ASQ - Team and Workplace Excellence Forum

September 1997


Education 101: Redesigning Schools
Site Based Management Relocates Decision Making

Take the Good with the Bad
Positive and Negative Feedback in Creativity Sessions

Site Council Learns About Growth, Power And Communication

Knowledge Management
Taking Control of the Information Age

Etymology of a Buzzward

Investment Tip: Stay In For The Long Haul
Van Kampen American Capital Perseveres to Win AQP Excellence Award


It's About Time
by Peter Block

You Have to Be a Little Different
by Cathy Kramer


Brief Cases
Business News Briefs

Views for a Change

Book Review

Letters to the Editor


Book Reviews With A Twist

Intellectual Capital
The New Wealth of Organizations (by Thomas A. Stewart)

"Why all the fuss about teams and employee involvement? Why should the organization spend more to develop employees? Why are intranets and other internal networks for communication so important?"

If you don't have a clear answer for these questions or need better understanding, this book is a must read.

Stewart makes the case for developing the people within an organization, while creating a language that allows us to apply the principles of intellectual capital. He helps us understand that intellectual capital is critical to our success and why, like other assets, we must learn to manage it to develop its full potential.
Intellectual capital is: "intellectual material - knowledge, information, intellectual property, experience - that can be put to use to create wealth."

We're moving from an era where the main sources of wealth were physical to one where wealth comes from knowledge and communication. Success goes to those who do the best job of developing and managing their knowledge resources - their people.
"Knowledge work - the work of planning, supervising, scheduling, and managing - has become part of the job description of the hourly workers." The work traditionally done by management is moving to teams, and the tools of the knowledge worker are carried between her ears rather than on her back.

To be successful:
1. People at every level will have to willingly share their knowledge to raise the level of the entire team or organization, rather than following the old model of hoarding information.
2. A successful system will be a pull system rather than a push system. The knowledge needs to be available when people want and need it. It can't be forced upon them just-in-case they'll need it someday.

The message from this book I will remember 10 years from now: "The information and knowledge people use in their work is at least as important as any piece of equipment or truckload of material they use, and like equipment or materials, can be managed more productively."

Favorite new term: Network organization. One of the biggest challenges many organizations face is how to share knowledge. The issue is one of sorting the information that's usable knowledge and applying it.

Favorite quote from this book: A quote shared by Charles Pauk, chief information officer of Andersen Consulting: "When one of our consultants shows up, the client should get the best of the firm, not just the best of that consultant."

Second favorite quote: "What distinguishes a star in the corporate firmament from a dim bulb in the basement is not his level in the organization but the complexity and value of the projects he works on."
No longer is title or position key to success - rather it's the type of work one does. The most talented will have the best projects - not necessarily the biggest offices or fanciest titles.

Advice for charting your future in the information age: "Instead of security, seek resilience. Chart your contribution, not your position."
To be successful we have to understand the information age. This book is a great starting place. Stewart has created a highly readable book that you can start applying immediately.

Intellectual Capital, The New Wealth of Organizations, Thomas A. Stewart, 1997, Doubleday/Currency, New York, NY, ISBN 0-385-48228-0, US$27.00, 261 pages.
Reviewed by Steve Gibbons, Senior Research and
Development Consultant, The Principal Financial Group.

Sept. '97 News for a Change | Email Editor
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