Thursday 11 February 2010

BASH - the KM anticulture

In the wrong culture, knowledge management will be a real struggle. But what's the wrong culture?

I've blogged already about the OPEC culture, of openness, performance management, empowerment and conversation. The opposite to this is the BASH culture - Blame, Abdication, Silence and Heirarchy.

BLAME - let's seek to assign blame for anything that goes wrong. A mistake is a punishment opportunity, not a learning opportunity. Pretty soon, we will find that no mistakes are made at all - at least none that anyone will admit to - and yet the business seems to be going down the tubes. Funny, eh?

ABDICATION - nobody need take any responsibility for performance. After all, there are so many things that can go wrong and spoil our performance, that we can't be expected to take responsibility, can we? Performance is in the lap of the gods. And if we can't be held reponsible for performance, that we can't be held responsible for learning about performance. As if there were any point in trying to learn.

SILENCE - you aren't paid to chat, you're paid to work. That's why we give you doors and walls on your office - so you can get on with your work. So less of this conversation, please. I know that other guy may have useful knowledge for you, but if you sit in your office long enough, you might rediscover it for yourself. Or you might not.

HEIRARCHY - if you have a question, ask your boss. If you have a bright idea to share, tell your boss. If you have discovered new knowledge that your peers round the world desperately need, tell your boss. And if you have a decision to make, ask your boss to make it. After all, you may be the one with the knowledge, but he's paid more than you, so why not abdicate your resp0nsibility (see above) and let him take the blame (see above) if things go wrong. Actually, it's just possible that if you tell him your new knowledge, he might tell his boss, and she might tell her boss, and so on, and eventually the knowledge might reach a level where it can cross the organisation and filter back down the levels to (eventually) reach the worker who needs it. And with any luck, it may not be in TOO garbled a form by then. Stranger things have happened.

That's the BASH culture, the antidote to OPEC. If you've got BASH, you need some culture change!

(Actually, to tell the truth, there are some more anti-culture elements, such as Suspicion (which feeds Not Invented Here), and Internal Competition (one of the most damanging elements are far as KM is concerned), but BASH was such a neat acronym, I did't want to spoil it!)

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