Leading Knowledge Teams

by Christopher Avery

When knowledge comprises the inputs, throughputs, and outputs of work…

… High performance is always voluntary. Seldom can you coerce or incentivize high performance. What to do? Responsible Knowledge Team Leaders discover and tap into existing internal motivators early and often.… Free-loaders rule (unfortunately). Collective performance naturally falls to the level of the least motivated co-worker. What to do? Responsible Knowledge Team Leaders make issues of motivation and commitment a greater priority and focus than technical skills and plans.

… Intersections matter most. New knowledge arises from relationships, dialog, shared spaces, and differences. Synergy appears from combinations — not from the parts. What to do? Responsible Knowledge Team Leaders develop multiple rhythmic frequencies (i.e., daily, weekly, etc.) to blend solo, paired, and group work.

… Shared responsibility matters more than single-point accountability. "I did my part" seldom earns respect at the end of failed projects. High performance teammates fill in the gaps for one another. Responsibility is one of those things that increases as people take it. What to do? Responsible Knowledge Team Leaders emphasize the collective task over the individual roles. It's win/win as a team or lose/lose as a team — no individual victories or losses.

You can't manage knowledge workers. ~Peter Drucker

Posted in Responsibility on 09/10/2006 09:47 pm
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