I had the pleasure of a visit from Jon Husband this week, only the second time that we’ve been together. Jon and his wirearchy framework have been an integral part of my views on the network era workplace since 2004. I even have a separate category for wirearchy on this website.
During one of our conversations at a local café, Jon suggested that in wirearchies, personal knowledge management (PKM) could become the new resumé. One problem with a résumé is that it only looks backwards, on past achievements. Even behavioural interviews look at how we have dealt with past problems. What about how we prepare for new problems?
I think that asking, “What can you do for the organization today?”, would be a better way to start an interview. Considering that in complex, networked environments, where work is learning and learning is the work, would it not be better to find out how people are learning? Imagine an interview beginning with, “Good day, Mister Jones, please sit down and tell us about your PKM.” Other questions could follow:
- How do you keep your learning up to date?
- With whom do you learn?
- How do you capture your learning?
- How do you narrate your work? Please show us an example …
- How do you stay current in your field?
- How diverse is your network? Could you give us some examples?
- How would you begin to look at the following problem, which is out of your normal scope of work …
Describing how we stay actively engaged in our learning might be a better indicator of future performance, in a world where many answers do not lie in the past, but in how we manage to make connections with the present. To remain relevant, workers need to re-skill and provide services for today’s and tomorrow’s problems, not yesterday’s. We need to think more like artists and look at creating new ways of working, not polishing our previous successes. Showing how we learn, or manage our knowledge personally, keeps us focused on the present. It’s time for HR to start asking about our PKM, and understand its value.