Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Facilitation - At The Root of it All

I've been thinking about the concept of "knowledge-conscious managers" for a while, though I don't recall exactly what triggered the line of thinking.

It could be an article I read on the Mospos blog titled The 18 commandments of Knowledge-conscious managers http://blog.mopsos.com/archives/000188.html.

It could be an Inside Knowledge Magazine piece titled A Knowledge Conscious Curriculum.

Perhaps it was a Knowledgeboard discussion I participated in titled Exact role of Knowledge Manager and some very thoughtful comments by Frank Guerino, CEO & Founder TraverseIT.

Nonetheless, if you subscribe to the notion that knowledge management is just good management, then the perspectives and behaviours suggested in discussions and articles about knowledge conscious managers resembles to me what I've read about facilitative leadership.

For example, in The Art of Facilitative Leadership: Maximizing Others’ Contributions by Jeffrey Cufaude, facilitative leadership is described as:

  • making connections and helping others make meaning
  • providing direction without totally taking the reins
  • managing content and process
  • inviting disclosure and feedback to help surface unacknowledged or invisible beliefs, thoughts, and patterns
  • focusing on building the capacity of individuals and groups to accomplish more on their own, now and in the future

I see strong similarities and connections with many of the concepts of knowledge-conscious management, and ultimately I think it all boils down to managers doing whatever is required to facilitate effective knowledge work, as defined by roles and responsibilities in organizational context. This strikes me as being a very inclusive approach covering everything from making information easier to create, capture and access, to improving group and team interpersonal effectiveness and collaboration though the explicit, systematic facilitation of group processes.

Therefore, if you subscribe to the notion that a manager's role is to facilitate knowledge work, than facilitation as a fundamental mind set, and a key core competency, has even greater importance in today's knowledge based organizations than even the facilitation community has been promoting well over the last fifteen years. Perhaps organizational management and leadership development programs need to explicitly identify, bundle, include and emphasize facilitation and other knowledge-conscious/facilitative leadership capability development opportunities.

No comments: