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Rewiring the Corporate Brains Published: Sunday, November 1, 1998 By: Dr. Manuel Angel Morales

Part of challenge of strategy is the educated guess component, perhaps the most esoteric angle of the planning arts. Organizations as well as people never know enough. Mastering such a reality comes from direct exposure to vast amounts of such varied information as the hard facts of competitor analysis, market studies, and customer profiles, to the qualitative task of constantly pondering what seems to be emerging in the air. The purpose is to differentiate between trash and fundamental usable knowledge. When enough pieces of business knowledge accumulate in the analytic, synthetic and wise mind, they eventually form the basis of the company`s vision for the future.

Yet there seems to be a reluctance on the part of some organizations to invest in business research and profound strategic ventures. A recent study by the Conference Board reveals that fewer than 5% of U.S. organizations (some with locations in P.R.) had full-fledged research, knowledge driven systems. Given the exponential growth in information and research resources and the opening up of so many global markets, the issue of outsourcing business research should foremost on the organizational collective mind. There is a key way of getting intelligence: Get the right researchers to do it for you, gain access to such knowledge and do it routinely! Staying current on all applicable business knowledge and running the organization at the same time is nearly impossible. Moreover, organization by themselves cannot develop easy criteria for distinguishing between the usefulness of different knowledge and technology sets and they end confined by a kind of cafeteria effect syndrome.

To lead a large enterprise without access to relevant knowledge is a foolhardy thing. The pace and intensity of the competitive environment requires an organizational discovery rate exceeding anything modern organizations have experienced.

Bully for business knowledge, but how do you find, educate, protect, and take advantage of such an internal or external asset? Since the subject is new to 95% of U.S. and local firms, there are not well crafted business knowledge professionals job descriptions neither maturity about hiring or subcontracting these professionals. For example, what does the professional look like? Is he an info-entertainer or a knowledge-research driven person? Where can qualified individuals be found?

Knowledge producers and gathers posses a set of skills developed through experience and long years of formal education. This attribute is difficult to replicate by common operating organizations. Having experience in a specific business is not necessarily important since the profound knowledge that is carried by the subject can be applied to any organization.

Today`s realities require of professionals with a high level of intellectual curiosity, to know where to search, and huge work capacity, as well as substantial amount of courage and risk-taking. The idea is to tell organizations what they need to know, not what they want to hear. These professional skills include solid competence in reading, researching, collecting and analyzing data, and a broad awareness of world affairs. They should feel comfortable in a wide variety of organizational environments, and recognize that their product (knowledge) is not the end, but a means to a an end. Thus, the crafting of these knowledge professionals require for them to be: perceptive about people; able to work with others under difficult conditions; learn to discern between fact and fantasy; possess inquisitiveness; have a large amount of playfulness; pay attention to the wider scope of reality; be able to express ideas; learn how to be discrete. Competitiveness is the establishment of a truly organizational learning rate which exceeds the competition. Super learning is achieved by investing in the education and training of knowledge professionals and those they serve. After all, management is the act of using the corporate brains.

 


Copyright 1998 QBS, Inc.
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