Many years ago Nicola, my daughter, asked this question. I spent at least 3 months of the year going to places that would not feature on any list of recommended travel destinations. And when I came back much of what I would discuss was somehow from another world. She was mystified (and probably still is) which is one reason I started recording my adventures and writing books.
I’ve learned much about people, places and culture to the point where I have more friends outside of the UK than in it. Someone asked me how many countires I’d visited – while not yet in three figures the number is not far off.
During a 40+ career I’ve managed countless assignments while pursuing a portfolio of activities and dealt with many clients while I was a banker plying my trade in the Middle East.
So, I was delighted when, on assuming office as CILIP President, I received a request from one of their special interest groups, International Libraries & Information Group, to give a talk to them about working internationally.
They very kindly recorded the event for posterity and here it is:
It’s been a tough 12 months as we’ve all come to terms with isolated living. For many it’s seen personal relationships flourish while more have witnessed them collapse.
Help yourself in order to help others
A few weeks back on LinkedIn I put up a post “Put your oxygen mask on before helping others...” which attracted a lot of comment. I’d written it after a conversation with a friend who is a very perceptive relationship therapist. She and I had talked about the effect of Lockdown Fatigue and I was drawn to a comment she made:
“…we’re missing out on the life-affirming impact of seeing our value reflected back at us through the eyes of our friends, family, work colleagues and clients.”
What followed via LinkedIn chat was a very thought provoking discussion about #distributedworking and the need to develop some form of virtual peripheral vision.
Yes, there is no substitute for the F2F interactions. We would always need them. After all, we are social creatures who crave for a strong sense of belonging and bonding, but through ESNs we’ve definitely being able to augment a different kind of interaction, just as powerful: conversations.
eating scraps from bins in Austria
These conversations came back to me as I heard the sad news this week of the passing of Lotti Henley one the people I featured in the ‘most admired’ section of my site. Here’s what the Mayor of London said about her a few years back:
‘…an86 year old war hero; an Austrian aristocrat who was forced to eat scraps of food from bins to survive during the Second World War...She says her lasting memory of hunger is the motivation behind her new campaign, Plan Zheroes, which aims to link up hundreds of shops, supermarkets and other food outlets across the capital with local charities in need of free food.’
Lotti was a person who made it difficult to say no to, a truly unique person.
Here’s a moving montage of her life in pictures put together by her grandson.
I’ve spent much of the last couple of months balancing commitments. People often talk about work / life balances; for me the boundaries have become so fuzzy over the last few years as I’ve got older and have the ability to make a choice of where to spend my time.
I regularly get asked at dinners (when we were able to attend) haven’t you retired yet? What this year has taught me at least is to devote time and energy to those who don’t drain you of it!
Which is why I’ve found the “in conversation with…” sessions I’ve been conducting each week with a member of CILIP so rewarding. I hope to do some of the stories justice in a couple of month’s time when I host the 2nd Presidential Debate alongside award winning journalist and best selling author Kate Thompson.
I was delighted to have been invited to be the launch ‘act’ for the KM Lobby a program of Pioneer Knowledge Services hosted by Ginetta Gueli, Monica Danese-Perrin, and Edwin K. Morris M.S. We spoke at length about the importance of KM Chartership and Standards. It was a fun 45 minutes which is available here
Monday, I joined Paul Byfield of European Bank for Reconstruction & Development (EBRD) to discuss the importance of standards and certification with 40 or so delegates at the first virtual ARK KM Summit facilitated by Nick Stone. I’d keynoted at an EBRD event that looked inter alia at the ISO KM standards and certification in November with Paul who is currently working to become one of the first to hold the accreditation, “Chartered Knowledge Manager”.
It’s a topic I feel passionately about having first looked at the “Evolving role of the Knowledge Manager” a decade ago, accepted an invitation in 2016 to become Knowledge & Information Management Ambassador for Chartered Institute for Libraries & Information Professionals (CILIP) and, as it positions itself to become a natural home for KM professionals, its President in 2021.
My presentation, “Professionalising KM” can be found here.
“Striving down the path to corporate legitimacy”
I’ve often used this phrase. For me it illustrates the progress being made positioning Knowledge Management as an accepted discipline in organisations. Similar horiztonal corporate functions have been through this ‘legitmisation’. Here’s two examples:
Personnel became Human Resources and then Talent Management. It’s industry body Chartered Institute of Personnel Development founded 1913 has become the ‘go to’ and CIPD’s qualifications are the recognised professional standard for HR and training specialists working across the UK’s public, private and charity sectors. How many businesses do you know without some form of HR function?
Marketing likewise has it’s own industry body Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) founded in 1911. It too has a career pathway for development based upon professional qualifications. Its not uncommon for the Cheif Marketing Officer to be one of the senior executive team and the role of Marketing (and Communications) to be a core corporate function.
Knowledge Management is a much newer discipline of less than 30 years and misunderstood by many. The arrival of the ISO KM Standards 30401 was a significant milestone even if adoption is going to take time and the introduction of a globally recognised (and independent) benchmark of a person’s competence is potentially another.
Where I believe CILIP which was established in 2002 (evolving from the Library Association which dates back to 1877) have got it right is through the mapping of their Professional Knowledge & Skills Base (PKSB) to ISO 30401. Led by Karen Macfarlane formerly CILIP Chair and Head of KIM Profession (HMG Civil Service) with contributions from such KM luminaries as Patrick Lambe, it has already been adopted by a number of significant institutions such as NHS’s Health Education England for their career pathway and vocational skills development.
KM post Coivd-19
Having given a few virtual presentations in May and seen at first hand the impact a KM approach can make in a crisis situation I was interested to see how the KM community is coping and moreover how secure KM professionals feel in their roles.
At the end of Paul and my presentation we posed three questions:
Will you consider being assessed against the ISO KM standards?
Yes = 60%, No =25%, Not relevant = 15%
Do you think Knowledge Chartership / Fellowship will be valuable to you?
Yes = 80%, No = 10%, Not relevant = 10%
How unsure are you of your role, post lockdown?
Very = 5%, A little = 55%, Not at all = 45%
In discussion both he and I felt the lack of uncertainty was a positive. I wondered aloud whether 5 years ago pre standards and certification we would have got the same response to question 3. I firmly believe that people (and organisations) gravitate towards the type of order and structure that standards and certification bring.
At the end of a lively session and many good questions, it was good to hear from Paul how cathartic the process of self reflection that goes with assembling a portfolio for submission for chartership has proved for him.