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Solo change agents set you free

Here is what Domino’s Pizza learned about implementing personal knowledge management practices, after their recent pilot project:

First, learners want some guidance about the changing boundaries of professional development. Traditional models of learning involve taking a chunk of time to step out of the workplace. PKM makes learning a real-time activity within the flow of work. The company needs to clarify what people are allowed and expected to do in terms of learning during the workday.

Second, information services, particularly information security, needs to be a partner in the effort. The director of information security consulted throughout the effort and attended the workshop, where he was able to offer some valuable insights.

Finally, as learning practitioners, we’re awash in information about social tools and technology-enabled learning. It can be easy to overlook how unfamiliar busy professionals are with some of these technologies—especially in a work context. We need to take the time to help familiarize them with new tools, using practical, realistic examples. – Eric Kammerer

There were three key considerations: 1) how to take control of your professional development; 2) how to do this within a particular organizational structure, and 3) how to do this with the available tools and abilities of users. Unlike PKM at an individual level, in a corporate implementation there needs to be a balance found between organizational objectives and personal ones. In this case, I helped set the stage, provided some initial guidance, and then Eric and his team continued on their journey.

A key difference between a solo change agent and a corporate consultant, is that the former is there to set you free, not chain you to proprietary methods and processes. Had I been working for one of the big name consultancies on this PKM project I would likely have lost my job for not selling an ongoing engagement to my client at Domino’s. Instead, I provided enough support to get them going on their own. I am not selling fish, and I am not teaching people how to fish. I help people learn for themselves how to fish. This is social consulting and it does not scale the way traditional consultancies do. Instead, it grows through transparency, authenticity, results, and especially trust.fishing-nets

I have said before to beware of anyone trying to sell cookie cutter solutions for complex organizational issues. Companies have to do the hard part of organizational change themselves by putting in the effort. As a solo change agent, I can get you started, give coaching and advice, and provide ongoing resources. I cannot do it for you. Domino’s is an excellent example of a company that understands this. Is your company getting the best value from its consultants?

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