LEADERSHIP & MANAGEMENT.

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Selected by Zeeshan Ahmed Khan

Sep 12 - 18, 2005
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KNOWLEDGE DOES NOT ELIMINATE SKILL

"Knowledge without skill is unproductive."

At present, the term 'knowledge worker' is widely used to describe people with considerable theoretical knowledge and learning: doctors, lawyers, teachers, accountants, chemical engineers. But, the most striking growth will be in 'knowledge technologists': computer technicians, software designers, analysts in clinical labs, manufacturing technologists, paralegals. These people are as much manual workers as they are knowledge workers; in fact; they usually spend far more time working with their hands than with their brains.

So, knowledge does not eliminate skill. On the contrary, knowledge is fast becoming the foundation for skill. We are using knowledge more and more to enable people to acquire skills of a very advanced kind fast and successfully. Only when knowledge is used as a foundation for skill does it become productive. For example, surgeons preparing for an operation to correct a brain aneurysm before it produces a lethal brain hemorrhage spend hours in a diagnosis before they cut- and that requires specialized knowledge of the highest order. The surgery itself, however, is manual work- and manual work consisting of repetitive manual operations in which the emphasis is on speed, accuracy, uniformity. And these operations are studied, organized, learned and practiced exactly like any other manual work.

ACTION POINT: Outline the skills required in your work. Analyze and refine these skills for optimum quality and productivity.

Management challenges for the 21st Century

A knowledge society and society of organizations

"Specialized knowledge by itself produces nothing."

Post capitalist society is a knowledge society and a society of organizations, each dependent on the other and yet each very different in its concepts, views, and values. Specialized knowledge by itself produces nothing. It can become productive only when it is integrated into a task. And this is why the knowledge society is also a society of organizations: the purpose and function of every organization, business and no business alike, is the integration of specialized knowledge into a common task. It is only the organization that can provide the basic continuity that knowledge workers need to be effective. It is only the organization that can convert the specialized knowledge of the knowledge worker into performance.

Intellectuals see the organization as a tool; it enables them to practice their techne, their specialized knowledge. Managers see knowledge as a means to the end of organizational performance. Both are right. They are opposites; but they relate to each other as poles rather than as contradictions. If the two balance each other there can be creativity and order, fulfillment and mission.

ACTION POINT: Write a letter to your boss and colleagues describing the contributions you expect to make. Indicate your understanding of how your contributions integrate into the contributions of your colleagues to produce results for the organizations.

Managing in a time of great change.

BUSINESS WISDOM

"Values are determined by systems, contexts and circumstances"
EDWARD DE BONO, Maltese born British scholar.

"The value you add comes from the values you hold."
ANON

"Technology is like a bus. If it goes in the direction you want to go, you take it."
RENZO PIANO, Italian architect

"A single arrow is easily broken, but not ten in bundle."
JAPANESE PROVERB

"Clapping with the right hand only will not produce a noise."
MALAY PROVERB

"Boats don't go if we all don't row."
HARVEY MACKAY, American business executive

"Man owes his success to his creativity. No one doubts the need for it. It is most useful in good times and essential in bad."
STEPHEN DANDO-COLLINS, Australian author and editor.

"Creativity is not a sign of weakness, and sincerity is always subject to proof."
JOHN F. KENNEDY, 35th President of USA.

"Punctuality is the soul of business."
ENGLISH PROVERB

"Time and tide wait for no man."
ENGLISH PROVERB

"To keep your customers, keep your promises."
ANON