Knowledge is a gift

“The theory of knowledge teaches us that a statement, if it conveys knowledge, predicts future outcome, with risk of being wrong, and that it fits without failure observations of the past.” – W. Edwards Deming

A system includes an aim and a method for accomplishing that aim, and this is the gift that true leadership brings.

In a healthy organization, people work together to come up with aims and methods for accomplishing those aims. It becomes a sort of knowledge factory, not only bringing in new knowledge from outside, but innovating new knowledge from within via experimentation. This works best when the environment is free from fear, because people in fear are afraid to make mistakes, and mistakes are key to learning and developing new knowledge.

One antipattern to watch out for is the exhortation. Exhortations sometimes include an aim, but no method for accomplishing it. It’s as if the person doing the exhorting expects a miracle to occur.

Another antipattern is micromanagement, where knowledge is hoarded by management and a culture of fear results.

2 thoughts on “Knowledge is a gift

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