Where do you get the time to write this nonsense? I don't even have time to
read it. I have always maintained that a manager is not worth two caribou
heads, or 50 cents if he cannot be precise and to the point with written
communication. Harry, I am happy that you are in the USA and I don't have
to read your correspondence. Please do stay there.
From: Harry Paget [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
Sent: Tuesday, August 29, 2000 8:55 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: July issue of IMJ
The latest edition of The Information Management Journal (IMJ) dealing
almost exclusively with Knowledge Management (KM) turns out to be
surprisingly easy to read - four hours; three if you went to a parochial
school - and astonishingly free of typographical errors. I thought I had
detected an unfortunate trend, inasmuch as two of the first three articles
made no mention whatsoever of Records Management, but subsequent articles
more than made up for this apparent oversight. In spite of the fact that KM
remains largely hooey of the most egregiously bunkiferous nature, I would
recommend that anyone with three or four un-booked hours give it a
cover-to-cover read. If nothing else, it'll help make you better prepared
for those inane conversations with the KM Brownshirts at the bar of the Las
Vegas Hilton, prior to actually drifting off to consummate any ARMA
You will perhaps be struck by the recurring, if no less underlying, theme
throughout this edition, to wit, as Jan Duffy states, that "It is difficult
- if not impossible - to codify knowledge, and it is unlikely that any
effort will be 100 percent successful". Since KM is very largely concerned
with that very same codification, it's an interesting game that starts out
with the score set at 0-1 from the time of the first pitch ("scrum", in
Australianese). That is, we already KNOW (ergo, "knowledge") that this
ain't gonna work, but "Knowledge Management" just sounds so . . . so . .
."philosophy" that we just can't bring ourselves to actually flush. The
solution - or non-solution, as the case may be - to this quandary seems to
be derived from the obverse to that old exchange between the doctor and his
(or "her"; after all, one day there could be women doctors) patient:
Patient, raising his arm over his head: "Doctor, it hurts when I do this."
Doctor: "Then don't do that."
Knowledge Worker (!): "Hey, we are more efficient and profitable when we do
Knowledge Manager (summa cum laude): "Then do that."
Of course, as Messrs. Watson and Fenner observe, "...but in many companies,
employees feel that their value (and job security) is higher if they do not
share what they know with others". I can't imagine why ANYONE would feel
insecure in his/her job these days, or why ANYONE would evince the slightest
bit of hesitation to parade around the Human Resources pistol range with a
target emblazoned on his - or her - back after first telling everything he
knows about his job, but in the true spirit of KM, one's qualms
notwithstanding, the solution remains "Do that", anyway. Nyahh.
Elizabeth Yakel wins a free FIRELOCK vault from Kutztown Huey for
being the only contributor to invoke the Dagwoodian ("Bumsteadian"?) maxim
that "Learning occurs in chance meetings at water coolers"; somehow, "water
cooler" always seems to wander into any discussion of complex KM systems and
theories, although some thought should be given to replacing the analog
"water cooler" with the more digital "cappuccino maker" in the future. My
guess would be that the Good & Noble Yakel owns an "icebox".... John T.
Phillips wins a picture of Elizabeth's new vault for using the word "fad"
more than once in an article - ANY article - dealing with KM. The Cardinal
Torquemada Award for heresy is bestowed upon an unnamed "attorney" for
his drolly amusing assertion that "On [the] one hand, law is entirely
man-made", and we refer him to the Book of Exodus for the defense position,
or even to Genesis for a glimpse at what happens when one - incorrectly, as
it happens - perceives a directive regarding fruit consumption from a
particular tree to have been a mere suggestion, and not the Law.
For the answer to the question "Why will there always be an England?", you
need look no farther than page 37. Was it Wellington who observed that some
little-known battle was won "on the playing fields of KM"?
It has frequently been observed on this listserv that Canadians are for the
most part perceived as beer-swilling hosers principally concerned with
getting tanked-up on Mooseheads and then, after dark, clandestinely moving
the boundary markers along the Montana border southward a few inches at a
time - or, in the case of the Canadian - New York border, digging a moat
(and who could blame them?) - but the Good & Noble Duffy has a most
interesting article on "Knowledge Exchange at GlaxoWellcome" - which I
highly commend to you - detailing GW of Canada's very real efforts at making
KM a viable concern, with or without the Mooseheads. It is especially
candid, and goes considerably beyond "Do that".
Finally, David O. Stephens presents an article on what Pfizer in the United
Kingdom (as if) has done to "ensure permanent or long-term preservation of
electronic records", which left me with a feeling of vague discontent, since
their solution seems to be to do the same ol' thing, except bigger and with
a different acronym. One is struck early on in this article with the notion
of how durable paper is, but we are assured that it is not a practical
solution, in much the same way that the fox would assure us that a minefield
in the henhouse yard just wouldn't work. Should Mr. Gore actually succeed
in destroying the pharmaceutical industry worldwide, Pfizer could probably
survive by doing file conversions for Winword 5.0 users. Or maybe not.
In the matter of the book reviews, from a technical perspective, I urge the
Good & Noble Editors to consider including the author's name in the little
box in the upper corner that gives information about books being reviewed.
Just out of curiosity, this week's Listserv exchange dealing with the
Greatest Threat To Civilization since the Warren Court and/or eggplant
parmesan, in concert with this edition of IMJ, prompts me to ask:
1. How many of you have actually been the recipient of "disappearing ink"
2. How many of you work in organizations which employ people who are
actually designated as "knowledge workers"?
Harry F. Paget
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