the core competency for network era work

I developed the personal knowledge mastery (PKM) framework of Seek > Sense > Share from a need to stay current as a working professional. As a framework it is not a defined set of practices nor a recipe book, as there are many unique PKM routines. Since first writing about PKM in 2004, I have continuously worked at improving the model, identifying emergent practices and tools, and promoting the need to let people manage their own learning in the workplace. My conclusions in 2004 remain today:

My conclusion for a while has been that knowledge cannot be managed, and neither can knowledge workers. It will take a new social contract between workers and organizations in order to create an optimally functioning enterprise. Adding management and technology won’t help either. This is the crux of everything in the new “right-sized, lean, innovative, creative” economy – getting the right balance between the organizational structure and the knowledge workers.

While most organizational ‘digital transformation’ initiatives focus on technology, tools, and processes, only lip service is paid to individual capability. I have learned that it takes time to build a knowledge-sharing network and develop a sense-making discipline. Educating people on PKM is only 10% of the effort. Finding people who can support our learning is perhaps 20%. But practice and reflection is 70% of the effort. PKM fits in well with the 70:20:10 framework, which requires leadership to hold the space so that learning is promoted through experience, exposure, and education. PKM is the engaged professional actively involved in co-creating knowledge.

“The more I am out there chatting to clients, the more I realise that your PKM approach is the number one critical skill set. Any way I look at it, all roads seem to end there. It is the foundation. That’s why I thought this is where they need to start – and not just the employees – everyone including the managers.” —Helen Blunden, AU

Why PKM?

  • Motivation is the key to any learning, so having your own unique PKM practice is empowering.
  • Training and education look backwards and cannot address what might be.
  • Organizations do not learn, people do.
  • The active practice of PKM integrates work and learning in our minds.
  • Networked individuals are more resilient and adaptive than any organization.
  • The lifespan of organizations is decreasing and individuals have to take control of their career professional development.
  • Getting connected outside of work creates a support network for any future disruption.
  • PKM is the core competency for network era work that increasingly requires curiosity, creativity, and empathy.

The PKM Workshop is one way to start the journey to personal knowledge mastery.


7 Responses to “the core competency for network era work”

  1. Merrell Sheehan

    You nailed it here …It takes time to build a knowledge-sharing network and develop a sense-making discipline.

    Thank goodness 7-8 years ago I cobbled together some tools that worked for me … and stuck with it. Now the knowledge content flows through like clockwork and I get to reap the benefits.

    A little overlap here but my current PKM toolkit consists of Feedly, Pocket, Evernote, OneNote, and Twitter. Wish I could put some discipline around a to-do system though.

  2. Paul

    Merrell, what are your difficulties with to-dos? I will say I had similar issues myself keeping a list of such items, and of the time spent on different tasks. After trying and failing for a while to stick with two of my core methods, I just one day said enough is enough and stuck with them by spending a decent amount of time doing them and forcing myself to execute those logging tasks when certain communications demanded them.

    So for the last few months I’ve had a good track record of recording time and getting my lists accomplished. I use EverNote’s checkbox style for my daily to-dos, and anything I don’t finish that day, I leave unchecked and carry over to the next day. It has done a lot for me.

  3. Kevin Gallant

    The three e’s are the core foundation of leaders. I don’t know where Creativity fits into this schematic but we need more Export leaders. Great work Harold!

  4. Merrell Sheehan

    Paul … thanks for the inspiration! I’m sure my problem deals with the discipline of working a to-do system. Back in the day I was pretty good with the paper-based Day Timer system, but the digital world’s distractions get in my way. Thanks again for the “enough is enough.”


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