23 June 2011

I Like Frogs!

The Knowledge Management Leaders Forum (KMLF) hosted Nigel Paine in Melbourne last night and what a great night of introspection, conversation, exasperation and revelation it was!

Nigel (@ebase on twitter) is an international management consultant with leadership experience in KM at places like the BBC. See his profile here.

Nigel spoke about teams or businesses being more like a frog than a bike. You can't just pull a frog apart, put it back to together again and expect it to work the same. When teams are forcefully manipulated, people fired without notice, changes made to the leadership structure, there is a residue left over. A lot of times that residue is lost trust and a fear of what could happen in the future. As a result people are only capable of working at a reduced capacity.

My favourite statement of the night went something like this:
"We spend millions getting 3% business improvements from systems like SAP when research shows many people operating at only 60% efficiency. We will simply be forced to start learning how to manage people to get the most out of their talents."

Of course saying this and knowing that our people are actually people, not machines is one thing.
Translating that in to how a CEO actually makes a business or division run is something else altogether.

Nigel and Shawn Callahan mentioned a few good books for those seeking to get their heads around these issues and start learning how they can configure their business to get the most out of its people.
Finally, he talked about the coming death of what he called tactical HR - those HR departments simply focused on transactional, hiring and compliance issues. He foresees a continual frustration with companies thinking this way about their staff and seeing Talent as something held by people they haven't hired yet.

Instead there is a definite kinship between Knowledge Management and Strategic HR Management, focused on getting the best out of everybody in the business. About helping people grow and fit their vocations to the betterment of the company holistically, not just the bottom line.

If you would like to hear more about Nigel, visit his Blog here. A Storify summary of the evening can be found here.

KMLF meets once a month in Melbourne. You can find all their details and up-coming meetings on Meetup. We welcome newcomers and after tonight I hope we get a few more strategic HR people coming along to explore how they can become agents for strategic change in their businesses.

2 comments :

Nicky Hayward-Wright said...

Thanks Stuart for this summary of the evening. Even though I could not attend the KMLF meeting the tweet summary (via Storify) that you compiled and this blog post, which provides additional context, have given me a great overview of the pitfalls of traditional HR and the synergy between KM and Strategic HR management.

Stuart French said...

Thanks Nicky. I appreciate you leading me to Storify. I am sure I will get better at it as I do it more. Had to do it twice last night because it crashed and I lost 2/3rds of the story, but now it is done I think it is quite valuable.

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