Self-knowledge and knowledge management applications podcast

Self-Knowledge plays an important role in making decisions and is instrumental in deciphering fact from false information: it is an inward tool, unique and changeable.

Inward tools are essential in interpreting and processing information to create understanding and helping to determine illogical knowledge, whilst also fluctuating with the multifaceted and ever-changing awareness of the self that means the results of Self-Knowledge vary between individuals. In her book Self-Knowledge and Knowledge Management Applications, author Beverly Weed-Schertzer highlights and emphasizes the vital role of the human element in Knowledge Management, from which Self-Knowledge forms and functions.

Join host Daniel Ridge and guest Beverly Weed-Schertzer as they discuss the role of self-knowledge in an organization and how it fits into the larger context of knowledge management.

Speaker profile(s)

Beverly Weed-Schertzer is a technology and business strategist, author, and founder of edifyIT, LCC. Beverly has extensive background in information technology, business, and technology business governance, and her work has helped organisations successfully increase value in service delivery and improve customer relations.

Other titles Beverly has written are Delivering ITSM For Business Maturity, A Practical Framework and (IL)Logical Knowledge Management, A Guide to Knowledge Management in the 21st Century.

Beverly is a leader in various industries with IT, strategy and governance experience; driving change to improve cross functional performance across an organisation.  She has a knack to assess for progress and improvement, and bring teams together to work collaboratively to manage change. A people person by nature, results oriented through leading by example. Committed to business strategies that produces customer centric and mission critical solutions.

Beverly is a compassionate, yet assertive leader/educator who has helped clients build ITSM and knowledge strategies.

In this episode:

  • What is the role of self-knowledge in knowledge management?
  • How do we separate logical from illogical knowledge?
  • How do organisations incorporate self-knowledge into formal knowledge management practices?
  • What is the relationship between knowledge, self-knowledge and technology?
  • How can individuals control and manage their own knowledge?

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Self-knowledge and knowledge management applications

Daniel Ridge (DR): Knowledge management is often defined as the process of identifying, organising, storing, and disseminating information within an organisation. But what about the self-knowledge that each of us bring to that organisation? Hi, my name is Daniel Ridge and to discuss this I'm joined by author Beverly Weed-Schertzer, Beverly is the author of several books published by Emerald Publishing, including delivering ITSM for Business Maturit: A Practical Framework, and (Il)logical Knowledge Management: A Guide to Knowledge Management in the 21st century.

Today, we're delving into her most recent book, which will be available February 17, 2023.

Beverly Weed-Schertzer (BWS): My name is Beverly Wade Schertzer. I'm the author of Self-Knowledge and Knowledge Management Applications, Global Program Manager at a global technology company, and also education provider for ITSM and knowledge management.

DR: I began my conversation with Beverly by asking her to discuss the differences between knowledge and self-knowledge.

BWS: Knowledge is like your house, right? Let's break it down. So, what's on the outside of the house is public knowledge, right? People go by they can see it, it's fully exposed, what's inside my house, I would consider proprietary, right? So, it'd be proprietary to an organisation. It could be nonprofit, it could be a group of people, whatever, it's just proprietary knowledge. And that knowledge is only shared with the people I invite inside my home. And then I look at the closet, right, my closet, I look at self-knowledge, it's personal. No one's coming in and out of your closet, it's for you only. And that's the sole purpose of self-knowledge is to serve you, much like your closet inside your home. So, I'd like to set that up. So, when we look at knowledge, we can sort of, you know, relate to it. In that way, we break it down very simply in those three levels.

DR: Well, you discuss in your book, how knowledge has become a commodity, since some around the 1980s. And it's prevalent today in the technological world. So in what ways is knowledge a commodity? And how does that work?

BWS: It's a challenge in terms of how it works. But so every business has, you know, what, we have business assets, they're tangible, by nature, they're tracked, they depreciate from a financial aspect. But with knowledge, you don't have that same structure around it, right? It's, it's intangible by nature, it's only value is set by the business, or a group of people or a certain individual. But typically, the value of any knowledge is really based and set by the people using it. There is a specific amount of business knowledge that the business owns, right, even though it's yours. You own it, doing your job, your contributions, whether you're an employee of a business, or your partner of a business, or consultant, the work you do for that business, and that knowledge that is acquired and is really owned by the business. So that's the commodity piece right there. And we're at a point now where businesses capture that they document it, and they turn it into some sort of level of digital media that's accessible for people who could use it. So that's what I mean by that.

DR: Well, I was interested by the difference between data and knowledge. And data seems to be part of the root of some knowledge. So do you think you could elaborate on that?

BWS: Sure. So data is really more information. All right. So data is something that is entered into a system, right, technology. So, I'm where this data is entered. It can be manually entered and it’s captured from another system. There's a lot of feeds, right, that can go into the system. So, there's a fine line between information management and knowledge management. So, data is raw, right? Data has no context. It's just a bunch of information that's inputted into a system. And it gets fed and flows through that system, and ends up routing to people that need it. No context whatsoever. Now, knowledge has context to it, totally different. It'll give you the context in terms of where it came from, how it's used, its purpose, the audience. It's an elevated level of information, which we you know, in ITSM and ITIL. In those days, they refer to it as wisdom, right knowledge is your wisdom.

DR: I've been with companies that you know, you have turnover within a company so you're losing knowledge and knowledge transfer between people. Yes, I would think that that would be problematic in a lot of ways for a company.

BWS: It is problematic. I guess the misnomer here is that people think it's a problem that’s solved. And it's not. It's even more challenging because a person leaving the company, it's up to them how much they're going to leave behind, unless a business is very specific about your role. This is what we want you to leave behind, you know what I mean, and usually on the last two weeks or whatever notice there that you have, there is that exchange of between manager and employee what's expected. But there's a lot of emotions involved in that. So, it depends if people are leaving on good terms, and there's no emotions, everything works well. But when you have this scenario, where there's, you know, it's not so clean like that, you know, there's emotions around it, and businesses shouldn't rely on that, I'll be honest with you, you know, doing this for as long as I'm doing it, if businesses are really just relying on that, then they're falling short part of their onboarding process, regardless of the circumstances of an employee leaving a company, they should have a very specific criteria of what knowledge, intellectual capital that that employee served for that company.

DR: So, is that what you do with companies? You go in and you set up these frameworks?

BWS: I used to? Yes. What I did was I built a business model around this, because the whole time, like when IT Service Management hit, you know, the popularity road, there was this divide, right? They say, okay, I technology has to partner with the business, they have to serve the business. And as someone who's implementing and setting this up, I'm like, okay, but you're still leaving that line in the sand. Right? So technology, before we had service management, was managed by technical people, you know, having technical people manage a part of the business was expensive, costly, decided dissatisfied customers, there was no customer service with that. So that's where IT Service Management came in. So then then they just picked it up with, okay, but we're still going to keep technology over here. You know what I mean? So there was this like invisible line in the sand, even with the ITSM practices, and that are very frustrating, because it's like, people are still not conforming people are still not getting on board with this. And you know, after doing studies and research, and you know, looking at this, it was because there was still that invisible line. So, I built a business model. And the business model actually incorporates what I talk about ITSM. It doesn't separate technology as the business. How technology has evolved, has now just made, you know, technology's the core of any business, right? Could you think of even opening a business today without technology? Probably not. Right.

DR: And when you start a new job, a lot of your onboarding is learning the technology that the company uses, where you can find information, how you're going to be communicating and working with your colleagues. All of that is based in technology, isn't it?

BSW: That's right. That's absolutely spot on. So, these knowledge frameworks now are the core of any business, right? And the problems that are associated with that is overload. Right? Because businesses still rely on the people individually. Everyone has their own opinion, what may be valuable to me may not be valuable to you. So, we're now at a crossroad. A huge learning curve overall, globally, right? Not just one specific business, just a huge learning curve, that we have to rely now on our own knowledge on how we interpret it, how we share it, what are the guiding principles? How do we build a culture of knowledge, right? Rather than just push it in one way? Because we're not short of knowledge today, but we are challenged with how we manage it.

DR: Yeah, exactly. Well, in your last book, you write about separating, illogical from logical knowledge. Can you explain this a little bit for us?

BWS: Sure. So with the knowledge environment, you have a major knowledge process, right? That's your knowledge management process. And it focuses on the content, the material that we use. So logical knowledge is knowledge that represents a process that validates the source of where this content came up from. So like how you made up the mountain of knowledge, how you manufactured it yourself, and how you packaged it, it should have a sole purpose, it should have a direct audience linked to it. Illogical knowledge has negative impacts. So this type of knowledge is viewed as if you were to use it. I shared it with you, Daniel, and you use it in the business it would have a negative impact somehow to the business. Because it was unreliable. It wasn't validated. It wasn't manufactured to the process. It wasn't looked at in that way. Mistakes could be made or it was used for the wrong purpose or may have been shared with the wrong people. Right. So it didn't have enough context. It wasn't validated to its source.

DR: Well, jumping into your current book that's been published this month. You focus on self knowledge in the context of knowledge management, you know, so this is the closet, right? That's what your, your analogy was? Could you elaborate on your interest in self-knowledge and what this actually means in the context of knowledge management?

BWS: Absolutely. So, to me self-knowledge, it's a very vast area, right. And it has many different angles. But from a personal point of view, and in a nutshell, it's your personal library, no one else has access to it, right? Unless you share it. And even if you were to share it, no one can ever replicate you, we could both go sit in a classroom, and we can take a training course. And then you and I are gonna walk away with two different interpretations of that training course. We may be instructed on how to use it. But our lens, which is our self-knowledge, right, we see everything through our own lens, we have an intuitive guidance, how aware we are that varies from individual to individual.

We use it as a human filter, I have the old saying, when you look at knowledge, you take what resonates and you throw the rest out. I've been saying that forever. And but today, I have to say that has much more meaning than ever, because there's so much information, there's so much knowledge out there. So we have to rely on our self-knowledge to be able to take what resonates. So it's really as a filter. And then you can take that and then pass that knowledge on within the company. And awareness also, right? So, it starts with your own level of awareness of how tapped into your own self-knowledge you are what seems a little bit related to talent and experience because they're such highly subjective and individual things, aren't they? Yeah. So like, common knowledge is information and facts, right? So self-knowledge is, is you're in a library, so it's still can be considered in the area of the same type of knowledge. But the way it's packaged, the way it's used, will be different. Right? So that's, it's always on the execution. So, it is our own personal library to help us navigate through all the other external knowledge that's out there.

DR: Well, coming back to technology, you know, as we were saying, you know, technology is a huge part of what we do an almost any job. And so what is the relationship between knowledge, self knowledge and technology?

BWS: Great question. So, alright, so think of knowledge as a collection, right? So it's, it's the primary focus. In today's world of business, businesses focus primarily on the technology. So technology is probably priority number one, right? And then process has bumped down to number two. Okay, and then what we feed into the process has pumped down to number three, it's totally backwards. So technology has too much attention. And it has too much power. And I don't like the word power, but it's the only way to describe it. The relationship between self-knowledge, knowledge management, and technology is technologies. Number three.Number one is the individual right? Because even without, you know, even without human brain power, you can't have artificial intelligence. But everybody so hung up on their artificial intelligence, and how it guides machine learning, which is great tools to have. I'm totally advocating that. But it's not number one, right? It's number three. So, we need more awareness of our own self-knowledge. And that's number one. That's the inner library, people code AI, right? We build it, we program it, we tell the technology how to work for us. Right? So, knowledge management is the process. So, we need to have a good alignment strategy between individuals. And number two, right on the process. And then once you have that built and designed and that strategy, then you bring in your technology and say, okay, this is the type of technology I need. This is how I need it programmed. These are the tools and system and integration, the technical blueprint of what I need. Does that make sense?

DR: It does, it does. I often find that for me, you know, or maybe not so often, but it does happen or technology seems to get in the way. You know, if a system goes down, you don't know how to use something. You're trying to work with your colleagues and then something just doesn't work. It becomes almost an impediment. This is where you have people who have the self-knowledge and the experience that come from different backgrounds that can kind of help you get through that, right.

BWS: So, you hit it spot on. And I cover this in the book, technology's role in knowledge management is to support people in their knowledge. Right? So people decide the strategy, they decide the blueprint, but in business and in reality, it's the other way around. And this is what is challenging us and wasting time incurring extra cost. But even when you bring that to the forefront, and to put the spotlight on it, businesses are like, no, we just want it done. Right. So this is how it's going to be done. I was told that this is the Cadillac of systems and we had to give you an example there's a there's a health care system I won't name, it frustrates me. And they have over 75% of the health care market in the United States. And this one company has now totally designed and is actually how not, I don't use the word mandate, but they've designed a strategy that they think healthcare professionals should use, and they're just following along and doing it. And there's problems with that. Because if you have your customers coming in and telling you this is not working, I didn't get this, or let's say someone's Hipaa was violated, you know, it's because there's an issue, you need to look at that. And that's why I say we're on the learning curve, right? I don't believe in master manipulation and all that stuff. And that's why another motivator for me to write that we are on a learning curve, we need to share what we have to share. But at the end of the day, knowledge that you're sharing, and that you're using should be appreciated by the people who are using it. Right now we're in a state of flux, because we have mounds of knowledge, mounds of knowledge. And let's think about that for a second. How much knowledge do you really use in a day? Yeah. And is it applicable to what I'm doing? Exactly. It's drowning us, we're never going to use all that knowledge. So, let's focus on what's important. Let's focus on what we need. Let's get back to strategising individual self-knowledge, number two, knowledge management, the process, and then let's bring technology in and let it really do its job. So we can remove those impediments. So we can, you know, minimize those issues and be more productive again, and not get so hung up on the aspect of technology and how it's working.

DR: Well, you write about the knowledge tenants, is this what we've been talking about?

BWS: So, the knowledge tenants or types of knowledge, so in the industry, for the last 20 years or so, or even probably longer, don't quote me on that. But there's two types of knowledge explicit and tacit. And in the book, I write and introduce a third tenant, which is the self-knowledge branch. Okay. You want me to elaborate on those?

DR: I would, yeah, that'd be interesting.

BWS: Sure. So tacit knowledge is intangible, and it's stored in people. It's the going back to the house reference, it's what's inside your house, the explicit knowledge, that's knowledge that's easily repeated, documented, it's usually found in documents, it's more public type of knowledge, you can look at that as the outside of the house. And then the third tenant, self-knowledge is your inner library, that's the piece that represents the closet. And in business, it represents the human element, the human brain power extends to individuals, it focuses on people's role and knowledge management and into the business. Yeah, well, I keep coming back to the individual, you know, in this because, you know, we're focused on self-knowledge, and then my individual role within my company, and the knowledge that I have. So, I'm wondering how can individuals control and manage their relationship to knowledge within a company? So, it starts with awareness, right? So people are capable of two types of knowledge, rational, intuitive, that the other two tenants are not capable of providing? So for us personally, question everything. Think about how many times a day you're being asked for information, or you're looking for information, how much time you're spending on it, right? So we need to heighten our awareness of ourselves first. And in the book has suggestions on how we can do that. It's a very personal effort, right? We can't tell someone how to become aware. They're the only ones in their brain so we can suggest things we can share what's worked for us, it doesn't have to be this whole big psychology, or, you know, psychiatric intake, because that's not what I'm implying at all. It's just awareness of our everyday movements, or every day, what we're doing at work. So for like, even one week, just track everything you do you learn a lot from that, even for a day you'll learn, right? How you're responding what you're looking for. When you raise your awareness on your own self-knowledge, then the answers come to you. Okay, oh, you know, I didn't know this before. When I engage with so and so and department B, right? We go through this dialogue. This is like the seventh time in three weeks. So what can we do to minimise the replication of this discussion? And then you'll find the answers. But first, you have to be aware that you've actually had that conversation seven times in three weeks, right? Well, I think it comes back to being self-aware of your use of technology, how you work with other colleagues, where to get knowledge within a company, you know, who are the resources that you can go to that know the things that you need to know. I think that's all part of the same picture of being self-aware within self-knowledge. Yes, yes. And it's a matter of knowing where to go to get it. And then just to take it a step further in that storage area, that knowledge environment needs to have ownership. Right. So some companies have, you know, an open forum, it's public, you know, they expect everyone to go in there write their own articles, some companies have, you know, more controlled and monitored and manage. I'm an advocate of the latter, I think that we should never stifle anyone for contributing knowledge. But there should always be a bridge to get it into the environment before it's shared, right? It needs to be validated, it needs to be checked, the owner of that knowledge should be able to be consulted with and there's a set of responsibilities that go with you owning knowledge, right people asking you questions, and you making yourself available and so forth to answer those questions and to help other people with it. Right?

DR: Well, something that you wrote in the book that really struck me that I wrote down, you write that knowledge hasn't changed over time, but how knowledge has evolved over the years has changed significantly. Knowledge today is like a phenomenon. So what do you mean by that? Can you elaborate a little bit?

BWS: Yeah, so knowledge has a, it is a phenomenon. If you look, it's everywhere. It's not just in business anymore, right? You go to the doctor, you go to the dentist, I mean, even Home Depot now has asked me seven new questions just for me to buy a gallon of paint, right? So that's what I mean by that. It's become a big presence in everyday life. So it's in our personal lives, it's in our professional lives. So we as individuals need to get a handle on that a little bit better, because it could feel like you're constantly dealing with information. 24/7. And it shouldn't have to be that way.

DR: Well, I did a really interesting podcast on transgenerational technology. We were talking about how different people in different generations, you know, who weren't raised with technology, I mean, you think about how much you use your, your banking, for example, I do all my banking on my phone. But if you're, you know, of a certain age, that could be difficult or even ordering food from a restaurant off your phone. You know, that's the type of knowledge that it's not intuitive for people who weren't raised with it. So they don't have access to it, and it becomes alien and foreign, and then it excludes them.

BWS: That's right. It does. And, you know, people will say, well, there's an age gap there, you know, there's generational gap between learning and how we learn, right? So, and there's truth to that. So, if you're, you're born into the 21st century, then this is normal part of your everyday life. But even if you're born into it, there's a stress factor. But we do have tools. And I do think that through education and sharing, we can get better about how we manage it on a day to day basis. Like I said, it's a commodity for businesses now. And you know, there's cost factors involved. People don't think so because it's intangible. But think of the time, think of the salary level of an engineer, let's say that gets bogged down with repeating and sharing the same piece of information seven different times to seven different people. Right. So, we've gotten better at that. But I still think we're learning to get back to better efficiencies, having more time in our day, separating personal from business and understanding that we are still in control of the knowledge that we have. Right? And we manage it.

DR: Yeah, well, going back to I mean, maybe this ties into the illogical and logical knowledge. But you know, it's important that knowledge stays current, but with so much information and data coming at us and being gathered and generated, you know, I mean, I get reports all the time. And do I really look into the report? You know, I mean, all this information, how useful is it? So how does knowledge management deal with so much information come coming at us? And how does, how does it stay current?

BSW: So it stays current by that, by that filter, that manufacturing process that I mentioned earlier. It stays current by that piece being put in between a knowledge contributor owner into the knowledge environment. So that's why I said I'm more of an advocate for the knowledge environment that's monitored, managed and controlled a little bit. Because you do validate sources. So it automatically removes the garbage, right? So, there is a such thing as knowledge waste, people like to say, oh, there's no such thing as knowledge waste. Every piece of information has a purpose. I don't believe I really agree. I mean, yeah, we always learn by something, right? But there is such thing as knowledge waste. And I encourage businesses to look at their own volumes of knowledge in their knowledge environment, is every piece of article that's out there validated, does it have an owner? Was it manufactured was it filtered? And that's how you keep occurring it you can simplify this, but the easy thing to do is just throw it out there and hope it sticks and that's what we're doing with just throwing it out there and hoping it sticks. Because the old knowledge management ways didn't need to have that level of management like control around it didn't need that manufacturing piece, it really didn't back in the day because you had less systems to capture it, filter it, and then push it out. But now that's changed. We have a multifaceted, multi layered cloud environment. There's, there's this, it's very layered now. So, you do need that manufacturing piece to keep it current. Well, for listeners who are thinking about how organisation manages knowledge and how these individuals use knowledge, what advice do you have for them to use knowledge management skills as effectively as possible? Um, I would say it starts with you, right? It starts with you and your contribution to an organisation, your job, you know, volunteer group, it always starts with you. So, the biggest hurdle to deal with is with knowledge flowing so fast, the resistance to jump in there and just start pedaling faster. Be the person that slows it down, be the person that asks questions, to validate anything that you read, if it doesn't resonate, then ask the questions. Why should it resonate, be part of building that culture, of having valuable knowledge? Right? It's, it's an ongoing process, it's not going to be a switch that gets turned on and says, oh, this is it. And we've done it, we've mastered knowledge management, knowledge management is an area that can't be mastered. It's, it's an evolution, it's an ongoing, it's multifaceted, it has changed, but we don't have to go at that pace. Right? We should focus on quality over quantity when it comes to knowledge management. And it seems that self-knowledge is really at the core of it. Self-knowledge is at the core, you know, use your own knowledge to validate all material and content, use yourself knowledge, like a filter, knowledge should never be taken verbatim, the more mature knowledge is, the more context it'll have around it, and you'll be easily able to interpret it, if that makes sense. Toss it out or put it to the side, perhaps for another day. The knowledge, you know, doesn't come with expiration dates, like we do with information, right? We archive information, our taxes, things like that, for seven years, our medical records are archived and kept for seven or so ten years, whatever it is, knowledge doesn't have that. It's ongoing. It's a, it's a maturity progression. And one good rule of thumb to remember is only share knowledge to people that really can appreciate its value, you know, help influence that attention to quality over quantity. Right? So look for other people in your company who have self-knowledge, everyone has it have a really clear everyone has self-knowledge. We all have this built in library that we come with call it some people call it intuition, I guess I'm thinking more of self-awareness. In those terms, you know, the slowing down to becoming aware of your limits or your attributes, within the context of your company. Some people think self-awareness and self-knowledge are one in the same. I see them like a married couple. So as a married couple, you're one entity, but you're still two people, right? So self-awareness is something that you have. And we you know, some days we're more aware than others, right? But self-awareness is your ability to recognise the inner knowledge that you have this this in that inner libraries, which I still refer to as self-knowledge.

DR: Something that I was thinking about, you know, before I was in publishing, I was a lecturer at Vanderbilt did a PhD there and then taught for many years. And so my knowledge, you know, was 19th century French literature. But then I had the knowledge that I was passing on to my students, which wasn't just, you know, the history, but it was, how to write a paper how to think how to, you know, I think as a teacher, it is interesting to think about how knowledge transfer works, and how self-knowledge works in that context, you know, I would be working with another professor whose specialty is something completely different. But then we will work together and collaborate on a different project. And I think that that's where the self-knowledge, bridges with another person.

BWS: It does it represent your wisdom, even if we're, whether we're the teacher or whether the student right, depending on which hat we have. Self-knowledge in both roles represents your wisdom. So self-knowledge, as a teacher, you're using your self-knowledge to how you convey this information, how you convey knowledge to someone else, exactly like you said, and then you as a student, your self-knowledge is how you're receiving it. It's your lens. So that's your personal source of information, how you're taking it in.

DR: Well, thank you so much for taking the time today. It's been really interesting talking to you.

BWS: Well, thank you. Thank you for having me.

DR: Thank you for listening to today's episode. You can find a transcript of our conversation as well as more information about my guest on our website I'd like to thank Beverly Weed-Schertzer for joining me today and the studio This is Distorted.