Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Even Hit-men need KM

Samurai Assassin: Toshiro Mifune by Frenkieb
Samurai Assassin: Toshiro Mifune, a photo by Frenkieb on Flickr.
One of my favourite authors for light reading is Barry Eisler.

He specialises in novels about Assassins, and his "John Rain" series about an eponymous Japanese American hit man is a compelling mix of action, introspection and descriptive colour.

Imagine my surprise when reading his latest book, to find Knowledge Management added to the mix, in the form of the After Action review.

Here is a selection from the text, describing how Rain plans to use Military knowledge management techniques and habits (picked up from his background in the US Army) to learn from his first job as an assassin.
"[preparing for the hit] I was about to pull down the extension cord when I remembered I had to be careful about touching things. Damn it, I should have brought gloves as well as a flashlight. All right; I was learning. Afterwards I'd review everything to figure out what I could have done better, and then implement it all going forward - what the military called an After-Action Report........
.....[after the hit] Only when I was back inside the Yamanote did I permit myself a moment of exultation. I had done it. Later I would go through what had gone well and what I might have done better. There would be lessons to be learned. But for now, I had done it".
So all of us, no matter what our profession, can use something like the AAR to get better at our jobs. I guess the motivation for a hit-man to learn is the same motivation as for the soldier - successful learning is a matter of life and death!

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