Today was a good day. Really.
I had the pleasure of some productive meetings and a chunk of quiet time to get things done. Best of all, I was delighted to find myself on the receiving end of compliments regarding a recently launched law firm knowledge management resource that I’ve been working on for some time. Who could complain? Certainly not me.
That said, I realize that days like this are not always the norm — especially not for KM professionals. There are too many days when it seems as if everyone is a critic. On days like that it’s worth remembering that taking a longer view can be helpful. This was brought home to me several years ago when, in response to clear user feedback, we introduced a brand new KM system. I took the constructive criticism in stride until someone said to me, “Why can’t you make this system just like the old one?” Really??? Fast forward a few years and those same critics were sending colleagues to the “new” resource because (surprise, surprise) it actually worked well. Unbelievable.
Lest we think KM folks are specially set aside for abuse, you might find it instructive to see the vitriol that was heaped on some movies that David Christopher Bell features in the 10 Classic Movies that Critics Hated. I’m willing to bet real money that no one in your organization ever said of your efforts anything comparable to this: “…a nice try that misfired.” That was the critical response to The Night of the Hunter. This is how Bell describes it:
No other film is as known for being so great and having such a poor reception than The Night Of The Hunter. The film itself is now played to every student churned out of film school and praised as being a masterpiece of both cinema and horror. The truth is that the film really is that good – it was simply made in the wrong era…
With the advantage of 20/20 hindsight, Wikipedia reports:
In 1992, The Night of the Hunter was deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” by the United States Library of Congress and was selected for preservation in its National Film Registry.
That’s not so bad for a “misfire.”
Granted, you may not want to wait 37 years for vindication, but isn’t it comforting to know that quality usually does show through notwithstanding the misperceptions of early critics? That’s worth remembering on days when it feels like everyone is a critic.