion, the importance of this leadership intensifies. The three paramount considerations in selecting the leadership team and defining their roles encompass responsibility, authority, and, preceding these, accountability. The CEO is encouraged to complete the OPPP form as a personal guide. In this form, the CEO delineates their relationships with colleagues, the achievements they aim to spearhead, vital routines to maintain in their lives, and factors contributing to their well-being. Significantly, this form extends to the leader's personal life beyond the professional sphere. To ensure the company possesses sufficient managerial resources, it is imperative to delineate each of the nine critical roles essential in every organization (CEO, marketing, development/innovation, sales, operations, finance, control, computerization, human resources, learning and development, customer retention) via the FACe form. This form outlines the individuals responsible for each role, how their performance is measured (KPIs), and the expected outcomes. While it is permissible for one person to assume multiple roles, taking on more than three positions poses a potential risk to the company's growth. A parallel analysis should also be conducted for critical departmental functions within the organization using the PACE form. This process aids in mapping the primary approaches, their indicators, and the desired results. Staff: Harnish places significant emphasis on recruitment when discussing staff management. He advocates an integrated approach, merging marketing strategies with recruitment efforts to attract top talent to the company. In the selection process, four key parameters should be considered in the following order: 1. Will: The candidate's motivation to take action, act courageously, learn, and innovate. 2. Values: The alignment of the candidate's values with the organization’s. 3. Results: The candidate's ability to drive the company's metrics and achievements. 4. Skills: This is the final assessment parameter, as necessary skills can be developed and refined over time. Managers: Managers hold a critical role primarily because they influence over 70% of the employee engagement factor. Successful managers engage in coaching and guiding the employees under their purview. Their responsibilities include establishing clear and consistent expectations for their team members and granting them the flexibility to apply their skills. Managers play a pivotal role in helping employees comprehend what is expected of them while harnessing their abilities and strengths. Learning, trust, and nurturing are fundamental aspects of advancing employee development. Planning: Focusing on strategic thinking and formulation. The strategy encompasses several layers: Core Values: The core represents the organization's personality, encompassing: - Values that govern the company's conduct. - The mission is ideally encapsulated in a word or two (e.g., 3M – innovation; Disney – happiness). - The company's unique and challenging-to-replicate competencies serve as a driving force for reuse and growth. It is advisable to analyze these core components using the OPSP framework. Pro tip: Link employee rewards to the organization's values every time they are recognized. Super-Level Strategy: The formulation of the strategy is based on the 7STRAT tool, which includes the following vital chapters (detailed in the book): 1. Identifying keywords associated with the company (searching them on Google should lead to the organization). These keywords should hold significant meaning. 2. Articulating branding promises, such as high quality, affordability, or convenience in doing business. 3. Defining the company's responsibility – something it is committed to guaranteeing or offering a refund. 4. Concisely stating the money creation strategy. 5. Identifying the company's differentiating activities in comparison to competitors. 6. Highlighting a unique advantage that can drive the company's growth, often found by addressing industry pain points. 7. Setting a Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG) for the organization 25 years ahead. Vision and Action Plan: Developed based on the OPSP framework and aligned with core values, this includes: - Vision. - Long-term, medium-term, and short-term goals. - Defined actions. - Perception of remuneration. - Responsibility for realizing each of these factors. These components collectively shape and steer the organization's strategic direction. Execution: Highlighting effective implementation of the devised strategy. Ten essential habits have been defined to ensure the successful implementation of the strategy. Adhering to these habits ensures consistent and sustained execution of the strategy over time: 1. Health of the Leadership Team: o Management members acknowledge their differences in priorities, character, and conduct style. o They engage in collaborative strategic thinking. o Continuous learning, especially in management skills, takes priority. o They excel in integrative and productive negotiation, creating a comfortable environment for all. 2. Prioritization: o All employees are well-informed and aligned regarding the most critical objectives for the upcoming quarter. o The organization emphasizes the importance of "keeping the main thing the main thing," articulating it clearly, measuring progress, and providing appropriate rewards. 3. Regular Meetings: Communication plays a pivotal role in successfully implementing the strategy, and meetings are vital for advancing goal achievement. Harnish recommends the following meeting schedule: o Two daily meetings involving all employees (at least 15 minutes): Focused on tactical discussions. o Bi-weekly meetings for all teams (60-90 minutes): Providing a quarterly progress overview and focused brainstorming on 1-2 key topics. o Bi-monthly meetings for managers at all levels (half a day to a full day): Focused on collective learning around significant topics. o Quarterly and annual meetings (1-3 days away from the office): Involving top leadership. These meetings involve updating strategy tools and detailed implementation planning. 4. Defined Responsibilities: o Each role within the organization is clearly defined, encompassing processes, metrics, and expected results. Refer to the "People" section for more details. 5. Employee Feedback: o Ongoing collection of employee feedback to identify obstacles and opportunities. o Weekly conversations with employees to manage data and discuss insights with management. o A designated individual within the company is responsible for closing the feedback loop. 6. Customer Feedback: o Managers at various levels engage in weekly conversations with customers. o Insights from these interactions are shared at the management level. o Employees actively participate in the feedback collection process. o There is a designated individual responsible for addressing customer feedback. 7. Core Values and "Life" Mission: o Values are defined and integrated into the strategy chapter. o Employee compensation aligns with these values. o HR processes are synchronized with core values. o Quarterly proactive actions are dedicated to strengthening core values. 8. Clear Understanding of Key Strategy Elements by Employees: o This includes BHAG (long-term goals), core customers and their business profiles, branding promises, and an elevator pitch explaining the company's mission. 9. Metrics for Everyone: o Each employee can assess their performance against metrics daily and weekly. o Each employee manages 1-2 weekly metrics. o Employees have individual goals (with quantifiable indicators) aligned with the company's objectives. o Management and middle managers have access to coaching support for managing behavioral changes. 10. Result Boards (Metric Compliance) Everywhere: o A situation room, whether physical or virtual, enables weekly meetings and follow-ups. o Core values, mission, and prioritization are visible throughout the organization. o Scoreboards display progress toward goals transparently. o A system is in place to track and manage prioritization and metrics effectively. Enabler: Discussing the role of cash flow in facilitating growth. This chapter introduces various financial tools, although we will only detail some of them. Here are some fundamental principles to emphasize: 1. Cash plays a critical role in fueling growth. 2. The need for cash significantly increases during periods of growth compared to when a company is stable. There are several avenues to enhance your cash strategy, including: - Optimizing sales processes. - Streamlining production, development, and inventory management. - Improving processes related to product realization and customer delivery. - Enhancing invoicing and collection procedures. When exploring ways to generate cash, consider the following: - Increasing sales volume. - Reducing material costs. - Trimming overhead expenses. - Shortening customer debt repayment periods. - Minimizing inventory holding days. - Extending credit days for payments to suppliers. Numerous practical tips are available for each of these aspects. Summarizing everything comprehensively is challenging, so we sincerely apologize for the brevity.

  • Rethinking Competitive Advantage - Book review

    Rethinking Competitive Advantage - Book review 1 October 2023 Dr. Moria Levy Previous Article Next Article The book "Rethinking Competitive Advantage: New Rules for the Digital Age," by Ram Charan and Gery Williganת 2021, received significant acclaim from publications such as Fortune and the Harvard Business Review. It reinforces and clarifies concepts discussed in previous summaries regarding digital transformation, featuring many detailed case studies. Within the book, the authors introduce six new principles for achieving success in this evolving era: Introduction: Navigating Competitive Advantage in the New Era 1. The Rules of Engagement in the Modern Landscape: 1. Personalized Customer Experience 2. Digital Platforms as the Core of Modern Organizations 3. Ecosystem Engagement 4. Money Generation as a Crucial Financial Metric 5. Innovation Driven by People, Culture, and Work 6. Leadership that Embraces Learning and Leading Prominent organizations that exemplify these principles include Apple, Facebook, Google, Amazon, Netflix, Alibaba, and Disney. This book provides valuable insights and encourages reflection on how these concepts intersect with our professional endeavors. It underscores the significance of a deliberate and calculated approach to adopting new technologies, work methodologies, and the resulting cultural shifts. Such realizations have the potential to position traditional organizations at the forefront of this transformation, making it a compelling read and a subject for contemplation. Introduction: Navigating Competitive Advantage in the New Era The Rules of Engagement in the Modern Landscape: Undoubtedly, we are in a new era where digital leaders and companies are at the forefront of progress and innovation. In this digital age, wisdom and its associated rewards revolve around consistently earning end consumers' trust and preference through continuous innovation while delivering value to stakeholders. Competitive advantage in this new era hinges on both a company's actions and the assets it cultivates. It encompasses how a company shapes the customer experience, selects and nurtures its leadership network, manages work and data accessibility, and drives revenue generation and investments. While competitive advantage in this era still includes elements like branding, image, patents, and specialized technology, many traditional barriers, such as the dominance of distribution chains, are transforming. According to the authors, one of the most notable distinctions between the past and the present is the pace of activity and competitive responses. However, there are obstacles on the path to progress, including: Relying on outdated theories (related to customer value, leadership, and work management). Succumbing to short-term thinking driven by the constant pressure to satisfy shareholders every quarter. Being constrained by existing boundaries and hesitating to break free from them repeatedly. Maintaining unwavering faith in the importance of large, mass markets and their perpetual sectoral segmentation. Success demands much more than being digitally savvy in the digital age. Here are the new rules of engagement: Personalized Customer Experience In this new era, the growth opportunities are immense, with the potential for exponential expansion by factors of ten, a hundred, or even a thousand. At the core of this remarkable growth lies the concept of providing a personalized customer experience. Here are some recommendations: Digital leaders should consistently pose a crucial question with each decision: "How will this decision benefit the individual user?" Leaders must envision a future where new products, services, or experiences offer consumers benefits that do not currently exist. Companies should always prioritize end consumers over intermediaries, even if their primary clients are not the end users of the product or service. Listening to consumers should be a top priority, with the development of mechanisms to gather feedback frequently and integrate it into organizational decision-making. Techniques such as customer journey analysis can help understand consumer reactions to pricing, technology, potential disappointments, and other usage-related aspects, complementing firsthand insights from customers. The ability to personalize experiences for individual users is paramount for success, offering both proactive adjustments by providers based on user profiles and preferences and giving end consumers the flexibility to make personal adjustments themselves. It's essential to recognize that a customer's preferences can change over time; nothing remains static. Above all, thinking big is crucial. Avoid settling for minor updates and incremental additions. Instead, focus on continuous renewal—renewing products, services, and the overall market to consistently expand and evolve. Digital Platforms as the Core of Modern Organizations When we assert that digital platforms serve as the core of the modern organization, it's essential to elucidate this concept further. We are not referring to the typical supporting computer systems in every organization. In the context below, digital platforms encompass: Computer systems through which consumers access services. Systems that facilitate the systematic collection of data on consumption habits, forming the foundation for analyzing consumer preferences, shifts in behavior, and the basis for continuous innovation. Systems underpinned by a suite of algorithms designed to collect and analyze data, often employing artificial intelligence technologies. Infrastructure that fosters interaction with the external environment, both for receiving data from various sources and for engaging with the broader ecosystem (as discussed in the subsequent chapter). The careful selection of data, the precision and evolution of algorithms, and astute business logic for their intelligent utilization collectively constitute the engine that propels competitive value creation and exponential growth. Throughout the book, numerous examples illustrate how data and algorithms can be harnessed to deliver customized value across diverse domains. This encompasses dynamic pricing strategies, providing different products to the same consumer (such as health insurance from an airline), digital marketplace-based loans from trading companies, and developing innovative financial models. For example, Apple's significant investments in 2023 center on harnessing health data collected from wearable devices, such as watches, to create pioneering solutions. Ecosystem Engagement In the new digital era, companies enhance their capabilities through active engagement within an ecosystem of partnerships. This involvement can take various forms, including: 1. Opening their platforms to third-party applications that offer solutions. 2. Collaborating with complementary firms to enhance value for end consumers. 3. Partnering with competitors (as observed in specific national automotive markets). 4. Aligning with tech giants (e.g., Amazon) to support partners offering solutions or products on their platform. 5. Pursuing mergers and acquisitions. 6. Engaging in data sharing and more. These partnerships may extend across industries or within specific sectors, such as food, software, hardware, automotive, healthcare, finance, and beyond. The primary challenge lies in designing these ecosystems that deliver value to all participants, are easy to implement, and, in line with the dynamics of the new era, can be continually and swiftly updated. Standards, coordination, and adaptability serve as the foundation of seamless collaboration. It all begins with individuals with the expertise to navigate these intricate relationship systems, which have yet to be previously encountered. Money Generation as a Crucial Financial Metric In the traditional business landscape, we have become accustomed to metrics centered around return on investment and shareholder value creation. However, the rules of success are evolving. In the pursuit of success, the focus has shifted toward cash generation. Initially, substantial investments are made to accumulate a significant user base and establish the critical traffic flow that drives revenue. In the early stages, income follows a 'slow and steady' trajectory, often accompanied by substantial investments. As time progresses, it takes a steep upward climb. What's intriguing is that successful companies continue their progress to revel in profits once they accumulate them. Instead, they continue to invest in new ventures, giving rise to fresh revenue streams. This cycle can persist for extended periods, even without significant immediate profits. This activity carries several implications: 1. Companies allocate their investments into two significant channels: research and development (R&D) and customer acquisition. 2. Revenue growth originates from ongoing engagement with end consumers, driven by continuous payments through subscriptions and fixed revenues. The new model applies not only to leading companies but also to investors. They adapt to the game's rules, emphasizing long-term value creation over immediate profits. This approach involves embracing significant and, at times, aggressive investments with anticipation of substantial and equally fierce profits. However, quick or frequent returns are not the primary focus, as typically seen in established markets. Innovation Driven by People, Culture, and Work In the evolving digital landscape, organizational structures are simplifying, typically comprising only 3 4 intermediate management tiers, even in large corporations. The focus centers on project-based and task-centric arrangements, emphasizing executive autonomy, with each team specializing in a singular defined role at any given moment. These teams handle various responsibilities, including technology, design, product development, compliance, regulation, marketing, and more, often distinguished by task units and oriented toward specific consumer segments. A central theme within these teams is their commitment to crafting an exceptional customer experience. In this shifting landscape, the value of human capital has become even more pronounced. Regarding recruitment, large companies prioritize values, behavior, professional expertise, and leadership insight. This decentralized decision-making approach extends to lower organizational levels, fostering heightened commitment and responsibility. Consequently, agility and the ability to collaborate effectively have become integral components of this new mode of operation. The emphasis now lies on the "who" and the "how" in all matters related to culture, people, and work. Leadership that Embraces Learning and Leading The expectations placed upon leaders in the upper echelons of companies are exceptionally demanding—they are not mere figureheads but true trailblazers. These leaders undergo frequent tests as they navigate ever-changing conditions and stiffer competition, facilitated by the increased ease of transitioning between sectors. These modern leaders must embody continuous learning, knowledge acquisition, and visionary thinking. They maintain an open-minded approach, always looking for emerging patterns that can be translated into innovative solutions, delivering value to end consumers and success to their organizations. Critical skills for such leaders encompass: Capacity for Exponential Growth: They can envision and strategize for significant expansion. Proficiency in AI and Data-Driven Environments: They make data-grounded decisions while acknowledging the importance of diverse perspectives. Adaptive Thinking: They demonstrate flexibility and readiness for change. Appetite for Innovation: They embrace new opportunities, unafraid of potential consequences, even if it means disrupting existing profitable solutions. Holistic Problem Solving: They excel at connecting puzzle pieces, uncovering hidden insights not immediately apparent. Decisiveness: They can make swift decisions. Commitment to Continuous Learning: They prioritize ongoing personal and professional growth. Data-Centric Approach: They base decisions on metrics. Transparency: They are open to data transparency. Talent Management: They possess a remarkable ability to select and adapt personnel to positions where they can excel, demonstrating agility as required. Empowerment: They make decisions close to the action at field and consumer levels. Courageous Leadership: They fearlessly navigate uncertain, ambiguous environments. In summary, these leaders epitomize a forward-thinking approach focused on meeting the end consumer's needs and delivering exceptional customer experiences. They adeptly leverage intelligent data and platforms, engage in collaborative ecosystems, manage financial aspects, nurture a culture centered around people and their work, and ultimately embody a new breed of leadership. This marks the dawn of a new standard, and everyone is encouraged to join this transformative journey.

  • NLP trends 2023

    NLP trends 2023 1 October 2023 Anat Bielsky Previous Article Next Article Natural Language Processing (NLP) is a sub-discipline of artificial intelligence that concentrates on human language's interpretation, analysis, and comprehension. This field enables seamless communication between computers and humans, employing native languages while processing unstructured linguistic data. NLP helps computers to read text, comprehend spoken language, interpret emotions, and distinguish key elements within textual content through these capabilities. The recent adoption of NLP technology has marked a significant breakthrough in integrating intelligent conversational agents like ChatGPT. These advancements find increasing applicability across various aspects of life, including business, research, and personal domains. Such progress raises a vital query: What developmental trajectory will this field follow in the forthcoming years? The domain is advancing along two principal axes: Continued Evolution of GPT-3 Models, Including ChatGPT : These models can translate text, extract pertinent information, and generate software code via human interaction. As technological advancements continue, ChatGPT is poised to become increasingly sophisticated. A pivotal aspect of ChatGPT's developmental trajectory is its focus on context awareness. The model currently generates responses based on the words and phrases it receives but requires a more complete contextual understanding. Future iterations are expected to improve in grasping context, yielding more accurate and contextually relevant communications. Further advancements may include the integration of diverse forms of inputs, such as videos and images, into ChatGPT's learning processes. Such developments would enable the model to offer more precise and nuanced responses by considering a broader array of information. Creating specialized language models for distinct industries, such as the legal or medical sectors, is likely to result in greater efficacy and precision than generic language models. Language translation constitutes a significant facet of NLP, and ChatGPT’s natural language understanding capabilities position it as an ideal tool for multilingual translation. Advances in machine translation, particularly those driven by Neural Machine Translation (NMT), are expected to enhance language translation capabilities considerably. Expansion of LaMDA Models : LaMDA models, part of the Language Model for Dialogue Applications family, excel in processing voluminous amounts of text data. Artificial intelligence accelerators developed by Google further augment their capabilities. The distinguishing advantage of LaMDA resides in its ability to address a myriad of questions, thereby providing practical and almost limitless assistance and responses. BERT (Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers) serves as a prominent example. Trained on extensive existing data, BERT has exhibited exceptional proficiency in multiple NLP tasks, including language comprehension, translation, and question-answering. These models, trained on comprehensive datasets, offer numerous advantages, such as reduced training time, enhanced performance, and an expanded capacity to address diverse tasks. Furthermore, they excel at generating coherent and contextually relevant responses and understanding the conversational context, thereby predicting user needs with high accuracy. Consequently, these models are poised to become invaluable assets for organizations in operating support and customer service centers. In parallel with these advancements, it is essential to acknowledge the escalating adoption of voice assistants like Siri and Alexa. In this particular sphere, breakthroughs in NLP technology are set to refine the understanding and responsiveness of such systems when attending to user inquiries and requests. These voice-activated assistants are anticipated to integrate seamlessly into future applications, thus enhancing our interactions with devices. It is paramount to recognize that these momentous strides in artificial intelligence, particularly in the domain of NLP, are exerting a profound influence on knowledge management. These tools represent a significant leap forward in content consumption, comprehension, and creation, essential components of knowledge work. The ramifications of these advancements are expected to permeate multiple sectors, starting with service, R&D, and management and likely extending to virtually all other industries. Indeed, the future appears to be both promising and imminent, replete with a myriad of exciting possibilities. Sources: Ai wakforce It business edge Ai contentfy wikipedia

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