Archive | May, 2011

Some intriguing ideas about motivation

25 May

There are many ways to cut the motivation pie.  At a recent meeting a colleague showed a video from TED.  It was very thought provoking and started an interesting discussion among those present.  If you can spare 18 minutes:

For more information about TED go to

Comm Series #15: The Information Continuum

18 May

In the last two posts we reviewed data, information, explicit and tacit knowledge, now for scientific knowledge.

Science, in the broadest sense, refers to any system of knowledge which attempts to model objective reality. In a more restricted sense, science refers to a system of acquiring knowledge based on the scientific method, as well as to the organized body of knowledge gained through such research.  Scientific knowledge can be thought of as “why” knowledge and gets us closer to the issue of ultimate verities.

Comparing management and medicine is useful to help understand these types of knowledge.  Medicine is a scientifically driven art.  This means that the science can be learned in a conventional manner but there is enormous tacit knowledge that makes the difference between a mediocre practitioner and an expert.  Medical Schools recognize the importance of tacit knowledge in the manner they train physicians.   In physician training huge amounts time are spent on-the-job under the close supervision of experienced mentors.

Management is a principle driven art.  The best managers I have encountered report they have or had mentors that helped them develop their style.  Food for thought.

Next week: Wisdom

BIG NEWS:  Beyond Luck is now an e-book on Amazon.  At $6.95 it’s a great deal and it looks marvelous on an iPad.

Comm Series #14: The Information Continuum

11 May

Last week we reviewed data, information and explicit knowledge, now for tacit knowledge

By definition, tacit knowledge is knowledge that people carry in their minds and is, therefore, difficult to access. Often, people are not aware of the knowledge they possess or how it can be valuable to others. Tacit knowledge is considered more valuable because it provides context for people, places, ideas, and experiences. Effective transfer of tacit knowledge generally requires extensive personal contact and trust.  It is reasonable to think of tacit knowledge as “how” knowledge.

To fully understand the difference between explicit and tacit knowledge consider the fate of a recent college graduate in an information-driven job.  Such a person leaves school with a large fund of explicit, “what” knowledge.  But consider how long it takes for them to learn “how” to do the job, to master the tacit knowledge that cannot be learned in the classroom and is most easily learned with guidance of a skilled and experienced mentor.  Interestingly much of this tacit knowledge is intuitive and thus has an emotional intelligence content.

Next week: Scientific knowledge.

BIG NEWS:  Beyond Luck is now an e-book on Amazon.  At $6.95 it’s a great deal and it looks marvelous on an iPad.

Comm Series #13: The Information Continuum

4 May

To fully comprehend communication, the management of information, it is necessary to understand the four way points on the information continuum: Data, information, knowledge and wisdom.  From this simple base we build the continuum.

Binary data is the most fundamental form of information and consists of 0 – 1, on – off, up – down etc.  It is the basis for our digital world.  Human beings, because of their anatomical structure, function comfortably in base 10.  Computers like base 2 (bit) and base 16 (byte).

Information is what the human mind can comprehend, learn, recall and act upon: The fundamental principle here is the chunk.  The chunk gives us the structure to organize data.

Knowledge allows us to organize data into information. Peter Drucker says “Information is data endowed with relevance and purpose.  Converting data into information thus requires knowledge.”

Knowledge comes in three flavors: Explicit, tacit and scientific.  Explicit is knowledge that can be codified and stored in media.  It can be readily transmitted to others.  Explicit knowledge is “book learning.”  It is useful to think of it as ”what” knowledge and is the basic operating material of formal educational systems.

Next week: Tacit and scientific knowledge.

BIG NEWS:  Beyond Luck is now an e-book on Amazon.  At $6.95 it’s a great deal and it look marvelous on an iPad.

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