Building Knowledge-based Organizations and Developing
the Knowledge Leaders of the Future
The silent killers of effective knowledge leadership are the pervasive 20th-century traditions of linear, mechanical and reductionist thinking paired with their obsolete managerial behaviours of control, dominance and technocracy.
Much of the orthodoxy of 19th-century Newtonian thinking is unsuitable for 21st-century knowledge leadership. A recent example of this organizational pathology is the reengineering fiasco of the 90s. This mechanistic, cost-reduction management fad destroyed capabilities, competencies, trust and value. Even today some managers still use machine metaphors to describe their knowledge leadership efforts!
In the future, how we think about opportunities and how we approach them will often be far more important than the actions taken.
New leaders often try and speak of a knowledge ecosystem. They then attempt narrow control of ecosystem elements as separate, self-contained applications, tools, processes or content. People are often cogs in the machine. These prescribed efforts and rigid, artificial boundaries account for most all the failures of knowledge-based initiatives.
Knowledge ecosystems are fundamentally interrelated, interdependent and irreducible. The knowledge leaders of the future embrace holism and identify with the primacy of the total system. They nurture the complementary dynamics of knowledge. Knowledge leaders strive to expand relationships, enhance conductivity and amplify the intrinsic social orientation of all knowledge-based organizations, ecosystems and economies.
Top knowledge leaders routinely 'suspend their disbelief' to unlearn their harmful industrial-era habits and models. They learn from the emerging future through authentic conversation. 21st-century knowledge leaders actively pursue external interactions and continuously use genuine action/research networks to their strategic and collaborative advantage.