The Case for Collaboration between Clients and Law Firm KM

In this session, clients speak to the senior law firm knowledge management professionals in the room about KM in client law departments and possible avenues for collaboration with law firms.

[This session is part of a private international gathering of senior BigLaw KM professionals. Because of the private nature of the meeting, these notes are not attributed to any particular speaker. I’m publishing these notes as quickly as possible so please excuse any typographical or other errors.]

Windows into the  Legal Ops World

  • Matter Management
    • for some in-house colleagues, matter management can involve a matter space, for others, it’s all about ebilling.
    • In-house counsel may not have a taxonomy to help organize the matter-related content. (The director of Legal Ops at your client may be glad to have a law firm help with taxonomy or metadata management.)
    • If we could standardize metadata across the entire ecosystem, and push that metadata into the ebilling systems and matter management systems, that would simplify thing enormously for in-house counsel. However, several attendees thought that a universal taxonomy to rule them all was highly unlikely (at least without significant concerted client pressure).
    • Many clients are unaware of the KM assistance that law firms are able AND willing to provide to their clients. One panelist suggested that the firms in the room create a master list of their offerings and then make that list available to the ACC and CLOC.
    • Law firms should not assume that a client’s legal ops director has complete authority to do whatever needs to be done. For some clients, their scope is restricted to ebilling and technology.
    • Law firms would be wise to get ahead of the curve. ACC and CLOC are driving change that you will see very shortly. For example, expect some significant tightening of outside counsel guidelines soon.
    • Having a shared platform between all clients and their law firms would make knowledge sharing much easier. But who would firms and clients trust sufficiently to provide the technology, with requisite security?
    • 10 years ago, the Banking Legal Technology group in London created a shared portal between law firms and clients on HighQ. There were some spikes in usage, but it never rarely gained widespread traction. There is a small handful of banks that use it, but not enough banks do use it on a sustained basis.
    • One of the problems with earlier attempts at this was that the clients wanted access to material in law firm document management systems. However, law firms were prepared to release only their typical type of “client publication” materials on this platform that was visible to other law firms.
    • One participant suggested that a “distributed ledger” approach with shared tokens of trust could be used to create a virtual shared platform.
    • From the in-house perspective, they want outside counsel to offer a service to retrieve the necessary information, not a product.
    • Panelist: The issue is not technology. The issue is that law firms do not really want to share their material PLUS there is no business model to support this sharing.
  • Forms  & Templates
    • the pace of improving/revising legal forms & templates is not fast enough to reflect the speed at which business terms and approaches change.
    • In-house counsel would welcome help from outside counsel on improving the legal terms in client forms and templates.
    • External counsel need to understand better the internal processes at the client regarding how the client updates its own forms and templates
  • Agile Project Management & Change Management
    • One panelist now approaches change in an agile rather than a waterfall way. They focus on producing a minimally viable product rather than the fully developed soup-to-nuts solution.
    • The challenge of change management in-house is that the pace is really fast. Things change radically by quarter and by month. Therefore, outside counsel who want to support their clients must first understand the methodology the client uses and the pace they experience.
    • One law firm is helping a client implement a document management system, including managing the change process.
    • While a law firm’s IT department or KM department may use an agile approach, law firm partners tend to be “anti-agile.” This is a reflection of their great risk aversion. There is a parallel in-house where the in-house lawyers are more risk averse than the business folks.

Collaboration Opportunities

  • The ACC has promoted a Legal Operations Maturity Model that includes law firm collaboration. (See www.acc.com./maturity/)
    • general counsel know ACC and trust it
    • the maturity model creates an early stage, intermediate stage, and mature stage against which legal ops can benchmark themselves.
    • in-house legal departments are using it to help with their strategic planning
    • it includes Legal Ops KM Maturity
      • they are looking for sponsors for their 14 sessions (including webinars)
      • they will launch an RFP process: they are looking for success stories of collaboration between law firms and legal ops teams
  • In the UK, individual clients have been asking their panel of law firms to help them develop in-house thinking and systems.

[Photo Credit: Geralt]

 

 

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Who is Your Client Advocate?

Who is your firm’s client advocate?

(Yes, this is a trick question.)

Many years ago, I had the misfortune of finding myself in the hospital. One of the first questions they asked me was, “What do you do for a living?” When I responded, “I’m a lawyer,” the battle lines were drawn. They raised their defensive shields immediately, which naturally caused me to become extremely curious and highly observant. This, of course, just made them more anxious.

After I asked one too many questions, I was told that I was going to be discharged early. Just before my discharge, a person who called herself a “patient advocate” visited me. I vaguely recall a fairly pleasant person who seemed unable to take my feedback and cause any changes in the hospital’s approach. Coupled with the rest of my experience at their hands, I had no hesitation in telling everyone I met about my bad experiences with that hospital.

This is the wrong kind of word-of-mouth advertising.

Clearly, this was a suboptimal case. But before you start bemoaning the state of American healthcare, ask yourself these questions:

  • “Is there any parallel to client experience with my firm?”
  • “Is anyone in the firm even asking our clients about how they experience our services?”
  • “If they are asking these questions, what are they doing with the answers?
  • “What is changing because of the answers received?”

Now, let’s return to the initial question: “Who is your firm’s client advocate?” If you answered, “The relationship partner,” you fell for the trick. Relationship partners usually are good at staying close to the client, winning work, responding to client queries, managing client teams within the firm, and billing (and collecting!) in a timely manner. As a practical matter, not enough relationship partners have the time, training, or (frankly) nerve to actually walk in their client’s shoes and experience the firm’s service from their client’s perspective. In other words, relationship partners can be more reactive than proactive.

Seth Godin explains the difference between reactive and proactive client service: “Reactive client service waits until something is broken.” Proactive client service anticipates where potential problems might arise and plans ahead to avert or mitigate them. Reactive client service makes the bare minimum changes necessary to pacify clients. Proactive client service holds itself to a higher bar: it creates the conditions that make clients grateful for and vocal about their wonderful relationship with your firm.

So what might a client advocate in your firm do?

  • actively solicit client feedback on their relationship and experience with the firm
  • conduct after-action reviews with firm lawyers and staff to gain a more holistic view of what happened
  • advocate on behalf of clients for new practices and policies that help avert or mitigate negative client experiences
  • work with firm lawyers and staff to embed those new practices and policies in firm workflows

Now, let’s return to the initial question again: “Who is your firm’s client advocate?”

[Photo Credit: Paul Mercuri [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons]

 

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Happy 10th Anniversary!

On January 21, 2008, I tried something new. I blogged for the first time.

My reasons for starting this blog were fairly simple. I realized there was an interesting conversation happening online about technology, knowledge management, innovation, and collaboration; however, I did not have any way to be a part of it. At the time, the best way into the conversation seemed to be through blogging. So I started blogging.

Over the intervening 10 years, I’ve had more than my fair share of fascinating conversations thanks to this blog. I’ve also discovered that my approach to blogging provides the collateral benefit of really expanding my education. This is due in large part to my tendency to be a knowledge broker. According to Professor Andrew Hargadon (UC Davis), brokers learn from domains outside their own and then bring that new learning back to their own domain. For him, this is a critical element of innovation: “…revolutionary innovations do not result from flashes of brilliance by lone inventors or organizations. In fact, innovation is really about creatively recombining ideas, people, and objects from past technologies in ways that spark new technological revolutions.”

Understanding that information for information’s sake is not as powerful as information put to use, Hargadon has identified the powerful role brokers play in creating social networks that can spread new information and put it to work: “…brokers simultaneously bridge the gaps in existing networks that separate distant industries, firms, and divisions to see how established ideas can be applied in new ways and places, and build new networks to guide these creative recombinations to mass acceptance.”

Tracking just one idea shows the power of combining brokering with a network. Take the example of the Failure Party. I learned about the failure party phenomenon through conversation with someone in the pharmaceutical industry. Further research turned up a 2004 article in the Wall Street Journal. Given the clear benefits of failure parties, I was surprised that I had never heard of them in the legal industry. So, putting on my knowledge broker hat, I wrote: “Host a Failure Party” in 2009. While I’m not willing to claim cause and effect, I will note that since that post the International Legal Technology Association’s annual conference has included several failure party sessions and one city-wide group of law firm KM professionals hosts an annual failure party.

Blogging is an inherently social practice for me. It is an opportunity to share information, shape debate, and expand horizons. In the process, I’ve been truly grateful for the response of my readers. Some of you retweet my posts or email them to colleagues. Others send me private messages letting me know when a particular post struck a chord or was helpful. One friend and colleague sent me the following text message in response to my blog post, “Pick a Fight in 2018“:

Happy New Year Mary! Once again I am inspired by your blog. I definitely have a few fights to pick in 2018! Thank you for your generous inspiration! All the best to you and your family.

This message arrived out of the blue and is one I will treasure. When I write I have no idea sometimes if any of it helps anyone else. So I truly appreciate hearing from my readers and seeing ideas from this blog gain traction.

Let me end where I should have begun — by thanking my readers. You have been amazing partners on this journey. I look forward to the adventures the next 10 years together bring. Thank you!

[Photo Credit: Photo by Joseph Chan on Unsplash]

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Pick a Fight in 2018

In the last few days of a year, it’s natural to review the year that is slipping away and consider plans for the year that is about to begin. If you are lucky, you will have cause for some self-congratulation and not too much regret. Inevitably, this annual review results in promises of change for the new year. And so we begin the perennial cycle of wishful thinking known as New Year’s Resolutions.

While I’m not planning to make any major resolutions for 2018, I think I might commit to picking some fights instead. For those of you who know me in person or through my writing, that statement may seem a little out of character. But please bear with me. Here are the battles in which I intend to engage:

Fight the delusion of rational decisionmaking

Having grown up in the legal industry, I am used to dealing with people who take great pride in their good judgment, critical thinking, and rational decisionmaking. So it was a revelation to read Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman. He opened my eyes to the ways in which our minds trick us into making questionable decisions time and time again. We are not nearly as objective or rational as we believe. For example, we too often make decisions out of emotion or instinct and then dress those decisions up with “supporting data.” At the risk of disappointing you, I must tell you that this happens in all human spheres —  including the legal industry. Just because you have confirming data does not mean you are right.

To understand more about the pitfalls of human decisionmaking and how it is affected by our well-intended but sometimes unfounded belief in our own objectivity, I’d encourage you to read Thinking Fast and Slow. If you don’t have time right now for this fairly large tome, watch the following brief videos to get a sense of the scope of the issue:

Fight the opacity of numbers

As the world becomes more complex, some of us take an ostrich-like approach by burying our heads in the sand. Others seek to understand what is going on by gamely trying to master as much of the relevant data as possible. However, even this more responsible approach has its own hazards. Among the biggest are that we aren’t all sufficiently numerate to understand what those numbers are saying (or not saying) and we cannot always see what is behind those numbers. For example, when you see survey results do you also spend some time to understand the survey methodology and the implications of the choices made in how the data were collected and interpreted?

Things are complicated enough when reviewing a relatively small survey. What happens when you are dealing with thousands or millions of data points in this era of big data? Then you rely on algorithms to help you sort and interpret the data. However, we are learning that those algorithms are not necessarily neutral or objective. Rather, they encode the assumptions and biases of the people who created those algorithms. When you don’t understand those assumptions and biases, you put yourself in danger of making decisions based on algorithms that may not, in fact, serve you well.

To learn more about how to make numbers more transparent and meaningful, start by watching these two videos:

Fight the corrosiveness of certainty

Despite impressive advances in human development, individual omniscience is still not possible. However, there are lots of people in denial about this. They believe they know all the answers and, therefore, rarely ask the key questions that can upend their certainties and unlock new stores of understanding. If we had a little less certainty and bit more curiosity we would reduce the occurrence of “unintended” consequences. Ultimately, excessive certainty corrodes our critical thinking abilities.

So in 2018, I’ll be asking more of the following questions:

  • What don’t I know?
  • What is missing? What hasn’t been disclosed?
  • What if my understanding is not correct?
  • What disconfirming evidence exists? And how persuasive is it?
  • Would I reach a different conclusion if my goal were generosity rather than self-protection?

Fight the comfort of complacency

Humans are creatures of comfort. However, that comfort can be a dangerous gift. It provides temporary respite but may blind us to potential opportunities and dangers. Sometimes this is because we assume that the current situation will continue indefinitely or that a better (or worse) event is unlikely to occur. And what is the source of this false assumption? Often, it is our lack of understanding of the actual root cause of the current situation or our failure to observe and properly interpret ambient information or patterns of behavior that may indicate an imminent change. This blindness leads us into imprudent complacency.

So how to fight complacency? First, learn how to identify a root cause. This analysis is a staple of many business school courses. It should be a staple of every high school’s curriculum. Until we identify the root cause, any conclusions we draw and any interventions we propose will be flawed.

The second way to fight complacency is to turn up your own antennae. Start noticing what is happening around you. The old adage that we see what we are looking for is true. So start looking for more, start looking for different.

  • What surprises you?
  • What patterns do you observe? Are they similar to or different from prior patterns? Why?
  • What is the likely outcome?
  • What could change that outcome?

In these next few days, I’ll be preparing for my chosen battles. I hope you’ll consider joining me in at least one of them. At a minimum, we will have a clearer understanding of what is and what isn’t.

Wouldn’t that be a good start for the new year?

[Photo Credit: By kris krüg from Vancouver, Canada (Malloreigh – Retouch) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons]

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How KM Enables Innovation #KMWorld

KMWlogo_Stacked_Session Description: 

Most companies struggle to find ways to embed innovation into their business. This talk shares the journey of establishing a grassroots movement—a journey fueled by innovation, knowledge sharing, and learnings, and the critical success factors discovered along the way.

Speakers:

  • Wendy Woodson, Director, Booz Allen Hamilton
  • Kim Bullock, #innovation Catalyst, ExxonMobil

[These are my notes from the KMWorld 2017 Conference. I’m publishing them as soon as possible after the end of a session, so they may contain the occasional typographical or grammatical error. Please excuse those. To the extent I’ve made any editorial comments, I’ve shown those in brackets.]

NOTES:

  • How They Approach Innovation.  There are multiple kinds of innovation — not just transformational, game-changing innovation. Instead, they use the following model [see Managing Your Innovation Portfolio]
    • Transformational Innovation
    • Adjacent Innovation — taking what you do well and moving into a new market
    • Core Innovation — improving your bread and butter functions — this area is ripe for smart KM
  • Brutal Truths:
    • Culture & Behaviors. These beliefs and behaviors are so deeply ingrained in the organization that they can be extremely difficult to identify and excavate, much less reform.
    • Politician & Magician. We are always selling (politician), we’re always performing (magician).
    • Art not Science. There is not a single best approach to innovation. The key is to find business problems worth solving and then working with the affected group to improve their situation. The speakers spoke about a project they did to reduce the burden of exception reporting from  70% of the avaialble time to 30% of available time. This translated into a significant improvement in the quality of life.
    • Warrior. We have to be very thick-skinned and ready to fight for attention, for support, for successful projects. KM often is considered a “nice to have” rather than a “need to have.”
  • Opportunity. For all of the brutal truths, the speakers believe that there is tremendous opportunity in KM for rewarding work.
  • Critical Success Factors.
    • External Network. Just as you create your internal network within your organization, intentionally create an external network that can be the source help, information, and commiseration.
    • Brutal Truths. Be honest about the Brutal Truths discussed above. And be very forthright about your projects and progress. And be very honest with your leadership. They need to know.
    • The Middle Matters. We usually tend to start by looking for support from senior champions or at the grassroots level. However, the middle managers are influencers who often are ignored. The speakers focused on the middle managers — they were explicit about exactly what they expected in terms of influencing up and influencing down.
    • Attention, Attraction, Adoption.
      • Attention — use standard marketing tactics to get their attention
      • Attraction — explain what you are offering and how you can help
      • Adoption — get down to brass tacks, find an issue you can work on with the business, get it done, and then repeat.
    • Tell the Story. Rather than just insisting that KM is good, collect and share the success stories. Capture them in an article, record videos. Both of these are more contagious that assertions by KM.
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Industry Leaders Conversation: Change, Culture, and Learning #KMWorld

KMWlogo_Stacked_Session Description:

Former head of KM with the BBC, Semple believes in conversations and leads our panel on a far-ranging discussion of change, culture and learning as we all aspire to an outbreak of common sense on our journey for knowledge sharing and creating sustainable, high-functioning organizations and communities.

Speakers:

  • Euan Semple, Director, Euan Semple Ltd
  • Jean-Claude Monney, Former Chief Knowledge Officer, Microsoft, Columbia University and Digital Transformation Coach
  • Kim Glover, Global Manager of Knowledge Management, TechnipFMC
  • Nancy Dixon, Principal Researcher, Common Knowledge Associates

[These are my notes from the KMWorld 2017 Conference. I’m publishing them as soon as possible after the end of a session, so they may contain the occasional typographical or grammatical error. Please excuse those. To the extent I’ve made any editorial comments, I’ve shown those in brackets.]

NOTES:

  • Why knowledge management?
    • at Microsoft Services, Jean-Claude Monney was given responsibility to get 100% of Microsoft knowledge to 100% of Microsoft’s customers, 100% of the time.
    • Best of the knowledge = relevant (in the context of the work) and trustworthy
    • For Nancy Dixon, knowledge management helps the organization learn better and faster.
  • What is the pedigree of knowledge?
    • if the knowledge comes from a person, is that person reliable/trustworthy?
    • if the knowledge comes from a document, is the source of the document reliable?
  • Knowledge management should focus on the issues that matter.
    • Nancy Dixon worries that KM focuses too much on the tactical (how to be more efficient) but misses the issues that can really bring down the organization, such as ethical issues.
    • General Motors once had a terrific KM group. However, they were unable to help the company prevent bankruptcy. What if there were a KM group at Volkswagon that could shed light on ethical issues? Would that have prevented the emissions control disaster? Would there have been a different outcome at Wells Fargo if there were a KM-organized forum for employees to express their concerns about business practices that did not align with the company’s mission statement?
  • Conversation is Consequential. 
    • Conversation is something you enter with the realization that you might be changed.
    • Conversation in an organization creates a culture — it is important to notice what is talked about AND what is not talked about.
    • An organization that wants the benefit of consequential conversation must first create an environment of psychological safety.
  • We Make Culture.
    • Culture is not just something that is something that is done to us. We make culture by everything we do (or do not do).
    • We learn culture in the first instance from our experiences with our direct managers.
  • How to Start a KM Program.
    • If you are lucky, the CEO comes in one day and says we need a KM program.
    • More likely, find business problems that KM can help solve.
    • When you are asked to “show them the money,” don’t assume the responsibility for the numbers. Instead, partner with the business first, find out what KPIs are important to them, and then figure out the value KM adds to achieve those KPIs.
    • Before you mention KM to anyone, collect stories of instances when one unit helped another unit (and how much money was solved). Then suggest to management that you create an organizational strategy out of this collaboration.
  • What’s Next for KM?
    • Monney:
      • We are experiencing a massive change due to digital augmented knowledge. The reality of AI and augmented reality is extraordinary. The key is to use AI to improve a human’s ability to make better decisions.
      • We need to figure out to digitally transform our business — or someone else will.
      • We need to develop empathy
      • We need to harness the source of knowledge — but what if the knowledge is the heads of contractors or people who do not want to be handcuffed to the organization.
    • Glover: As technology gets better and easier to use, KM professionals can go back to being “people people” rather than reluctant technologists.
    • Dixon: There is an erosion of cognitive authority. We have stopped trusting CEOs and other people in positions of authority. KM’s role is to make things more transparent so that we can operate without omniscient authority figures.
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Culture Eats Strategy for Breakfast — or Does it?

KMWlogo_Stacked_Session Description:

“Culture eats strategy for breakfast,” famously attributed to the late business guru Peter Drucker, perfectly states the need for an organization’s culture to be aligned with its strategic objectives for there to be any hope of fully realizing them. Culture is tribal and pervasive. And, it can vary depending on the group, environment, or objectives. But, this powerful and often unconscious set of forces that influences both individual and collective behavior can be harnessed to drive culture change and reinforce shared values within an organization or project team. Speakers explore examples of “epic culture fails” resulting from strategy that neglected the cultural component, then impart seven tips to drive outcomes that leverage culture to support organizational- or project-based strategy. These tactics can be used to support a company or project team’s core values and culture while creating synergies with strategic initiatives and shortening the time to adoption. Aligning the strategy of whatever it is you are trying to do with the culture of whoever it is you are working with is paramount. It can mean the difference between success and failure. Culture doesn’t have to eat strategy for breakfast; they can be harnessed together to create organizational strength and a better overall customer outcome.

Speakers:

  • Kim Glover, Global Manager of Knowledge Management, TechnipFMC
  • Tamara Viles, Manager of Knowledge Architecture, TechnipFMC

[These are my notes from the KMWorld 2017 Conference. I’m publishing them as soon as possible after the end of a session, so they may contain the occasional typographical or grammatical error. Please excuse those. To the extent I’ve made any editorial comments, I’ve shown those in brackets.]

Session Slides: 

Viles & Glover – C202_Viles.pptx
Glover & Viles – C202_Glover(1).pptx

NOTES:

  • Value Moment.
    • A Value Moment =
    • Today’s Value Moment: Knowledge Mangement needs to be just in time, just for me, and just what I need.
  • Culture.
    • Culture is critical if you want to execute your strategy.
    • Culture = how we do things around here
    • It is an unconscious set of forces that influence individual and group actions
    • Ed Schein is the considered the father of culture. He wrote Organizational Culture and Leadership, and the Corporate Culture Survival Guide.
      • What is Culture?
        • Structures and Process: the visible layer of culture, the observable artifacts
        • Espoused Values: the stated mission, how the organization talks about itself internally and externally.
        • Real Culture: the basic assumptions of an organization — what the group has learned over time from its successes and failures. These assumptions, ideas, even pictures need to be challenged and replaced if you want to change the culture. These are the unwritten rules.
    • Examples of strong organizational culture
      • Starbucks
        • Structures & Process: their observable artifacts (the way they look, they way they work) are strong and consistent
        • Espoused Values: they buy fair trade coffee, they recycle, they hire veterans
    • Culture reinforces itself by promoting people who live by the organization’s unwritten assumptions and beliefs.
  • Epic Culture Fails.
    • Wells Fargo is currently suffering an enormous gap between the organization’s stated mission and their culture.
    • AT&T/AOL Time Warner merger — early reports indicate that the two companies have radically different cultures. And they have fairly negative assumptions/beliefs about each other.
    • Hollywood is suffering a huge gap between stated values and actual culture/behaviors.
  • Components of Great Culture.
    • Clear Vision and Strategy: Volvo has an unambiguous commitment to safety that they have built on over decades.
    • Shared Values: Your actions must align with your words. (Walking the talk.)
    • Common Practices: Your processes must align with your strategy and values.
    • Engaged People: According to Monster.com, departments with healthy culture have 30% less turnover in staff.
    • Common Narratives: Positive stories that celebrate and strengthen an organization’s unique culture.
    • Reinforcing Physical Environment: Physical surroundings that align with and support the culture.
  • Tips and Tricks for Healthy Culture.
    • Seize every opportunity to reinforce your culture.
    • Assess your culture before creating your strategy. Will they be mutually supportive?
    • What you reward is what you will get.
    • Collect and share stories that support your culture.
    • Identify your champions and evangelists
    • Keep people engaged by making work fun.
    • Build on the familiar by integrating new things with existing practices.
    • Make the invisible visible: provide help and support — connect the dots so people can find what they need and share what they know.
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Intuition and Bold Risk-Taking for Breakthrough Innovation and Growth #KMWorld

KMWlogo_Stacked_Session Title and Description: 

Maia Marken explores different ways of thinking, from professional poker and chess players to provoke, challenge, and inspire business leaders. In discussion with professional poker player Alec Torelli, she looks at the interplay between analytics and intuition in decision making in today’s workplace. They talk about a high-stakes game that ended in a surprise that all the math experts would not have expected because Torelli relied on his intuition. In a world full of data-driven decision making, is intuition dead? They explore this idea and its applications to business decision making. Marken and chess grandmaster Sam Shankland then explore the concept of bold risk-taking through a discussion of the 1972 chess championship between Boris Spassky and Bobby Fischer, who took the entire chess world by storm when he opened with a new move, C4, despite a lifetime of having successfully played E4 as his opening move. While this move caught Spassky by surprise and demonstrated Fischer willingness to play in Spassky’s turf, it also was an objectively smart move, as Fischer went on to win the match. This and other case studies share lessons from chess and business on bold risk-taking.

Speakers:

  • Alec Torelli, Professional Poker Player
  • Sam Shankland, Professional Chess Player
  • Maia Marken, Chief of Staff, Worldwide Services Strategy, Cisco

[These are my notes from the KMWorld 2017 Conference. I’m publishing them as soon as possible after the end of a session, so they may contain the occasional typographical or grammatical error. Please excuse those. To the extent I’ve made any editorial comments, I’ve shown those in brackets.]

NOTES:

  • Sam Shankland: Bold Risk-Taking.
    • By his own admission, Shankland (an Olympics-level chess player) is a risk-taker in chess and in life.
    • Bold Risk-Taking can be a brilliant move — provided that your bold risk is an intelligent risk. Shankland described how Bobby Fischer abandoned his favorite opening move (C4 move), which his opponent, Spassky, expected, and used instead Spassky’s favorite opening move (E4). This was an intelligent risk because it had the benefit of surprise and completely threw his competitor of his game.
    • Use your intuition to choose which risks to take AND the right moment in which to take the chosen risk.
    • How does this apply to your work? Maia Marken says that her team challenges each other’s thinking by asking if a suggested action is your C4 move (the favorite, usual thing) or your E4 move (a bold risk for you).
  • Alec Torelli: Intuition
    • Torelli is a professional poker player and coach.
    • The relationship between logic and intuition at the poker table:
      • [You can find a video of these on YouTube on Torelli’s channel.]
      • You need to use logic AND intuition in harmony — don’t rely on just one or the other.
      • Intuition informs your assumptions, which you then test through logic.
    • To strengthen intuition, pay attention to the clues that the other humans in the game are providing. Learn to interpret those clues (based on rigorous pattern recognition). In 1502, Da Vinci intuited that a suspension bridge could be built. To support his insight, he did the math to demonstrate the necessary calculations. He then proposed this to the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire whose engineers were unanimous that this bridge could not be built. It wasn’t until 2001 that an engineering team was able to build Da Vinci’s bridge — in Norway.
  • How to get more skillful in taking risks?.
    • Practice makes it better, reflection makes it perfect. You can understand the theory of risk-taking but until you practice over and over, you won’t master the skill. And a critical part of that practice is reflection: examining what happened and why — when you lose AND when you win.
    • Separate yourself from the outcome — just focus on the process. This means removing the emotion related to the outcome and objectively make the best decision you can make with the information you have in the moment.
  • How to improve your judgment?
    • Check your ego at the door. After all, even the best professional poker players in the world lose 30% of the time. Therefore, never assume you are infallible. Instead, use every opportunity to improve.
    • Be open to learning.
    • Have someone in your life who calls you on your BS. (Torelli says his wife is invaluable for this!)
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Making a Digital Workplace Work #KMWorld

KMWlogo_Stacked_Session Description:

For 11 years, the global Intranet and Digital Workplace Awards have uncovered and shared remarkable solutions. This year is no exception! See the best of this year’s winners from the U.S., Europe, and beyond. They range from small ideas to entire platforms, giving something for everyone to take away. Ismail discusses the challenges of developing a rigorous and robust, efficient and effective digital workplace environment in a multi-cultural, decentralized organization and what means and methods can be used to create a viable digital workplace. A variety of different tools are recognized, such as the intranet, internal and external collaboration platforms, and enterprise search.

Speakers:

  • James Robertson, Founder, Step Two
  • Carlos Pelayo, Director, Lead IT Business Partner for Communications and Public Affairs, Shire
  • David M. Feldman, Associate Director Collaboration, Shire
  • Brian Duke, Senior Manager, Intranet Solutions, Thermo Fisher Scientific

[These are my notes from the KMWorld 2017 Conference. I’m publishing them as soon as possible after the end of a session, so they may contain the occasional typographical or grammatical error. Please excuse those. To the extent I’ve made any editorial comments, I’ve shown those in brackets.]

NOTES:

  • Fisher Scientific.  [Here is a link to their slides, including screenshots]
    • Following the example of consumer apps, they put their Yammer feed front and center on their intranet page. They did not shove it over on the side or hide it behind a link.
    • They are using Microsoft Flow to automatically post content to designated feeds.
    • They use tyGraph to collect and display their Yammer usage metrics
    • Of the 38K activated Yammer accounts, 31K were active on the intranet in the last month.
  • Shire. Governance First Intranet [Here is a link to their slides, including screenshots]
    • They found it really helpful to start with governance, rather than touching on it at the end of the intranet project
    • This project came out of an acquisition — Shire acquired a much larger organization. They grew from 7K to 23K employees.
    • They started by looking at the problems in the various legacy systems.
    • They wanted to reuse as much of the content as possible from the legacy systems.
    • As much as possible, they want to configure rather than customize
    • They gave people the freedom to do what they wanted — but within predetermined guardrails.
    • They used Microsoft Office 365
    • They created a consistent look and feel across all devices by using custom-branded webparts.
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Employee Experience — the Heart of the Digital Workplace #KMWorld

KMWlogo_Stacked_Session Description:

The idea of the “customer experience” is a powerful one, and it’s a strategic consideration for most big organizations. As a result, we’ve seen a huge degree of customer-centric digital transformation. Within the enterprise, the concept of the “employee experience” is equally powerful. Going beyond basic usability and UX, it takes a holistic view of how solutions are designed and delivered. This practical session outlines how digital workplace professionals and projects can use the employee experience as a strategic driver for change. Real-world examples of great employee experiences from around the globe are shared.

Speaker: James Robertson (Founder, Step Two)

[These are my notes from the KMWorld 2017 Conference. I’m publishing them as soon as possible after the end of a session, so they may contain the occasional typographical or grammatical error. Please excuse those. To the extent I’ve made any editorial comments, I’ve shown those in brackets.]

NOTES:

  • James Robertson Slides
  • Horrifying Employee Engagement Statistics.
    • In the US, only 32% of employees say they are engaged
    • In the rest of the world, only 13% of employees say they are engaged
  • A digital workplace”. “A digital workplace consists of the set of tools you already have.” The problem is that it isn’t good. What’s a great digital workplace?
    • a holistic set of tools, platforms, and environments that enable work
  • Visa’s Digital Workplace.
    • delivers high functionality and a rich user experience
    • they provide a great mobile experience — they go beyond responsive design to provide a dedicated mobile app.
  • Coles Supermarket Chain in Australia.
    • Their intranet = “My Coles”
    • They wanted to provide high functionality for (previously underserved) employees in the field that is comparable to the functionality previously available only to office-based employees.
    • They provided a mobile app that could be used on personal devices on an opt-in basis. They have high rates of adoption.
  • Swisscom.
    • They provide 3 home pages
      • one is all about news — all the time
      • one is all about tasks — all the time
        • it is tailored to the individual user and their function
        • it includes the one piece of content EVERYONE wants: the cafeteria menu
      • one is “about us”
    • Through this approach, they demonstrate that they are interested in providing the materials that the employees care about most to do their jobs.
  • Telstra.
    • Their goal was to make their intranet so effective that they would be able to reduce the number of support calls
    • Their employees cannot be paid without submitting their time sheets. So they provide a visual display on the HR page of their intranet which shows the individual employee’s current level of time submission
  • What about allowing staff the ability to personalize their intranet pages?  In theory, this is a wonderful approach because it treats employees as engaged adults. However, research shows that only 5-10% of staff ever take advantage of the option and actually customize their pages.
  • A truly delightful employee experience is also effective for the business. The Mando Agency is a professional services firm that cannot bill its clients unless its own staff submits their time sheets. To manage this challenge, Mando installed an internet-operated beer fridge that was programmed to unlock on Fridays, but ONLY once everyone in the firm had submitted their time tickets. The firm provided a dashboard showing everyone how close they were to achieving an unlocked fridge AND which people were blocking progress by their delinquency in submitting their time. This gamification and extreme transparency work. In the five years since they installed the fridge, the employees have failed to open it only once.
  • How to provide a good Employee experience?.
    • Learn about how the employee works and what they need.
    • Have a deliberate digital approach that allows you to do all of the following three things simultaneously, but at different paces:
      • Projects: make sure you have at least one project for every budgetary period in order to make continuous improvements to the digital workplace
      • Strategy: this should enable the “big leap” that takes 3-5 years –it shows the trajectory of the combined effect of these projects
      • Vision: these big ideas about the future
    • Take ownership of your employee experience
      • don’t give this away to vendors, don’t let the vendors dictate what your employee experience should be
      • your needs are different from those of your vendors so if you are going to meet the unique needs of your employees you need to exert some control over the vendor offerings.
    • Establish Governance
      • Step Two provides an Intranet Operating Model
      • Governance is merely a means to an end
    • Take every (small) opportunity to improve your digital workplace and employee experience
      • but beware that every change has an inherent cost — it is disruptive, it asks for different processes or behaviors, etc.
      • Step Two provides a 6×2 methodology to help choose which changes are feasible and worth doing.
  • Dream Big, but iterate often!
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