Life skills for knowledge workers

In his post Some qualities of a knowledge worker, which I also mentioned yesterday, Jack Vinson (@jackvinson) mentioned a few skills needed by knowledge workers and notes These are things that aren’t part of the standard training curriculum.  Maybe these things should be in the next generation of “life skills” classes they teach in high […]

For knowledge workers, solving problems is the easy part

I read – and highly recommend – Garry Kasparov’s book How Life Imitates Chess a couple of years ago, and am thinking I should pick it back up again. If not to read in its entirety, then at least to skim through my dog-ears and margin notes. There are a lot of good insights into […]

What we need are knowledge curators, not managers

The concept of “knowledge curator” has been creeping slowly from the back of my mind to the front over the past couple of years, and received a couple of jolts over the weekend that resulted in one of those elusive “aha moments”. What we need are curators of knowledge, not managers of knowledge. First, I […]

Which do you fear more, failure or mediocrity?

What motivational methods make some of you cringe (or worse)? This is one of the questions that Dan Pink posed to the group participating in his live chat at The Book Club on the New Yorker. In response to the “Don’t make mistakes because I (mgr,owner, boss) will think less of you” motivational method, he said: […]

A checklist for checklists

It’s easy to say, “Make a checklist for your complex process and use it”. It’s another thing altogether to actually make a checklist that is good and that works. One of the things that I like most about The Checklist Manifesto is that it recognizes and addresses the challenges inherent in designing a good checklist. […]

Simplifying the execution of complexity

My review of Atul Gawande’s latest book The Checklist Manifesto focused, by design, on the broad scope of the book. Within that “big picture” lesson, though, are many smaller, more specific lessons to be learned. For example: No, the real lesson is that under conditions of true complexity – where the knowledge required exceeds that […]

Navigating complexity with checklists (a book review)

Atul Gawande’s latest book, The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right is an incredible book that I highly recommend to anyone that works in a complex environment, especially if that involves working with multi-discipline teams. And most especially if this involves frequently working with people you have never worked with before. I picked the […]

The futility – and value – of planning

In his recent article Planning is very important…. It doesn’t work, Jack Vinson has this insight into planning: If they hadn’t planned, there is no chance they would have been able to accomplish what they wanted to do.  At the same time, if they had decided that the plan was exactly what they were going […]

Solitary work genius in the age of tribes and crowd-sourcing

Is there a place for solitary work and achievement in this age of teams, collaboration, KM, social media, crowdsourcing, etc? Can one person still “change the world”, all by themselves? I wondered about these questions recently as I read James Gleick’s biography of Isaac Newton. To say that Newton was a solitary genius would be to […]

Uncertainty is far more challenging

In How Life Imitates Chess: Making the Right Moves, from the Board to the Boardroom, former world chess champion Gary Kasparov discusses the challenges of solving “puzzles”: Knowing a solution is at hand is a huge advantage; it’s like not having a “none of the above” option. Anyone with reasonable competence and adequate resources can […]