Burn | The Daily Post

Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt: burn.

Source: Burn | The Daily Post

When they refurbished our woodburner, they took out the damper in the flue and opened up the air vent at the base of the fire box.

The net effect of this was that there was more air coming into the combustion chamber, more than the flue could handle once it was heated, especially a good burn with really dry wood.

So what would happen was that the heated air would go about half way up the flue – it is about 6 metres in length – before it created a vacuum behind it and came rocketing back down the flue. On occasion we would have jets of flame a metre long blasting out the air vent! Not only did we have to put up with a smoky home but the point in the flue where the hot air reversed flow would build up and block with soot…

The solution after trying everything else was to stop the air vent, opening by about a quarter inch so that the air coming in was proportionate to that amount that could go up the flue…

A study in growth…

On Thursday, I conducted an unintentional but educational experiment.

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In the interests of science

Mid-afternoon, I decided to drive to Taupo to do some shopping.

Having skipped lunch – not intentionally, I was just doing stuff and not feeling particularly hungry to that point – I stopped at the Turangi BK for a Big Feed; Whopper, fries, nuggets, caramel sundae and big Coke. I must admit I did hesitate slightly when the TV screen asked me “Coke for the drink?” – I would have opted out if I could have remembered what else BK had to offer but went with the flow, which is probably the whole idea of such a leading question. Later thought: I could have asked what other options they had to offer…

For old me, stopping for lunch at the Turangi BK was pretty much a habit on my way to points further…new healthy me had a brief think about the options – there aren’t many in Turangi and less when you’re hungry NOW and in a hurry (to get to Taupo before 5) – but habit won out..

Shopping in Taupo completed, once again habit took the helm and I found myself in the drive-in queue at the Taupo KFC – in the full knowledge that every time I have KFC, it reminds me why I don’t have KFC…a three piece quarter pack and a Big Snack burger…all that grease suppressed healthy conscience’s pricking as I drove back west…

Two things I noticed.

Firstly, how absolutely sweet both the BK and KFC offerings tasted to Way Less Sugar Me…coming up to six months along my green journey and this cynic is pretty much sold on the notion that there is a direct connection between sugar/sweetness in food and food craving…

Secondly, by the time I got home – 90 minutes max and that includes stopping at the Turangi New World and stocking up – on healthy food, I might add: baby beets, pineapples ($2.99 each!!!), pumpkin, kumara, ginger (yes, it’s time for that ripper soup again) and more, more, more bananas…Depending on my smoothie mix for the day and less any consumed in cooking, I’m averaging three bananas downrange each day now…Oh! And, almonds, in quantity as well: after reading the label on my store-bought almond milk  – all the words to big to pronounce in a hurry  – I am somewhat motivated to try my hand at making my own…

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Compensatory healthy stuff

Oh, I distract myself…hey, look, groceries..! do I need to get out more, I wonder..? So anyway, secondly, by the time I got home, my belt was distinctly tight and uncomfortable and I had this craving for sweet, sweet, sweet stuff. Now, when I stick to my healthy options, I can and do consume a lot but never, never, since I started this journey have I felt so bloated, yuk and uncomfortable as then…lesson identified…time will tell about it level of learnedness…

Inspiring Max liked my post Earth  this evening so, as I try to do, I checked out Max’s blog, it’s a tit for tat, you scratch my back bloggie thing for me…in  Coffee Catchup #6, Max asked readersIf we were having coffee I would ask you what you have been up to this last week, let me know in the comments.” Since the question had been posed, I did…and this discovery popped out as I burbled out my week in response…then I thought (it happens sometimes) “…well, if this is profound enough to contribute to someone else’s blog, it’s good enough for me as well…”

So here I am, at 8-30 in the PM, writing a post, after my first day back at work after three weeks off – and it went very well, thank you very much – when I should have dinner well under way…which is how I get to skip meals and then conducting unintentioned experiments like that above…still, dinner tonight will be quite simple: a reheat of the korma I made last night where I learned how much tastier food is when cooked in coconut oil than vegetable oils like Canola…

OK, now it’s time for food and a rewatch of Spectre, surely one of the better Bonds in the last five decades…?

spectre 007

Why Lessons Learned Programmes Don’t Work

Budgetary battles are raging across the US Department of Defence and every service and agency desperately rounds its soapboxes, sacred idols and hobby-horses into a defense circle…it’s a desperate, no holds barred struggle for the survival of the most precious as opposed perhaps to the most needed. Unsurprisingly, this results in a steady dribble of pro/con article on the various issues or perceived issues. This one struck a chord as the five stated reasons resounded from my years in the lesson learned field…you’ll need to read the artcile itself to see that author’s take on such ‘initiatives’…

Five Reasons to Boycott the Air Force’s Savings Initiative : John Q. Public.

1. Your Time is Too Important.  The lessons learned programme may be more form than function i.e. regardless of best intentions, hopes, dreams and aspirations, it does not have a clear and effective method of initiating and embedding the behavioural change that heralds the ‘lesson learned. In this is the case and sadly, so many of them and other ‘continuous improvement’ programmes are, then your time may be better spent contributing to the organisation in another way, possibly as simple as just doing your day job to the best of your ability, and fostering a local climate for change in improvement around your immediate work area.

2. Your Participation Will Harm the Air Force’s Credibility. Or whichever organisation you represent…there are few things worse for an organisations credibility than a broadly and publicly promoted programme that visibly does not work…”What? you can’t improve your own improvement programme..?

3. The Program Enables a False Impression. An improvement initiative by its very existence promotes a perception that things must improve. Unless, however, the lessons learned programme is well-designed, well-implemented and well-lead, it is almost always doomed to fail. Once again, some time more would be done to improve the organisation if local change was encouraged and fostered – it is only very rarely that a large scale programme does not result in cookie cutter ‘solutions’ that are inflicted across an organisation and while maybe fixing one problem, create ten more.

4. The Initiative Is Itself Wasteful.  Absolutely and more so if it includes an incentive programme where staff are or may be rewarded for offering suggestions under the guise of initiatives and innovations. Without a good system and excellent leadership, the great risk is that staff will fixate on the reward and dedicate more and more time to dreaming up innovations than just doing their job and resolving issues when they encounter them. Moreover, just because something is called an initiative, does not mean that it is: in fact, the more strident the initiative narrative, the less likely the programme is to be innovative and more likely it is to be just another bureaucratically-inflicted drag-producing waste of time and resources.

5. There’s no reason to associate oneself needlessly with failure. Yes, sad but true. Despite all the good intentions, if the programme is tainted – and let’s face it, most improvement initiatives are even before the ink on the initiating directive dries – then why flog a dead horse or allow it to undermine by association those things that do work.

Don’t get me wrong…I am dedicated to lessons learned concepts and practices (I hope so after all these years!)  however initiating and embedding change in even a small organisation is not a simple thing and nowhere as simple as the loudest advocates might, in their simplistic ignorance, have us believe. Like any programme seeking to change a status quo, it must first understand the environment in which it will be conducted, who the people are (outside of the Borg, there is rarely any single collective group of ‘the people’), what shapes and influences them, what their hopes, dreams and aspirations are, and it must really understand how the organisation actually works (as opposed to what has been chiselled into process and procedure files.

So, when the innovation initiative evangelists coming knockin’, just think carefully about what they are really selling…

Knoco stories: Explicit knowledge is only valuable if it is accurate

Knoco stories: Explicit knowledge is only valuable if it is accurate.

These issues are symptomatic of rural lifestyles – we have exactly the same here: our phone apparently loops out into the lawn before heading up the short driveway (about 25 metres), under the long driveway (about 110 metres), up to the gate, back under the long driveway, does a few more loops outside the gate before ducking back under the fence to the Telecom connection point…

 

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The ‘short’ driveway: the phone cable runs left to right across the base of the steps and then under the right side of the concrete…

Raurimu driveway Aug 04 - 1

The ‘long’ driveway…the phone cable burrows under the far end of this and meanders up the left side about a metre or so off the seal, before doing a few loops where the mighty Diamante is parked and then ducking under the to the Telecom connection point where the white marker is on the right…

At the time we put in our garage in 2007, we got the Telecom guy out to track the cable’s path before we did any serious digging – just in case – and marked it with some dazzle paint. Over time the dazzle paint became distinctly less dazzly, and eventually faded away before I got a Round Tu-it vis-a-vis actually mapping its path for next time that information was needed.

So I sympathise with Nick because we’ve been in exactly the same position and launched off on the advice of ‘well-informed’ and “knowledgeable’ locals and also ended up with recreations of the Somme. Maybe it’s symptomatic of us and knowledge guys, just like a mechanic always drives the crappiest old car, or the talented joiner you know hasn’t had a handle on his loo door for coming on five years (yes, you know which son-in-law you are!!), that we struggle to apply what we know professionally when we step through the gate of home sweet home…?

So in regard to the five lessons learned functions of collect, analyse, decide, implement and verify, it sound much like Nick has skipped what is probably the most vital function, that of Analyse. More often than not in lessons work, the raw OIL is not as it seems and when subject to a lens of rigorous analysis, the issue and the actual lesson are often totally different from that which you might expect at face value from the original OIL.

It is so very tempting, especially in metrics-fixated environments, to seize the apparent low hanging fruit and find that one very quickly goes from a mess to a really mess and all of a sudden you are reacting to your solution, somewhere in which is buried the original core issue. What’s that I hear from the cheap seats? Sounds like ‘COIN”? Absolutely!!! Those five same functions apply just as much in COIN, although we’d prefer to use Irregular Warfare when in polite company, as they do in lessons learned:

Collect as much information as you can about your problem.

Analyse it, ignoring you preconceptions and gut instincts; examine it from every angle, and develop some courses of action.

Decide which course of action you are going to implement – it’s OK to opt for none and go back to do more collection and analysis.

Implement your course of action, all the time ensuring that situation hasn’t changed around you, reverting you to dead-horse-flogging mode.

Verify that your solution has addressed the original issue AND that it hasn’t created a whole bunch more.

In the story that Nick tells, he does not provide much information regarding his neighbours reliability as an information source but it is probably a safe assumption that there was no malice involved. Taking a punt, it may have been that the map provided indicated the intended path of the drains until someone remembered the village story about a German bomb landing in that corner of the field and not making the right sort of bomb post-impact noises. Discretion being the better part of valour, the drain took the longer road – just in case – but a drain’s a drain and why bother the council with any explanation of why the permitted path wasn’t followed. Whose to know? Well, for starters, the guy who is out “…an extra day and half of digger hire and labour rates, 10 dead trees, and a garden that looks like the Somme at the height of World War One…”

This would be something that we would see time and time again in the ABCA Armies Coalition Lessons Analysis Workshops (CLAWs): We just can’t, well, shouldn’t anyway, take presented information at face value be it raw OIL or a map of the drains without asking some critical questions about it…and being prepared for some answers that might be both unexpected and unpalatable…

Six Bad Meeting Habits and How to Change Them


Through LinkedIn I am subscribed to a bunch of forums and other groups, one of which is the Best Practice Transfer Group. Normally a digest pops up in my inbox, I have a quick scan and if nothing really really grabs me it goes straight in the bin…this morning, as the work intranet is a little slow, I took a bit more time and those that this item for Connor Jordan’s Competitive Solutions was pretty apt and relates to something that bugs us all…meetings…there are some good idea here that might, just might, make life a little easier whether its for the PTA, darts club or megacorp conspiring the take over the world (don’t both – I have the insider running on world takeovers and Doc Karma is going to do it Tuesday the week after next)…

1) Poor Attendance / Late Arrivals – Nothing screams “waste of time” more than the actions of your supposed participants.  When people habitually arrive late (or not at all) then you should take this as a sign that your meeting isn’t of much value to those who should be attending.  A person’s actions (not their excuses) show their priorities.  If you often have empty seats, this indicates misalignment of priorities between you and your co-workers.   Talk with the prospective participants about the importance (or lack thereof) to determine if the meeting is even necessary.

Another way of looking at this is that if people are avoiding your meeting or playing down its importance or relevance, then you are possibly on to something…nothing shirks meetings more than the status quo’s urge for survival.

2) Straying from the Point – It’s easy to get into a lengthy discussion about a topic that somehow just “pops up” during the meeting.  If that topic is unrelated to the meeting’s purpose, then table it and have that topic discussed outside the meeting.  Two tools can help you keep your meetings on track.  First, never ever hold a meeting without a predefined agenda outlining the expected outcomes.  Second, use a parking lot list.  Any off-topic discussion can be halted, placed on the parking lot list and then dealt with once the scheduled meeting concludes.

An agenda is a must as is a clearly stated expectation that everyone will come to the meeting not just having read the agenda (and not just in the lift on the way up) but also having actually prepared for the items listed on it – silly, I know! The parking lot list is a good idea and you might want to take it another step further and see what items regularly get parked 0 are they ongoing red herrings or actually things you might want to be having a look at? We shouldn’t forget though that we need to be flexible in such things and occasionally, that off-topic issue will actually be a key issue that you need to bring to the fore and address.

3) Allowing Annoying Distractions – Candy, chewing gum, snacks and drinks are bad enough.  You should also eliminate productivity-busting interruptions.  Make, and enforce, rules about using laptops, cell phones, and blackberries.  If the temptation is too great for some participants, then place a 5-gallon bucket in the corner of the room.  Toss all such annoyances in it and close the lid.  Assign a technology gatekeeper to handle and screen any interruptions.  If there’s a real emergency, then the technology gatekeeper can attend the call and involve the appropriate person, instead of interrupting the entire team.

Anyone who really really needs to be contactable should be on to it enough to always have a back up contact plan…it’s interesting watching the dynamics hosting meetings in locations where cells etc are not allowed at all, especially over a period of time, when you see the dawning realisation that the sky actually won’t fall in if someone is offline for a while. Normally those that stress the most are simply micromanagers that never learned to trust and delegate.

4) Back-to-Back-to-Back Meetings – Ever get caught on a Meetings Treadmill?  Get off it!  Don’t accept or participate in multiple, back-to-back meetings.  You have to give yourself break in between meetings and schedule time for yourself to get your own work accomplished.

Yeah….maybe…equally, a day dedicated to (well-structured and -conducted) meetings is a great way of getting a bunch of work down (one assumes that you’re not going to meeting that aren’t actually anything to do with your job?) by allowing one ‘disrupted’ day as an enabler for more days of ‘undisrupted’ application.

5) Conversation Domination – Everyone has a different style when it comes to conversation and interaction in a group setting.  Most teams have at least one person who gets on a roll and takes over the conversation.  Be sure to include every participant in each agenda item discussion.  Make an effort to keep the meeting flowing, but allow your soft-spoken coworkers an opportunity to contribute as well.

Legal in most countries, dart guns are useful meeting tools….

6) Status Quo – So, your weekly meeting is terrible. However, you’ve begrudgingly resigned yourself into believing that “that’s the way it is.”  Nonsense!  Invite an Outside Facilitator to audit and adjust how you hold your meetings.  There’s no excuse for accepting failure in your meetings.  It’s too costly and time consuming not to take action and make some changes.

…and ask yourself if you are a meeting inflictor – do you call meetings because it makes you feel good about yourself or to drag everyone else’s productivity down to your level while looking like an achiever yourself…yes, everybody else probably does hate you but mindless meetings aren’t going to help that…

…and two more from me…

7) Take minutes. Useful minutes that will mean something to someone else when  you get moved on, minutes that actually record not just the fact of decisions and actions but the ‘why’ of them as well. If you don’t make any effort to enshrine the ‘why’ you can not cry or bleat when nothing ever seems to change and you feel like Bill Murray’s shorts in Groundhog Day….

8) Think outside the square. Consider whether an anomaly in the space-time continuum is affecting the conduct of your meetings…let me now handover to Dean from TWShiloh to discuss this point further in (drum roll) Homeland Disfunction – The true and astounding adventures of Peter Wesley part 2…enjoy…I did!

Edit: I think I am already committed 25 July (there are those that think I should be committed on a more permanent basis) but the webinar on scorecards might be interesting…I’m not a big scorecard fan as they alwasy seem to devolve into some arcane spreadsheet hell but am always interested in other people’s takes on how they might be done better…


My Little Life: Idiocy

My Little Life: Idiocy.

Mama M has a very angry (and quite rightly so!!) post on the idiocy of those who persist in driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI).

Down here, it’s more commonly known as Drunk In Charge, or DIC and there is similarly self-righteousness being displayed by the dope-smoking community at the apparent invasion of their rights as NZ Police step up their campaign against those that drive under the influence of drugs other than alcohol.

Apparently we don’t actually have specific legislation that makes being in charge of a firearm while under the influence a specific offence but maybe if we did it might help some people join the dots between being under the influence for whatever cause or reason and being in charge of a lethal weapon.

Living rurally as we do, taking DIC/DUI seriously can be a bit of a social damper as there’s not really the option of catching a taxi and picking up the car in the morning if we go out and have a couple too many – we limit ourselves to one or none drinks if we are going to drive with none generally being the preferred option – and have realised that there is something to be said for having teenagers living at home (once they have attained a full drivers license). So we rarely go out and drink unless we have accommodation in location – and that doesn’t mean that instead we just have big benders at home either – not just from some concept of social responsibility but because we have both seen the human cost of those who flaunt common sense and decide that it does not apply to them. Personally, I have no problem with those who drive under the influence and only take themselves out  – I’m a big advocate of preemptive natural selection – but those is so rarely the case and it is the other occupants of the vehicles, other road users and pedestrians who so often pay the price for one driver’s blatant selfishness and irresponsibility…

The difference between best practice and lessons learned

(c) nickmilton.com 2012

The title of this item caught my eye in my daily Gist digest the other day. I always find Nick Milton’s ideas stimulating although I don’t  have nearly as much time as I’d like to dedicate a decent amount of time to them…It’s only a short item so I’ll replicate it here…

Someone last week asked me, what’s the difference between Best Practice, and Lessons Learned.

Now I know that some KM pundits don’t like the term “Best Practice” as it can often be used defensively, but I think that there is nothing wrong with the term itself, and if used well, Best Practice can be a very useful concept within a company. So let’s dodge the issue of whether Best Practice is a useful concept, and instead discuss it’s relationship to lessons learned.

My reply to the questioner was that Best Practice is the amalgamation of many lessons learned.

If we believe that learning must lead to action, that lessons are the identified improvements in practice, and that the actions associated with lessons are generally practice improvements, then it makes sense that as more and more lessons are accumulated, so practices become better and better. A practice that represents the accumulation of all lessons is the best practice available at the time.

See the diagram (though really instead of a steadily increasing arrow, it should go up in small incremental steps, but that’s beyond my drawing ability).

Inherent in Nick’s model is the assumption that all lessons are validated prior to implementation, and that somewhere between the implementation of a lesson and its absorption into the body of knowledge know as best practice, there is a further validatory and authoritative step that confirms that the lesson has been fully implemented AND has had the desired effect…

I’m pretty sure that Nick gets this but I just wanted to labour the point because people are dumb and as John Wayne once said “Crooked people are made the same way as crooked rivers – they both follow the path of least resistance” If you just apply lessons at face value, if you do not have an active programme to ensure that your best practice remains current, practical and relevant, then that big yellow arrow might actually start heading south.

In every organisation and process there is also a point, and we are still working on how best to define and identify it, where more established best practice starts to fade away, that point where the reason why starts to grey out…and we forget why we do some procedures that might have been perceived as enduring and drift off that path of truth and light…may be life is really just an endless cycle of Groundhog Days?

Why is it so hard to deliver lasting change?

 

Lessons seem to fall into the big gap in the middle - obvious design flaw!

This article bounced in via one of my connections on LinkedIn or Facebook…it’s interesting but on the light side especially it’s parting shot whimper “…In summary, change at all levels is tough and many initiatives fail to deliver – that’s human nature. But, never give-up trying…” I really hate these “…oh, well, it’s just human nature…” pseudo-arguments. They essentially just say “…it’s all too hard…” and, in the lessons world, that’s just not true.

The problem is that people and organisations see lessons learned as some sort of blend between a universal panacea for all that ails them and good old-fashioned magic (except that, of course, magic generally works whereas lessons learned…). Lessons learned or L2 as it is becoming known in ‘in’ circles is not difficult, not that hard and certainly not magic…like most trades, skills and professions, there is a fundamental need for practitioners to have some idea of what the hell they are meant to be doing.

The simple fact is that the perception that enduring lessons are so difficult to implement is because most people and organisations tend to focus on the solution and not the reason why behind it. So, after some time, normally when those with first-hand knowledge and experience of the original issue and the applied solution move on, we are left with an implemented solution that slowly loses context as the individual and corporate memories of reasons why behind it fade into insignificance. What we are left with then is either dogma where that solution continues to be implemented without any real knowledge of the why, or satisfaction of the urge to change especially if the solution is considered onerous or too hard.

Even more important than the actual implemented solution we must keep alive the reasons why the solution was implemented in the first place – this allows use to evolve if and, when necessary, as circumstances and environments change.

While I was drafting this post this morning, the first Knoco newsletter for 2012 dropped into my inbox. It has some good pointers, even though it is technically about knowledge management than lessons learned (like there’s a difference?) (text in italics in from the original Knoco article, the rest is my thoughts):

How to build a KM strategy

There is no such thing as an “off the peg”, “one size fits all” knowledge management strategy.  Every organization needs to create their own knowledge management strategy, which fits their own context and their own business needs.  Here is how to do it (for more detail, order the strategy guide)

Start with the Business Drivers

Looking broader than a mere business perspective, driven by bottom lines, etc, look at what your organisation or agency is actually meant to do and why. There’s that word again ‘why’ – the good old ‘in order to’ of the mission statement…if you’re deviating from your chosen path of truth, light and purpose, you need to identify why – and whether that is both a good thing and a sanctioned thing: the two do not always go hand in hand.

Identify the knowledge that is crucial to delivering business strategy

Work out where that knowledge lies

It is the easiest thing in today’s world to simply drown in too much information: the crux of any system has to be getting the right information to the right people at the right time and knowing that they know how to apply it – again the rationale of all the ‘rights’; otherwise, really, what’s the point?
Knowledge management, at its simplest, consists of building a system to transfer strategic knowledge from the people who have it, to the people who need it, in an effective, efficient and routine manner.
So once you have identified the strategic knowledge, you then need to map out where it lies, and where it needs to be transferred.
Is the knowledge centralized, in a small number of company experts?  Is it dispersed among a community of experienced practitioners?  Is it created as best practices and lessons from projects, living in the heads of the project managers?

If it’s penny-packeted away, do you need to kick in some doors? Does the organisation still have bastions of ‘need to know’ resisting ‘need to share’? Do they even know that there is external interest in what THEY do and produce?

Understand the audience

It’s absolutely crucial to understand the users of the knowledge; how many there are, and the degree of context and knowledge they have already, then knowledge needs, their working styles and habits.  The knowledge demographics of the organization are important (see section below), and knowledge supply needs to be compatible with working style. A mobile workforce, for example, needs to be able to access the knowledge of their peers through smart phones or other mobile devices, while a office based workforce can use desktop computers.

Simply, despite our natural inclinations to revert back to this, there is no easy simple cookie-cutter solution to much except, of course, cutting cookies.

Choose an effective transfer approach

The two main strategic approaches for knowledge management are Connection and Collection, otherwise known as personalisation and codification.  Although any knowledge management strategy will need a combination of these two, one might receive more focused than the other.

A Collection approach, where knowledge is collected and codified and made available as documents, is effective where the knowledge is relatively straightforward, and needs to be transferred to a large number of people, for example in a company with a large turnover of staff, or a company wishing to transfer product knowledge to a large sales force.

A connection approach, where knowledge is transferred through communities of practice and social networks, is suitable for complex contextual knowledge shared between communities of experienced practitioners.

When you get down to it, you need to be able to apply and actually apply a blend of both what are referred to as collection and connexion approaches (when did connection lose the ‘ct’???????). Things won’t solve all things and neither will talk – together they may.

Drive Pull before driving Push

Many of the knowledge management strategies we asked to review, talk about “creating a culture of knowledge sharing”; in other words, they seek to promote publishing and “push” of knowledge around the organization.

This is the wrong place to start.  There is no point in creating a culture of sharing, if you have no culture of re-use. “Pull” is a far more powerful driver for Knowledge Management than Push, and we would always recommend creating a culture of knowledge seeking before creating a culture of knowledge sharing.

Create the demand for knowledge, and the supply will follow.  Create a culture of asking, and the culture of sharing will follow.

While I don’t necessarily agree that ‘ a culture of knowledge sharing’ automatically leads to a ‘push’ culture, I do agree that ‘pull’ is the most effective way to go. While staff must pull information to themselves, some knowledge sharing culture is necessary for there to be anything to pull in the first place…Create just a ‘culture of asking‘ and all that may happen is that people wull turn away when you approach the water cooler…

Which all comes back to the original question “Why is it so hard to deliver lasting change?” It is hard because current L2 practitioners focus tend to too much on the lessons for its own sake; worry less about ensuring that it is current, relevant and practical for its targeted audience; and pretty much totally forget the key rationale for the change, the reason why – that’s not doctrine, that’s dogma….

Straining the info flow…

Here’s a tool that might be worth a look, a widget called Gist which sounds like it be one way to start getting on top of all those contacts on all those different networks…I only read the promo stuff on the link and a couple of comments on LinkedIn and obviously I won’t be able to download the beta til I get home: not only do I not have a laptop here but the wireless coverage is dodgy as to say the least though rumour has it that the McDs by the main gate has free wifi…

CLAW continues to go well and I must say what a top job our hosts have done setting it all up from a standing start (all the other nations have reps like me who have already participated in at least two of the three previous CLAWs) in such a top location (less the dodgy wifi coverage which is not really their fault)…our part of the report is well progressed so once I do some tuning to my section tomorrow morning, I will hopefully be able to slip in some time with the camera in the technology museum here…

Another social tonight but less formal than Monday – we’re all off to experience a genuine English pub and a meal as part of the broader ABCA experience…

I will have to do some organising in my room tonight as I have misplaced the paper I acquired the other day which was scathing about the Soviet approach to COIN and which, from my initial scan, I thought totally missed the point re the endurance characteristic of successful COIN…