KM World 2007: How do we make people do things?


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David Gurteen's talk/mini knowledge cafe at KM World 2007 in San Jose, November 2007.

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KM World 2007: How do we make people do things?

  1. 1. How do we make people do things ? KM World 2007 David Gurteen Gurteen Knowledge
  2. 2. A story: How do we make them use it? Henley Management College
  3. 3. Work with People don’t do things to them! Many of the familiar principles of Quality management amount to an elaboration of this simple truth: an innovative, healthy organization requires that we work with people rather than do things to them . Alfie Kohn
  4. 4. Should we reward knowledge sharing activity?
  5. 5. For Best Results: Forget the Bonus! Here is what Alfie Kohn says about rewards To the best of my knowledge, no controlled scientific study has ever found a long-term enhancement of the quality of work as a result of any reward system http://
  6. 6. Alfie Kohn on rewards <ul><li>Rewards punish </li></ul><ul><li>Rewards rupture relations </li></ul><ul><li>Rewards ignore reasons </li></ul><ul><li>Rewards deter risk taking </li></ul><ul><li>Rewards undermine interest </li></ul>
  7. 7. Rewards Punish <ul><li>Threats & coercion destroy motivation and so do rewards </li></ul><ul><li>Rewards are manipulative </li></ul><ul><li>“ Do this and you will get that” is not much different to “Do this else here is what will happen to you” </li></ul><ul><li>When people do not get the reward they hoped for they feel punished </li></ul><ul><li>The more desirable the reward the more demoralizing it is to miss out </li></ul>
  8. 8. Rewards rupture relations <ul><li>Excellence depends on teamwork </li></ul><ul><li>Rewards (especially if scarce) destroy cooperation </li></ul><ul><li>Incentive driven employees will not ask for help from their manager when they need it </li></ul><ul><li>People will conceal problems from their manager to appear infinitely competent </li></ul>
  9. 9. Rewards ignore reasons <ul><li>To solve problems people must understand the causes </li></ul><ul><li>They ignore the complexities of the problems </li></ul><ul><li>Each situation calls for a different response </li></ul><ul><li>Rewards tend to blindly promote a single solution </li></ul>
  10. 10. Rewards deter risk-taking <ul><li>People are less likely to take risks; to explore possibilities; to play hunches </li></ul><ul><li>The No. 1 casualty of rewards is creativity </li></ul>
  11. 11. Rewards undermine interest <ul><li>Loving what you do is a more powerful motivator than any goody including money </li></ul><ul><li>Rewards are controlling! </li></ul><ul><li>If people focus on getting a reward they tend to feel their work is no longer freely chosen and directed by them </li></ul><ul><li>If they have to bribe me to do it - it must be something I don’t want to do! </li></ul>
  12. 12. So what’s the solution? How do we make people share? How do we make people do anything? How do we make people use the new KM system?
  13. 13. Alfie Kohn <ul><li>Pay people well </li></ul><ul><li>Pay people fairly </li></ul><ul><li>Then do everything possible to take money (rewards) off people’s minds </li></ul>Incentives, bonuses, pay-for-performance-plans and other reward systems violate this last principle by their very nature!
  14. 14. Bob Buckman Our approach to KM is far more than stick or carrot. We say, &quot;Knowledge Sharing is your job. Do it!&quot; As a reward you may keep your job.
  15. 15. John Holt Children do not need to be made to learn to be better, told what to do or shown how. If they are given access to enough of the world, they will see clearly enough what things are truly important to themselves and to others, and they will make for themselves a better path into that world then anyone else could make for them John Holt
  16. 16. Anthony de Mello The only way to change is to change your understanding . Anthony de Mello Jesuit Priest
  17. 17. David Weinberger For all our knowledge, we have no idea what we're talking about. We don't understand what's going on in our business, our market, and our world. KM shouldn’t be about helping us to know more. It should be about helping us to understand. So, how do we understand things? … It's through stories that we understand how the world works. David Weinberger, The Cluetrain Manifesto
  18. 18. So how do we make people do things? And what role should rewards play? How do we make people share? How do we make people do anything? How do we make people use the new KM system?
  19. 19. David Gurteen Gurteen Knowledge Tel: +44 1252 812 878 Email: