Interviewing Excellence

A typically succinct and insight filled summary of how to think about, prepare for, and conduct fact-finding interviews from Tom Peters. Reading it won’t take long; learning to do it will take a good chunk of the rest of your career.

Years ago, when I was designing the basic consulting curriculum for DiamondCluster, we gave serious thought to building the whole thing around interviewing skills. We weren’t quite brave enough to do it, but we probably should have.

Interviewing Excellence

As promised, I spent several hours in London this past Saturday working on the “InterviewingExcellence31.” You’ll find it here.(ppt file) (FYI: I was in Copenhagen yesterday for HP … and will scoot off today to one of my favorite places … South Africa.)

REPEAT: No B.School teaches PresEx (Presentation Excellence (ppt file)) and IntEx (Interviewing Excellence).(ppt file) What a pity. (Or: How stupid!) [Tom Peters weblog]

On Experience

This made me grin at least.

At the same time, if you get better and faster at recognizing your mistakes, that alone can help improve performance. I remember talking to my instructor a few years back as I switched from skiing to snowboarding. Her observation about both sports was that you could think of them as a series of controlled recoveries.

It’s only within the mythology of Soviet style planning (whether encountered during the Cold War or in a corporate environment ), that mistakes can’t be tolerated. If you’re quick and agile enough, you can recover from those small mistakes that you make every day. Step one in recovering from mistakes is recognizing them as quickly as possible (Step 0 is given yourself permission to make the mistakes you’re going to make regardless).

On Experience. On Experience

“Experience is that marvelous thing that enables you to recognize a mistake when you make it again.”
— Franklin P. Jones

(via The Quotations Page) [Frank Patrick’s Focused Performance Blog]

What is GTD?

At the odd intersection of a powerful and popular idea, the blogosphere, and today’s intellectual property environment, David Allen is now offering a “official” definition of his Getting Things Done approach. I understand what drives him to follow this approach, regret it as a symptom of an IP-environment losing connection with reality, and still endorse Allen’s GTD-approach as among the best approaches to dealing with the complexities of acting in today’s world of knowledge work.

I also think David is himself one of the better examples of why truly good thinking and thinkers will survive in this environment. For all the power of David’s thinking and his books (Getting Things Done and Ready for Anything), you will still learn more if you can get yourself to one of his seminars and workshops.

What, indeed, is “GTD”. Because of seemingly ever-expanding number of GTD-related discussions, ads and blogs, I wrote up an “official” definition of “GTD.” I am asking that if any of you are using “GTD” in any way in your materials you include a link… [David Allen]

Social Tools – Ripples to Waves of the Future.

Shortly after last December’s tsunami, Dina Mehta and a group of fellow bloggers began what started as a blog (The South East Asia Earthquake and Tsunami Blog), grew into a wiki, and became an important experiment and case example of the power of new technologies to support and amplify bottoms-up organizational invention. She’s now written up her analysis and report on that effort from the inside. It’s long, but, as an ethnographer, Dina has created an important story about realizing the potential of these new tools when used in the right ways with the right energy. Lots there for all of us to learn from. Thank you Dina!

Social Tools – Ripples to Waves of the Future.I’ve been meaning to share in detail my tsunamihelp story and experiences – and I got the opportunity to pen my thoughts and reflections when David Gurteen asked me for an article for the Global Knowledge Review. This is the full text of the article – its fairly long by ‘blog’ standards, but it needs to be shared in its entirety :).

ESJ: A strategy for personal knowledge management

Jack Vinson provides a nice summary of what I had to say last week about personal knowledge management in his class on knowledge management. It’s a notion that I am continuing to explore. Another cut at finding an answer to the question that I find intriguing in my newest column at Enterprise Systems Journal. I try to build an argument that it is in each of our selfish, best, interests to develop and adhere to a strategy for personal knowledge managemment.

What is PKM, anyway?

As Jim McGee said, he was a guest speaker in my KM class Wednesday night, talking about personal knowledge management (PKM). He primarily gave us a framework on which he builds the idea of a PKM strategy, and he told a bunch of stories to help people get the idea. Jim’s framework consists of three components

  1. Portfolio. The portfolio serves as a record of work done, a backup brain, and as a sales tool (just as an artist’s portfolio is an advertising tool).
  2. Manage Learning. The portfolio also serves as a tool for reflection on how the work went last time and how it could be better. This is also an under-emphasized aspect of PKM.
  3. Master the Toolkit. Reflect on learning and reflect on how you use the tools of your trade.

Portfolios are critical to the concept of knowledge work as craft work. And though people frequently get lost in conversations about the technology, nearly everyone does some version of this. How many files, emails and pictures are archived on your computer? With the discussion of PKM, one goal is to be smarter about how we manage the portfolio.

Managing learning is an aspect of PKM that frequently gets overlooked. The knowledge worker needs to be aware of how she works and look for opportunities to work more effectively. (I almost said “continually look for opportunities,” but I realize that this begins to seem like a knowledge worker could get lost in constant navel-gazing. A couple students pushed on this issue in the discussion.) The point is that the knowledge worker’s regular process needs to include reflection. I believe this is the power behind the Carnegie program, Stephen Covey’s Seven Habits, David Allen’s Getting Things Done and similar processes: they offer a process by which people can think about what is important, act against that knowledge, and review both the action and the direction for the next time (sounds like “plan, do, check, act“).

Mastering the toolkit gets too much verbiage. It’s far too easy to get lost in playing with new tools, whether that is a circular saw or a wiki. PKM begins to look a lot like personal information management in these cases. At the same time, part of the reflection process can include a review of how I use the tools and whether there are better tools available. I can choose to seek out new tools when there is enough friction with the current tools (tool geek), or I can rely on my larger network of friends and colleagues and contacts to introduce me to tools that they find particularly helpful. In the class discussion we recognized that each knowledge worker will require a different set of tools because we have our own processes for doing things.

Yet, there is something that still doesn’t sit right for people. Denham Grey has argued that knowledge is socially constructed, so personal knowledge management doesn’t make sense. In a different twist, I would include understanding the skills and interests of my nearby networks to be at least as important as remembering where I filed that report. This would make my networks another part of my portfolio, including the fact that my network can be used to help sell my skills and services.


jackvinson ( [Knowledge Jolt with Jack]

Business Blogs: A Practical Guide is Now Available

Bill Ives and Amanda Watlington have released their study of business blogging. I was one of the many bloggers Bill interviewed and if the insight and cogency of his questions are any guide, this is going to be well worth your time. I’m certainly looking forward to learning what they have to say about the topic and what their subjects had to say as well.

Business Blogs: A Practical Guide is Now Available. Yesterday, we announced the availability of our book, Business Blogs: A Practical Guide. Amanda Watlington and I have been working on this for the past eight months and it is great to see it out. As we said in the… [Portals and KM]

Generic meeting summary.

I’ve had reason to appreciate this sentiment far too many times in faculty meetings, partner meetings, and other settings where ego and brains fight for dominance. Worth remembering. Thank you Espen.

Generic meeting summary.

I think this goes for most meetings:

“[…] a […] faculty meeting is not over when everything has been said, it is only over when everything has been said by everyone. By my count, we’re about 2/3 done with the first criteria but only about 1/4 done with the latter.”

Not that I am not guilty of spurious (and oh so well formed) rambling overspecifications myself.

From via Infectious Greed.

[Applied Abstractions]

Happy blogversary to Jack Vinson

Congratulations to Jack on his 2nd blogversary. I can remember encouraging him to star his blog based on the cogent emails and comments I would get from him in response to my postings. We all won by getting him to share his insights.

Tonight, I’ll be a guest lecturer in Jack’s classs. I’ll be talking about the notion of personal knowledge management and why you might want to think about it explicitly.

2nd blogversary for Knowledge Jolt with Jack

I started this blog two years ago with the first of my (currently) 122 entries in the “events” category about David Weinberger speaking for AKMA at Seabury-Western. Funny that it turned out we’d have a baby on the 18th of May in 2004. And this year, I am teaching a class on knowledge management at Northwestern on this anniversary and birthday.

Happy day!


jackvinson ( [Knowledge Jolt with Jack]