In knowledge management as in life, folks often come in one of two flavors: the mixologists and the bartenders. Not sure about the distinction? According to Jim Meehan (a bartender at PDT, an East Village speakeasy in New York City):
Mixologists serve drinks. Bartenders serve people.
The KM mixologists believe in their systems and theories. They are more likely to ask the user to bend to the system than adapt the system to the user. KM mixologists often honestly believe they know what’s best for their client, regardless of what the client says.
A KM bartender is completely unpretentious — just trying to help the customer get along, but always on the customer’s terms. This means mixing good service with liberal doses of sympathy, listening attentively to what the customer isn’t always able to articulate, and knowing when to stop pouring.
[h/t to to lawyer and culinary/cultural critic, Jeffrey Steingarten, who reported the distinction between a mixologist and a bartender.]
[Photo Credit: Tomas Fano]