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Monday, August 19, 2013

Knowledge Work

The census defines a bunch of us as knowledge workers. What exactly is knowledge work?

Is there a difference between good knowledge work and bad knowledge work?

There better be!

Last week I took the President of a Scientific Society to meet the Executive Director of a Scientific Foundation. We had a President, an Executive Director, an Education Director, two Student Shadows, and a guy doing knowledge work.

A key but under-rated prerequisite of knowledge work is go someplace else and have meetings with new people. Where do you think knowledge comes from?

As 200 people are erroneously credited with saying by the internet, The people who got us in this situation aren’t going to get us out of it!

First thing I noticed was that the two students were wearing big name tags. In solidarity, and because I think nametags improve the quality of meetings, I put mine on.

Later, when I congratulated the students on their tags, everybody else in the room admitted they had been alerted that I like to see nametags. Something to be said for consistency, I guess.

The Executive Director launched a presentation, and the President cut him short with a couple of major ideas for fundraising, better lines of business, and important immediate opportunities, referencing links to the other people at the table’s backgrounds (previously researched from the website).

That led to how the two groups could work together and what other groups they influenced that could join the effort.

Everybody was taking notes in their notebooks, to try to keep the goodness from getting away. I was doing that and also taking notes for this blog. I expect to get new solutions in other people’s meetings.

After an hour, everyone was exhausted, so we watched the slides and videos to rest up, and figure out what other information was needed.

After the video, thank you so much and exeunt.

I was last to leave, developing a whole other assignment in 20 minutes.

Went back to the office and in 23 hours sent a three page digest of what occurred, adding what should have been included, since I knew now what I wisht I’d known then, resulting in a next meeting.

So to review, a knowledge work meeting should be somewhere else, with smart people (Joy’s Law), high energy/short time, and about important work. Preparation is too easy to neglect.

Whoever wants to learn should write the notes, which are to move you forward.

How many of your meetings are that good?

When your meetings miss the mark, is it because nobody took the effort to make them good?

I have nothing against structured meetings, heck I’ve given over a dozen copies of Robert Rules of Order to various secretaries for meetings where I was presiding. (You’d be amazed at what should NOT be in minutes!)

And I have come to a conclusion that a lot of ineffective meetings are because no one has figured out howto make meetings worthwhile.

Perhaps some people need meetings to fill out their day. I’ve seen that. So THEY are having a good meeting.

I’ve seen people who need to attend meetings derail productive meetings so they can get their satisfaction. “Heh heh heh, donut, little girl?”

What if meetings aren’t work? What if meetings are the initiator of work? I’ve written elsewhere, Work is making and keeping promises.

Initiator has to do with work you take on yourself, not what is flung at you by somebody struggling to make a contribooshun without personal effort.

How has database and collaboration technology decreased the value of repeating gatherings of the usual suspects?

Who do you know who hasn’t figured that out? At an attendee cost per hour of how many hundred dollars...fully loaded?

Knowledge work is increasingly important for creating value. Knowledge work is a skill, and like any other skill, can be improved.

How would you improve?

Check out The Lost Blogging Manual – Answers you can use today!
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