Here is a useful distinction that helps me appreciate subtle attitudes, values and beliefs towards knowledge within an organization.
Being process driven:
- Emphasis is on inputs / outputs, engineering and efficiency, (faster, better, cheaper)
- Focus on sequence, flows, authority, connections between activities and roles
- Work is well-defined, everything is measured, concentration on forecasting and prediction, boundaries are fixed, stable & clear
- Strong processes are found in procurement, warehousing, QC, billing, receiving, shipping
- Rules rule, coherence is key, workflow is ordained
- Design is a dominant paradigm and re-engineering works!
Living the practice
- Context is king, a holistic POV is valued
- Self-organization reigns, prediction is down-played
- Concerns are wider than economics and efficiency, e.g. loyalty, customer relationships, reputation and doing the 'right' thing is key
- Meaning, judgement and sense-making over-rule the rules
- Emergence, agility and experimentation rather than design is the way to go, follow the flow
- Dialog and distinctions are valued over directives and documentation
- Relationships and communication are key
- Meaning, awareness and understanding are valued and rewarded
This distinction is very important when working with ideas, insights, intuition and knowledge. Quality questions, creative abrasion, situated cognition, safe spaces, games, metaphor, dialog and analogy are essential ingredients.
So does your company value strong process over practice? That may well be an early sign that knowledge flows will meet many subtle constraints and any KM project is in for rough road.
Thanks to Paul Dorsey for reminding me.