This scenario illustrates how Communication Metrics is accomplished using
the SDS program by a typical office
i.e., what is done differently that improves earnings. The first page
or so is an overview of concepts followed by a
typical day using SDS.
.. Schedule Diary System (SDS)
Communication Metrics is a management science for
working faster and more accurately to save time, money and lives by using
the Schedule Diary System (SDS) software program to perform good managment
practices consistently. SDS
implements requirements for
technology, similar to the
way Microsoft Word implements requirements for wordprocessing technology,
Excel implements spreadsheets, Primavera implements CPM technology,
.. SDS does not replace existing software programs. It leverages human acuity to
strengthen understanding and follow up on daily details, commonly called
listening, by capturing
organizational memory, and adding "intelligence" that aligns work performed
with objectives, requirements and commitments. Understanding and follow up are
the critical metrics of listening that make communication effective. Everybody
knows listening is the weak link in management. People either don't
understand, and take the wrong action; or, do understand, but forget to take
action. Additionally, people can understand in the moment, but interceding
events cause meaning to drift away before action can be taken, again causing
follow up to fail. More devastating is understanding incorrectly, or correctly,
but telling others in secondary and tertiary communications a different story,
illustrated by the friendly "telephone game," that spreads error like a virus
throughout an organization, causing incorrect actions to multiply, commonly
.. Information overload increases communication failure, because human
biology is not designed for ordinary listening to succeed under stress of
cascading problems and escalating complexity that eviscerate productivity and
earnings. As a result, incessant calls for better listening fall on deaf ears,
and communication has become the biggest risk in enterprise. This offers a
significant opportunity to improve earnings by making technology that aids
listening a powerful partner for leadership. SDS is a unique, powerful
technology that enables proactive support for understanding and follow up that
reduce mistakes, avoid delay, save time and improve earnings, by building and
maintaining shared meaning, tracking action items, and linking daily work to
original sources that gets work done correctly, on time and within budget.
.. Of course this linear mode of reading how SDS is used can seem
tedious. The advantage of SDS is using technology to reduce the tedium and
expense of performing routine tasks that improve results, by automatically
linking details of daily work to strengthen the way the mind uses its
experience to understand cause and effect, and then to plan and carry out
follow up action to meet objectives, requirements and commitments that arise in
daily life. SDS enables people to use good management practices, and good
judgement, consistently, which is otherwise impossible in the New World Order
of information overload.
.. Good Management Practice
The first thing people do each day is ask.....
What needs to be done today?
.. Bill Gates, Lou Gerstner, Andy Grove, as well as Tom Edison, George Washington,
John Rockefeller, Woodrow Wilson, Tom Watson, Alfred Sloan, Lee Iaccoca, ...
all of these knowledge workers have asked this same question.
So the first thing the Schedule Diary System (SDS) does is show....
What needs to be done today?
What is coming up tomorrow and the day after... ..
SDS extends the conventional use of personal scheduling by showing everything
that needs to be done rather than only appointments.
Bill, Lou, Andy and everyone else generally have their non-appointment action
items in their head or they exist as documents on their desk, reminders from
staff, or yellow Post-Its. This is one of the ways SDS is a little different
from conventional practice.
To identify what needs to be done today, a worker must examine three
things: what is...
Pending that should be scheduled.
New that requires scheduling.
It is not a requirement to make this review. No one will go to jail, and the
SDS program will not explode, if these things are not accomplished. SDS just
makes it easier, and more rewarding, to do them.
.. Electronic In-box
Having looked at the Schedule (#1), the worker next clicks to open an
"Electronic In-box" that lists pending action items that have no deadline for
performance. Common examples are telephone call backs, reviewing contract
terms for conformity with commitments from a phone call or meeting; or, there
might be an item to buy a book, or to contact someone about writing a book. At
a glance we can see all of these items that have been hanging around from
yesterday to as long ago as a year or more. This solves the common malady of
"out of sight out of mind"; and, so, is another way that SDS is different from
Pending matters are automatically listed by date, enabling an "Office Worker"
(I use "Knowledge" Worker) to decide based on the length of pendency and
priority shown by highlight whether to take action today or in the near term.
To take action, the worker clicks on a pending matter, and it is removed from
the Electronic In-box and placed in the Schedule.
The way things get into the Electronic In-box and the way they get into the
flow of work are advances applied by SDS.
Everything is generated from the Schedule because this is where everything that
needs to be done is identified. This applies the practice of the Pharaoh
Rameses II, who is reported to have directed his Scribe...
So let it be written, so let it be done!
.. Since the earliest of times great leaders have recognized that accomplishing
great deeds, begins with making a commitment in writing. These have come to be
called proclamations, laws, regulations, contracts, to do lists. SDS uses
modern tools to improve this well established management practice so that every
worker can apply good practices consistently that formerly were only available
to Pharaohs and Kings. This is also different from the practice of modern
office workers, like Bill, Lou, Andy, etc.
.. Remembering with a Click ..
If the worker cannot remember enough about a pending matter to determine
whether action is needed, clicking on its description in the Electronic In-box
opens a Diary record showing the context that caused it to be classified as
"pending." Other details show who was involved, what was said, what contract,
law, regulation, policy is affected, cost/earnings impact, complexity, related
events and documents. This is much different from conventional practice, and
would likely have made the Pharaohs blink in wonder.
Review of pending matters typically takes about 10 to 20 seconds. It is easier
to do and takes less time than reading about this explanation of it because the
Knowledge Worker (oops - I mean "Office worker") is being reminded only of
matters that are already known. The Electronic In-box merely lifts the veil
that time imposes by obscuring our knowledge.
.. Scheduling with a Click ..
Today, the Electronic In-box shows a call was placed to the Wharton School of
Business about delivering a lecture on re-engineering communications. I click
on this entry. It is instantly removed from the Electronic-In box, and is
added to my Schedule for today. The new task is automatically linked back to
the prior call and all of its precedents. This is different from current
I can make the call any time during the day, so I do not give the new task a
Next, the SDS Document Log is checked to see what has been Received for which
we are obligated by law or business necessity to RESPOND. Each document shows
the date, the writer, organization, addressee (since the document may not have
been sent to me), explanation and due date for response are shown. If needed I
can click to open a document in the list, and also click to open an SDS diary
showing the CONTEXT under which the document was received, what action has
already been taken or considered, who has been consulted about the document,
how the document relates to other documents, contract provisions, laws,
regulations, phone calls, meetings, etc. If I decide to respond to a document,
I can click to create a task in the SDS Schedule, which is automatically linked
back to the context Diary so that when the response is prepared, continuity is
maintained between what is done and what has already been done. This method of
meeting commitments and obligations is different from current practice.
A similar query is made for documents ISSUED that require a response from
others. If we are owed a response today, I can create a task in the Schedule
to receive, analyze and take action on the response; or, if the response is NOT
received, I can follow up to obtain it.
Steps #1 and #2 are complete.
Integrating Email ..
The worker checks E-mail and regular mail for new information that requires
attention. This is done in an SDS Diary record to identify what needs to be
done, when, who should do it, and who is paying for it. The SDS Document Log
automatically assigns a "Response-Due" date, two (2) weeks ahead. Links are
assigned showing a document responds to another document. One or more subjects
from the "Subject Index" are assigned. The worker can describe understandings
from information relative to applicable history and other documents. This
discloses to the worker the implications and nuance of new information that
would otherwise be overlooked in the "heat of battle." This is different from
common management practice.
The SDS process of discovering correlations and implications is supported by
automatic access to relevant Diary records, prior correspondence and other
documents (e.g., CPM, budget, logs, design drawing file) to check on accuracy
and consistency with prior understandings and express representations.
Both consistencies and apparent discrepancies are linked back to the source
material by the SDS citation tool.
This effort discloses who should be consulted, and whether an earlier response
is needed than was entered by the Doc Log automatic posting. The worker may
call the writer or other parties for clarification, and add the results of
these inquiries to the Diary, so that the meaning and implications of each
document are clear in the record. Misunderstandings not resolved are flagged
for follow-up, as new action items.
This is a little different from conventional practice.
I call this processCommunication Metricsbecause I am measuring, discovering, creating and preserving understanding,
and ensuring timely follow up, in that conduct ultimately measures
understanding, and the schedule indicates intended conduct. ..
At this point, we have discovered (i.e., brought to our own attention) the
range of things that may need action.
This might take from 10 minutes to an hour or more depending upon the amount of
mail that arrives and the importance of the issues, i.e., how much do they
affect earnings. The main point is that new material is integrated into the
existing work flow in a way that greatly reduces the chance of oversight. Plus
the exercise creates a resource for research in doing steps #1 and #2 the next
So, step #3, really sets up to do steps #1 and #2 efficiently.
plan, perform, report ..
It is different from conventional practice.
Now, the Schedule has been adjusted for the day. Often there are 4 to 5 things
that can be done in 10 minutes, so the worker gets those going. Some will
require call backs from people. The worker can then focus on the tasks that
need extended attention.
SDS manages all of the information people encounter in daily life. Formal and
informal correspondence, and publications in magazines, books, memos and
reports are captured in the context of daily work interacting with people in
meetings and calls over weeks, months and years. This history provides
organizational memory arranged according to objectives and requirements using a
unique system of organic subject structure. SDS tools for managing subjects
significantly expand span of attention by disclosing collateral impacts. SDS
structure and functions facilitate analysis, alignment, summary and feedback
that improves accuracy of organizational memory, and strengthen understanding
and follow up. Accurate understanding, and consistent follow up improve
results. SDS, also, enables quickly retrieving the chronology of cause and
effect on specific subjects. Understanding cause and effect from chronologies
of experiential context that accumulate over days, weeks and years, augments
human reasoning that converts ordinary information into more powerful cognitive
resources commonly called knowledge wisdom and vision. This further improves
result, as seen below.
A simple way to think of SDS is as an...
Operating System for People and Organizations
.. SDS "reengineers" knowledge work and the practice of management.
Can we work faster, better, cheaper -- save time and money?
Let's do some work to find out what happens.
.. Typical Day Working by Clicking ..
Let's pick the task to prepare for an internal progress meeting tomorrow, which
itself is to prepare for a progress meeting with our customer next week on a
project to "reengineer" their manufacturing and marketing operations.
To do this, I click on the entry in the SDS Schedule.
This opens an SDS Diary record that lists in an organized way all of the
information needed to do the work.
It may be clear now that SDS records list more than "information." SDS
records are a web of connected information and objectives. They are our
experience, i.e., our knowledge, our plans and our actions, i.e., what is
going on here and now!
Over time the connectedness increases, growing our knowledge.
Soon, we have a rich harvest from investing intellectual capital.
.. SDS Record Structure
At the top of an SDS record (i.e., the beginning) is a chronology of prior
related events, going back to acquiring the project, contract negotiations,
cost and schedule meetings. Included are relevant phone calls, discussions,
work on design, WBS, procurement, analyses, site visits; everything relevant to
my review of the project is available. In addition, any documents such as
budgets, correspondence and plans, CPM schedules, submittal logs, etc., are
Intellectual Capital = Knowledge & Experience
Here, many people are wondering what is the difference between reviewing
"documents" and reviewing the "chronology" mentioned as listed above the
documents in an SDS record -- aren't documents the same as the chronology?
Documents are only a small part of the chronology.
The major part of the chronology is what we "know", i.e,. our experience,
recall of relationships between events, understandings, considerations,
documents, calls, meetings, the meaning of this experience, correlation and
implications in relation to our objectives.
In SDS, this body of knowledge and ideas is called "intellectual capital" and
is invested in a Diary to grow our knowledge through a process of continual
learning using traceability to original sources.
Below the listing of Reference information is an agenda to guide the work, that
is linked back to the record of activity on the project. This is the "plan" to
prepare for the internal meeting, i.e., it is my plan for doing my work.
The first item is to investigate sequencing in the CPM schedule as a result of
a call from our customer last week requesting a change to accommodate a new
order they have received which was not expected, but is very important to them.
I got this call rather than the Schedule Engineer, or even our Project Manager,
because it is a major scope change requested by the customer's CEO, Bart
Higgens. I click on this entry in the Diary, and it opens another Diary
showing the actual discussion last week with Bart. I see this matter is linked
to a review of notes prepared by our project manager two (2) months ago that
says the possibility of this change was mentioned in a progress meeting. That
entry is linked to a discussion I had with the CEO the same day who indicated
our customer will not need the capability that would be available from revised
sequencing, if certain work is completed by Oct 1, 1996.
This entry is linked to a discussion with Tom in our procurement department, a
month earlier who has been investigating to see if our supplier will commit to
providing a special piece of equipment in time for us to meet the Oct 1, 1996
time line. This is linked to a document received from our equipment vendor four
(4) days ago indicating they can make early delivery, if the spec on valves
will permit an "or-equal" supplier, since the specified vendor has a big
backlog and is unwilling to bump our order ahead 6 months to meet the Oct 1,
1996 revised target date.
The vendor offers a $250K credit for the "or-equal" supplier.
My analysis of the discussion with our customer's CEO is linked into the
contract provision on changes. It indicates scope changes must be issued in
writing. There is also a link to the General Conditions that say "Proprietary
specs are only informational to set a standard of performance." So in the
space of 15 seconds, I have traced through four separate sources of information
to identify a critical decision point for meeting our customer's objective, and
saving us time and a lot of money.
I open the CPM schedule program to consider the feasibility of revising the
Schedule in the event our procurement initiative comes up empty. Now I have
both SDS and the CPM program on my computer screen, ready to do two things at
once. We are going to integrate formal schedule with other sources and
The phone rings.
It is Harry Smith at the Bank.
Harry says the Bank needs more information to approve our loan to complete a
merger. Harry believes our application fails to indicate that the 90 day
notice requirements in section G of the bond security agreement will be waived
only if we make a $10M preliminary payment. This waiver means a $2M savings to
us, but getting the $10M on short notice would be an effort. It might require
selling some stock, and this is not a good time for that, or getting secondary
financing that would be costly and take time.
I click over to my Schedule and notice there is a task to finalize this
financing today. I click on that task to open the Diary background and support
The loan application for the merger is listed in the References, along with the
bond security agreement as relevant documents to the task. Listed, also, is a
letter from our outside counsel to our Chief General Counsel.
The Diary shows discussion and analysis that indicates our outside counsel has
determined there is no requirement under CCP 1180.2 for a waiver under the
terms of our proposed merger.
Harry asks if any cases have been decided that support this opinion? I click
on a link in the Diary to a discussion last month with our General Counsel. It
shows research was underway on this point. I check the doc log and see a letter
was issued by our General Counsel yesterday which cites a specific case. It
shows a copy was sent to the Bank.
Harry says he didn't get the copy. He will call our General Counsel to request
a copy of the case.
Harry says that unless he calls back, I can assume the loan is approved! He
I click automatic follow-up on this line, because I assume that Harry may not
call back for a lot of reasons other than that our loan is approved.
I switch back to the SDS record to continue preparing for the project review
The CPM shows an environmental study is required prior to approval of project
launch. It shows 90 days to prepare and obtain approval. I look up this task
in the Diary and see a sequence of events including project meetings, phone
calls and documents that seem to indicate the scope of this task has been
changed by recent legislation. There is a link in the record to a report from
the State Fish & Game Department to Frank, our Project Manager, which describes
requirements for public notice and community meetings which could, in turn,
require design revisions to incorporate public comment/objections. None of
this is in the Schedule. I check the Schedule notes for clarification. There
is nothing on this matter.
I make a note in the SDS agenda for the meeting tomorrow to ask about the
status on this issue. Don't we at least need a CPM activity to investigate the
application of the new regulations? How will this impact completion by Oct 1,
1996 on the work requested by Bart Higgens? I send this part of my record as
an E-Mail to Bill in the Land Department, asking him to address this tomorrow.
The phone rings. I answer and hear:
Hi, this is Mary from Microsoft.
What does your win.ini file say on the 3rd line below [MS Shares]?
I say: Mary, what is this about?
She says someone called about the screen going black on certain report
operations under Windows, and I have the answer.
I explain I am in the middle of something and don't have a clue what she
is calling about. Can she hold on a minute while I review the record?
Mary says she is in a big hurry and has other calls to make. She doesn't have
time for customers to review records. They are using TQM and have to give the
customer the right answer faster and better than IBM.
She agrees to hold on for a SECOND!
I click over to my Schedule and see there is a task to receive a call from
Microsoft. I click to open it and there is the usual listing of background and
related information for performing the task, plus an agenda linked back to the
last time work on this task was performed, 3 weeks ago.
I notice that I talked to Bill at Microsoft, and he and I looked at the [MS
Shares] line and found it does not solve our problem.
I relate this to Mary and she says -- "Oh!"
I continue reading the record so Mary can hear where Bill suggested I append a
\C to the end of the smartdrv spec in autoexec.bat. The SDS record shows I
tried that but it didn't work, which is why I called Microsoft back later that
same day. Mary apologizes for Microsoft taking so long to call us back, and
asks me to hold on.
I indicate I am in a hurry, but can do some other work while on hold.
I click back to continue work on preparing for the internal project meeting
while Mary has me on hold.
It appears there is a $300K increase in the cost of planning. This is a
serious problem. I instantly flag it to call Helen after my call with Mary at
Microsoft. I do a subject search for planning budgets.
There are two hits about a month apart. The second seems to be the answer. It
is a telecon with Frank, our PM, who reports on a discussion following a
progress meeting with the customer that their accounting department requested
that the cost of marketing and feasibility, which they are willing to pay, be
lumped into the planning account. They don't want to send us a letter on this
until after their board meets and approves the final budget, which is why it
was not mentioned in the formal progress meeting. So far this has amounted to
$300K. I still don't understand why our cost report does not show this as an
increased budget as well as an increase in the expenses?
Suddenly Mary comes back on the line.
Investing Intellectual Capital Pays Off .. She says they have the answer and thanks me for taking the time to look
up what had already been tried and found not to work. She said her other
customers don't do that so she is always in a hurry doing things over and over
Mary says it turns out that Bill was right, except we should use a /C instead
of \C. I told her my notes show that Bill and I looked this up together and
found the MS manual shows \C, but that on a hunch we tried /C also, and it
didn't work. Mary asked me to hold on. I said I am in a hurry, but I can do
some other work while on hold.
I make some notes of our discussion, and start to work again on preparing for
the meeting tomorrow, but Mary comes back on-line.
Mary says the problem is that they changed the specification in the most recent
product release and for some reason this was not reflected in the manual. She
recalled the same type of thing happened when her family got a new washer/dryer
just last month. She says on Windows the /C only works if we use smartdrv.sys
in config.sys instead of smartdrv.exe in autoexec.bat. I ask why Bill didn't
know about this when we talked last week. Mary says this is an undocumented
change, so they only figured it out as a result of my call. The developers
traced it down.
I click to open config.sys listed in the SDS record under Other Files and make
the change, save it and boot the computer. After Windows comes up I run a test
while Mary is still on line. It works. I thank Mary for her help and patience.
Mary says "Gee, you saved us both a lot of time, because normally it could take
an hour or more working with the customer to do what we did in 15 minutes.
Often there are a lot more call backs."
I ask Mary if Microsoft can track solutions and determine what has already been
Mary says they have a Windows program that is very easy to use, but it doesn't
find information in time to solve customer problems, so nobody uses it. She
asks how people can find critical knowledge, so quickly, when needed, as we
We review the SDS design for organic structure to construct multiple views with
many paths that making finding things fast and easy based on context.
Mary says Microsoft has been talking about context management in meetings on
customer support, and in company training. She has, also, heard about this new
method at professional events, but so far nobody has shown how people on the
job can use context management to find anything on a computer, when it is
needed, as we just did.
I note this is an
not just at Microsoft, shown by the
report on April 6, 1996.
Mary asks how SDS uses organic structure to subjects for solving the
.. Organic Subject Structure
Delayed Screen in SDS
Delayed Screen in Windows
.. Windows 3.1
Delayed Screen in SDS
Delayed Screen in SDS
Delayed Screen in SDS
Delayed Screen in Windows
The subject is further identified as a relationship with Microsoft, and with
the Technical Support group at Microsoft, and with
Mary in the Technical Support Department at Microsoft.
Other relationships are Windows Configuration
win.ini and autoexec.bat files.
Another path for finding information is to use a simple
diary chronology using a subject
key word, or phrase, that construct additional views from
the entire data base, illustrated by the record on April 28, 2004.
Mary says that's
echoing other reports from Microsoft,
illustrated by the record on June 6, 2002.
asks how much time it takes to create organic structure for saving time
like we did today?
When this problem arose 3 weeks ago, it took about 2 minutes to tag the record
with cross-referenced subjects. After that each new follow-up task is
automatically tagged with its subjects. This provides a rich history of
multiple views with paths to a solution, and a simple means to associate the
history so that solutions are placed in the context of particular
Mary asks why we don't just do a keyword search like everybody else?
I explain that people often cannot remember keywords the same way information
was originally created days, weeks, months and years earlier, because the
context is different each time a subject arises.
Mary mentions again that the problem of finding information for the context of
specific problems is mentioned a lot in their meetings on improving management,
but no one has time to do anything about it because managing knowledge with
information technology (IT) approved by the company is a lot of hard work.
I mention experience in the industry seems to support Mary's experience at
Microsoft showing people have a lot of problems finding information stored on
computers, illustrated by the report on problems finding information April 6,
1996. based on research at SRI reported on March 7, 2000 finding that Knowledge
Management is a lot of hard work, and cooborated later that year on November
26, 2000 listing the steps people have identified for organizing an effective
record of correspondence that converts information into useful knowledge.
.. May says thanks for the lesson learned on improving customer support.
I click over to my Schedule. It shows a TQM meeting at 1000, in about 10
I click back to my notes on preparing for the review meeting tomorrow. There
are my notes just as I left them on analysing the $300K budget imbalance. I
call Helen and leave a voice mail for her to call on this. I create a follow
up flag to receive the call from Helen so in case she does not call me, I will
be alerted to call her.
I click to my Schedule. I click on the task for attending the TQM meeting at
1000, this opens the usual background, related documents and the agenda I want
to pursue today, based on the last meeting and the intervening activity which I
The phone rings.
It is Juan Gonzales who is heading the TQM effort.
Juan says the TQM meeting today is cancelled because two people are out of town
and everyone else is too busy.
Juan is a little upset.
He says a lot of effort has been made to "reengineer" our business. He says
significant improvement in productivity is possible, if we can get a little
cooperation from key department managers to support needed change. If only a
few people change, it will not do much good. TQM requires widespread change
over an extended time in order for people to see the improvement.
Juan recalled 2 years ago when we used TQM to downsize and got a lot of
computers. The organization chart changed, but the way people worked remained
the same. So now we have more work with fewer people and more
People feel they are working harder for the computer rather than the computer
working them. He feels TQM can help, but there is not enough time to implement
it, as occurred today.
.. Empowering People to Grow More Knowledge ..
I suggest to Juan that we may need a new strategy to improve personal
effectiveness by making the computer an operating system for people and
Juan related a recent discussion he had with Bill after a meeting; they were
wondering how I am able to remember so many details from past meetings, calls
and documents? Juan says he has been meaning to stop by and ask, but forgot to
follow up because it is hard to remember details with so much going on all the
Juan said he was in my office the other day looking for another file that
somehow got misplaced, and he noticed my computer screen. He asked if that is
a new program that helps people remember?
I explain SDS enables a system of Communication Metrics for personal and
organizational memory and management (POIMS), and mention that our customer,
also, noticed how SDS helps people remember better. They are now talking about
giving us another order because of the way we have been managing their
The customer feels Communication Metrics improves communications the way CPM
Juan said that's great. He plans to disucss with Bill and others on the TQM
committee the idea of adding business metrics to align communication that can
complement traditional cost and schedule control.
Juan comments on how CPM helps managers see when work is behind schedule or
over budget, so they can take early corrective action. Usually the problem is
some small misunderstanding that boils over into a big fiasco.
I explain Communication Metrics finds these misunderstandings and corrects them
BEFORE they boil over, so there are fewer schedule delays and cost overruns.
Perhaps instead of trying to get a lot of people to change all at once, we can
empower people to grow their knowledge by investing intellectual capital at
their own pace, and this will ripple through the organization by example, and
make us more money.
Juan says this part of sounds kind of strange.
He feels that making more money helps people accept change, but he hasn't heard
about SDS or Communication Metrics in the Wall Street Journal, the Harvard
Business Review, or any of the places where he has heard about TQM.
He feels though that if we don't do something we will have to "reengineer" more
downsizing. Maybe it would be better to lift the productivity of our people so
they can do a better job, rather than fire them. That's something to think
Juan asks for an example of how SDS is used.
I say this came up the other day and I have prepared a record on it. I will
send it to him via email. If it sounds helpful, we can meet for a
demonstration of how automated management in the 21st Century lifts the
capacity to think, remember and communicate.
Juan says that sounds like quality control for management by reengineering
I say, let me know what you think, and hang up.
.. I make a few notes of the discussion with Juan in the SDS record for the
TQM meeting. I do a subject search for:
It produces this record. I click to print it for Juan.
I take 10 seconds to enter this in the SDS Doc Log and send it to Juan via
I open the menu of this SDS record and select "Follow Up."
SDS enters a task in my Schedule for two days ahead to check with Juan.
So now I can forget this.
I won't worry about whether I or Juan will remember to follow up. I know that
in two days, I will be reminded about this, and, more importantly, everything I
need to perform the work will be there waiting to be applied. If I don't look
at the system for a few days, that task will be there when I get around to it.
The phone rings. It is Helen.
Staying on Course .. I click over to the record on preparing for the progress meeting
Helen says she has prepared a letter to our Customer confirming their request
for us to move $300K into the planning budget. I review the SDS record with
Helen showing our customer intends to send us a change order authorizing the
budget change, and has requested that we NOT send them a confirmation letter.
Helen says she received an email from Frank stating to send a confirmation
letter according to our normal policy on budget changes. I suggest that what
may have happened is that Frank inadvertently left out the word "NOT" in his
Helen says, "Yeah, that happens to me too when I am so busy there is not enough
time to think." She worries "Email is too much like chatting, where you can
say things or leave things out inadvertently, but the people who read it,
don't know this and so take the actual action in the letter, rather than what
Helen asked how to fix this problem that causes problems using email.
.. I suggest using email for delivering the mail, and use SDS for developing
the message linked to context, requirements and objectives. Adding alignment
in SDS tends to wring out inadvertent errors that waste time and cost money.
Helen said that getting SDS records sounds like being in a meeting where
everyone understands the context of what is being said, so even you slip up in
saying something, people understand the right thing based on the context.
I explain that understanding context of the moment is an important advantage of
using SDS, rather than relying on email messages for communication. A related
benefit is that SDS provides a broader range of context beyond the moment by
enabling people to triangulate accuracy of understanding based on alignment
with prior related events in calls, meetings and work performed.
Helen says she is just starting with SDS, and asks how to link her SDS record
on our call today, into my SDS record of the discussion with Frank from last
month, so this scenario is clear in the future. I explain how to make links
by positioning the cursor at the target location, and pressing Enter or double
clicking where the link is needed.
.. Helen seems unsure, so I boot up a window on my desktop to connect to Helen's
SDS program. She sees me do the steps on her computer to create links. She
says it is a lot easier than it sounds. I note that everything in SDS is
easier to do than it is to explain because no one has ever done any of the
things SDS can do. It is not intuitive because there is no experience for
people to intuit from.
I ask why our budget for planning has not been increased?
Helen laughs, "This is funny; there is nothing to worry about."
The Accounting Department has just begun using a new program that integrates
expenses and budgets. It requires that expenses cannot exceed earned value
calculations without authorization of senior management. Expenses for
feasibility have been reported by Frank in the Planning budget for the past two
months. Under the old program, this was okay. Frank had forgotten to fill out
the account adjustment form required by the old program, but this did not
become noticeable until just recently when last month's expenditures showed a
big overrun on the Planning budget. But now we are using a new program and it
requires approval by senior management for budget changes. Frank didn't know
we needed this approval. Actually no one really caught it until Alice tried to
increase the budget yesterday and got an error message. But the message was
not very clear and the manual did not explain it, so we had to call the vendor
I say this does not sound all that funny. Helen says you had to be there.
I ask if we can get a revised report in time for the meeting tomorrow? We are
going to have some execs there, and I don't want to have to try to explain what
looks like a big error. It will just waste time.
Helen says she will try. Jack Harkin, VP Finance, who has to approve the
budget change has been on vacation for 3 weeks and is not due back until
Helen will send Jack an email requesting his approval for the accounting
change. She will indicate I need this in time for the meeting. She says
experience indicates there is not a good chance of this coming to pass, and
suggests that I leave Jack a voice mail to support her request that we need his
approval tomorrow by 1000 so she will have time to get the revised reports
printed in time for my meeting.
I call Jack's number. His voice mail says he is not coming back to the office
until the following Monday. He will not be able to answer Helen's email.
SDS Saves Time for Everyone .. I call Wendy Williams, president of the firm.
She is in and takes my call.
I ask if she would be willing to sign off on the approval for Jack so we can
get the cost and schedule reports prepared in time for our progress meeting?
Wendy clicks up my discussion with Helen, on her SDS program.
She uses it to make a task for herself of our discussion, which then links that
task to the discussion with Helen and all of its related history.
After a few moments review, Wendy agrees and asks me to send Jack an email
explaining what we did and why. She will link into my record of this call for
her record. Wendy apologizes saying she knows this is not conventional office
worker practice, but it saves her time.
Wendy asks if I ever solved the problem in Windows of the screen going black on
I start to explain the solution from Microsoft.
Wendy asks if it is entered in SDS?
.. I explain having created the record while talking
Wendy says she will link into that record and try the solution when time
permits, so she does not tie us both up right now. She says this is different
from conventional office worker practice, but it saves time just to use SDS.
.. She points out that once we have invested time to capture understandings,
and have added intelligence to refine accuracy of correlations, implications
and nuance that drive creativity, then we can use it over and over and over
again to cash in on our investment. That is the power of knowledge to save
time and money.
.. Wendy recalled planning six (6) months ago on pilot testing SDS, and
setting a goal to improve performance simply by saying at the end of a
This sounds great! Terrific meeting. Congratulations to everyone
for doing your homework and for the Powerpoint presentation. Those graphics
and charts really impressed me.
How soon can I get the SDS record showing everything is lined up?..
When the response comes back...
Gosh, I don't have time. Er, uh, I mean, there is another meeting,
and uh... ..
The executive says...
Well how can I help? Can we sit down together and develop the
record? I hear that's the attitude
successful CEOs use to save time and money.
Why can't we do that too?
Do you have time right now, or can I stop by your office
later today? Would you like me to assign someone to help with your other tasks
that prevent getting this work done to save time and money? Should we hire
someone to prepare the SDS record?
When the manager says...
Oh no, there isn't enough time to write everything down, but I always
email the Powerpoint file to everyone for meeting minutes. It helps people
remember the gist of things. Since
nobody has time to understand the actual content,
my attitude is that we don't need to spend money hiring someone to help with
communication. We're all experts on that around here, and the last thing we
need is more paperwork. ..
The executive says...
Well, it's true that everyone we hire has
good communication skills,
because that is one of our requirements. The meeting today showed good
communication skills that certainly talked me into saying yes to everything you
.. Isn't there though another angle, or part, to communication, besides
getting people to say yes? What about
to understand and follow up?
Oh, I realize you said nobody has time to understand content, so why bother,
and that everyone uses email and the cell phone to expedite,
When the manager says...
Everybody talks about listening, but nobody teaches anything about
understanding and follow up for communication. People love others to listen by
agreeing to say yes, but they don't really care if anyone understands, because
nobody has time. There is nothing in the Wall Street Journal, and none of the
management experts say anything about using SDS to write things down before
going to the next meeting. They all emphasize
style is critical to look good and make people feel good by fitting in
with the culture, so people will say yes. That's what's important, like you
just said. Since you feel like saying yes to everything we presented in the
meeting today, this was a successful meeting. My attitude is why should we
waste time writing things down just to have a lot of extra paperwork that
nobody will read? I don't really understand why understanding and follow up are
such a hot topic all of a sudden? ..
The executive says...
say somewhere in there that "analysis" is
important for accurate understanding, but that people have
given up because communication
is too complex with the tools everybody is using? This makes accuracy the
best metric for communication shown by alignment of an audit trail traced
back to original sources in organizational memory. Isn't that what the
management standards call out?
.. So, the problem we face is that, when we talk people into saying yes,
then, without alignment, we all go off thinking and saying things to other
people who wind up doing something different from what we intended when they
said yes, and in a short time our own memory of what we intended is changed.
The meaning of communication among people is in conflict rather than shared.
Isn't that the problem we face? ..
When the manager says...
Gee, you're taking us way back. It's been a long time since we studied
Peter Drucker in college. He may be out of date because everybody these days
has cell phones and email to be in constant touch for analysis and everything.
The real problem is trying to understand communication in the context of
objectives, requirements and commitments. Productivity is paralyzed because
nobody can find anything,
so we expedite with cell phones and email to get things done, then make
adjustments when things go wrong. I agree it is not a perfect system, but
that's what today's experts say to do. My attitude is that
those CEOs who are successful by
writing things down to understand and follow up, like Peter Drucker recommends,
are in the minority, because people just don't have enough time.
The vast majority of people these days use
management with cell phones, email, Palm Pilots, things like that. ..
The executive says...
talk about seeking first to understand then talk
on the cell phone and send an email, and that keeping a diary sharpens the saw
so understanding is a little faster and easier with so much going on that
everything gets confusing in a big blur.
When the manager says...
Yes, but nobody has enough time to understand by keeping a diary of
important things written down, so we expedite with cell phones and email. When
I don't remember something I call someone or send an email and people help me
The executive says...
Who helps the people you call remember more than the gist of daily
working information? Studies show
people remember only about 5% - 10% and the
rest is filled in with what seems to make common sense at the moment based on
personal experience. That leaves a lot of room for mistakes and conflict
because everybody has different experience. When you get information that is
different from what you remember, what do you do? How do you resolve those
When the manager says...
We help each other. That's the whole idea of collaboration and
expediting with cell phones and email to communicate. I'm sure we can all
improve, but I feel good about my communication skills talking people into
agreeing with my
memory of things so we are all on the same page with "shared meaning," like you
say we should be doing. I just feel that collaboration is our strong suit, and
frankly am puzzled about why we are spending so much time going over
all this? ..
The executive says...
Weren't you in my office just last week very exercised saying we just
have to fire so-and-so because they were either lying or had an awfully poor
memory, and they were not being a team player because they refused to listen by
insisting on their memory, rather than accept your version of events?
You went on and on asking "Why is this always happening to me?" and "Why can't
we hire good people who will just
tell the truth"? Then suddenly you paused
and said "Boy, this is just like the
management training film
we saw several weeks ago at the company retreat in Hawaii."
.. After you calmed down, we spent almost an hour calling the plant
manager, the Chief Engineer and others chasing things down, and it
turned out you were both partially correct and partially wrong. You later
wound up recommending promotion for the person you wanted to fire, because some
of what was remembered, and which you remembered differently, saved us a lot of
money. Doesn't this cry out for doing things differently to avoid this kind of
memory drift? ..
When the manager says...
No, I definitely disagree, because most of the time I am able to talk
people into my memory of events, and so writing things down like you are
talking about would reduce flexibility to be creative. That's overkill in my
book, not expediting and collaborating to get things done.
It takes too much time, and since everybody is satisfied getting the Powerpoint
file for meeting minutes, why rock the boat? ..
The executive says...
How is this different from five (5) years ago when you came to me and
said we just have to hire an accountant, because finances are getting out of
hand. You said there isn't enough time to align everything? What did we
do? Nobody worried about rocking the boat then. What's different now?
When the manager says...
Well, on that occasion we hired an accountant to avoid the constant
problem of losing track and suddenly running over budgets, having to run to the
bank and then paying through the nose for financing. The seminar we attended
got us thinking that better financial management could save a lot, but none of
us have time, so we hired Henry Anderson, and... ..
The executive says...
Right. Hank has done a great job; so, now we have a whole accounting
department. Same thing happened with sales. In the beginning, we all talked to
the customers, and became darn good at it, shown by how much we have grown.
But, later there wasn't enough time for everyone to do this, so we hired people
to be out talking to customers, and now we have a whole department for
that. In both those cases, we all said that whatever it takes, we have to
align our finances, our products, and our services to support our customers.
.. All I am asking is "What about communication?" Isn't communication
important too? It seems to me that communication drives everything we do, so
if communication gets out of alignment, then all the accountants in the world
can only report we lost money. If we are willing to pay for accountants
to tell us we lost money, why not pay for communication support to save money?
So, if we are all too busy to align communication, like you are saying today,
should we be thinking about hiring a
Communication Manager like we hire accountants, engineers,
and sales people?
Maybe on an interim basis Rod could help us. If you don't have
enough time, call him because he knows how to use SDS that makes aligning
communication fast and easy.
.. My only point is that, once we realize aligning communication improves
accuracy to save time and money, then, like we have done with accounting, sales
and other things, whatever it takes, we do not want short term perspective to
crowd out the rewards of investing intellectual capital...
When the manager says...
I don't think we need to write everything down because that seems like
unnecessary overkill. We never did this before. Everyone at the meeting knows
the context of what's going on because we all saw and heard the same thing, so
I don't see why we have to write up what everybody already knows? That's just
duplication and busy work because we're already sending out the Powerpoint file
does any of that stuff with SDS, and they
are making lots of money, so why should we start doing anything different?
.. Besides, it's so
frustrating learning SDS because nobody has experience
intellectual capital, so this seems funny, foreign
and alien compared to the way everybody does things. SDS has a lot of
unusual ideas about working intelligently using those
eight (8) steps Rod talks about.
.. This takes days and days learning to press new buttons on the computer.
That's a lot harder than pressing buttons I already know how to press on
Microsoft Word, Powerpoint and email, and I worked very hard learning to be up
todate with everybody, so that should be good enough to get by, thank you very
much. .. The executive says...
Isn't that why we hired an accountant, because everybody said it would
take days and days to learn the financial planning and controls we need, and
so we hired people with the skills we need?
Do a test. Use your skills with Microsoft Word, Powerpoint,
email, what have you, to produce an SDS record
for this meeting we are having right now, like I asked a minute
ago. Show us work product tomorrow with intelligence that aligns
correlations, implications, and nuance
from what we say today with
objectives, requirements, and commitments from prior work history. If we
can do it without SDS, I'm all for it...
When the manager says...
That's not fair!
It takes days and days to write everything down, and look up
background to link things together. That's a boring, thankless task!
.. In fact it's a joke, because everybody knows that
nobody can find anything around here when we need it. Microsoft
big project to fix this, but that will take years, if ever.
I have to be in Houston
tomorrow for the conference announcing our new product line, so I don't have
time to do the test you propose.
.. Besides, Rod has shown me some of SDS and I hate it. Pinning
everybody down with objectives, requirements and commitments doesn't leave
wriggle room to be creative without worrying about accuracy. I feel that
if you start pinning everyone down, there will be a lot less flexibility for
creativity to solve the things that constantly come up around here when
little inconsequential details suddenly blow up into major
problems. We need flexibility to use communication skills we were
trained and hired to use for talking people into things without worrying about
accountability for accuracy. I'm telling you this SDS method is very dangerous
based on a recent seminar I attended where they explained in great detail how
to avoid an audit trail. A top management expert from
Enron told how creativity just really blossomed when they got away from
being a slave to accuracy with people worrying all the time about crossing
every "t" and dotting every "i". ..
The response is...
Why don't you say what you really think!
.. Anyway, I see your point. As I said, I am enormously impressed by the
way the meeting was handled today, and am certainly not talking about doing
away with Powerpoint, email, the cell phone, Microsoft Word, or anything else
people are using to be creative. We're not talking about changing the way
everybody works, but rather we're talking about helping people get better
results from the hard work everyone is doing.
.. However, in truth, I'm not entirely sold on the idea that creativity
conflicts with accuracy. That seems like an awfully slippery slope to error,
loss, conflict and failure. Why can't we be creative using
analysis to expedite accurately? Don't we need to balance these
out, being creative and being accurate,
some way or another? In other words, everything cannot be decided
spontaneously on the phone or in meetings. Some things need
once in awhile for analysis to get the work lined up correctly.
.. For example, wasn't there
something in the news not long ago about Enron going
"belly up"? An investigation showed they were very creative and
expedited getting things done by not
aligning daily work with communications, just like you say we should be doing,
based on the seminar we all attended.
The Enron board of
directors got involved and called for keeping an
but nobody listened, just like you say. Soon, they had too many problems, and
just collapsed, because they could not talk their way out of accountability.
When what they said did not line up with the record, the banks, creditors,
customers, everybody suddenly turned on a dime.
.. How could this happen when people at Enron were so skilled at talking
everybody into everything, just like a lot of us here; but, now, they can't
talk anyone into anything. Why not? How do good communication skills suddenly
.. How do we avoid the same thing from happening to us? Do we have another
meeting, buy more cell phones, send more email? That's what Enron did. Unless
we find a way to add alignment to communication how will we avoid failure, as
Talk is cheap when there is no alignment with the record, because
distrust explodes good will that makes communication effective, so
now no one believes anything Enron says. Without trust and
belief in accuracy, without accountability, without alignment that balances
creativity, we cannot talk anyone into anything
for very long. Similarly, IBM has been called on the carpet for financial
engineering rather than using good practice, and on and on where people who
have reported glowing earnings and balance sheets using all the
communication methods you
describe, are now coming out with revised earnings, and not just a few million,
but billions of dollars. This lack of alignment between what people say and
what lines up with the record shakes confidence in reliability
to the core when there is
no accountability for accuracy. .. Maybe we've been living in a dream world, an "Alice in Wonderland" of
continual bumbling like
describes, where creativity is not balanced by
accuracy, and this grows the false impression that
good results don't require good management.
So, I am just saying that while the meeting today was impressive, maybe we need
more than impressions to run the company.
Impressions from conversation begin to fade and are commingled with other
impressions as soon as we walk away from our meeting and go to the next one,
as explained in the article on
"The New World Order Needs Old Time Religion." .. Knowledge comes from writing down our impressions and linking them up to
prior related experience, i.e., work history, analysis, documents and subjects,
and then rolling them over into controllable action items to get things done
that pay the bills. Most of the work we discussed today will not be
accomplished by anyone at the meeting today; yet, everything we say is a
predicate that will drive future action. All of us will pass along impressions
of what transpired to others, and they will talk to others on down the line
until someone eventually carries out the work days, weeks, even years later,
who has no way of knowing the original context, unless we write up the record,
like successful CEOs do.
.. SDS has a lot of
that improves memory so it is
fast and easy to write up the record and to
maintain alignment that helps ensure the
work conforms with our decisions today, and provides context that helps people
address issues which will arise that are not apparent today. Entering the
record into SDS also enables discovering when our decisions do not align with
objectives, requirements and commitments, so we can adjust course before
mistakes occur that waste time and money,
or cause injury and mayhem. ..
When the manager says...
But that means pinning people down. I hate being pinned down. I
like to work with people, but we need flexibility to use common sense without
having everything examined with a microscope for accuracy, and then
having to stop and make corrections on a few inconsequential details. Extra
paperwork like that slows down getting things done. You are always telling us
to expedite. To me, wasting time nitpicking the past, when we should be
focusing on the
big picture, is not the way to expedite solving the problems we face.
The response is...
I agree with you. I hate being pinned down too. Everybody does. I
also agree that SDS records, going over everything forwards and backwards 'till
the cows come home, seem like overkill. But the few times in recent weeks, when
I have gone through the record I discovered that our long-trusted contractor on
the Ogalala Power Plant project did not submit design drawings for the
generator. I remember them telling us earlier that it would be okay to waive
the specifications because this is a design-build order, and they could save us
$250K, and besides they are taking all responsibility. They also said we could
save another $150K by not hiring a Special Master to start up the plant and
certify everything is ready for operation and release of final payment. The
contractor said they have top engineers qualified as Special Masters, and are
more creative using the cell phone and email when they are not pinned down
having to align everything back to the contract. The record showed that our
Chief Engineer, Chip Edington, had been out sick the week when we met with the
contractor and so he approved the contractor's proposal on my say so, since
$400K in the bank seemed like a lot of cost savings for eliminating extra
.. However, when I went through the SDS record, there was a link to another
project where this same thing came up 10 years earlier. The contractor gave a
credit to save on paperwork sending in design submittals for approval. Another
link showed that a year or so later during commissioning of the plant, the
Contractor's Special Master approved the plant for operation and final payment,
even though the whole structure shook ferociously with a vibration that
indicated defective work. Other links showed that over the ensuing years many
more defects were discovered, all causing $20M in rework because the original
design and fabrication of the equipment was defective. The lawsuit is still
.. I checked and saw that none of this was in the Powerpoint file we got for
meeting minutes. It was not brought up during the meeting, but was essential
context to understand what was presented. This changed my attitude that, like
you feel, SDS causes extra paperwork. I saw
first-hand how vital intelligence prevented little details from becoming major
.. You can just imagine how I felt understanding this additional context.
Even though, like everybody, I hate wasting valuable time following links and
everything in SDS records, I wasted no time following up by calling Chip, and
told him to tell our "trusted" contractor that the deal is off... We want the
submittals to check the design, and will use the design we approve to check
fabrication, and we will hire our own Special Master to verify that
installation meets requirements, thank you very much!!.. You can see that SDS didn't interfere with using
other methods we like. We still use email, Powerpoint and make telephone
calls, but these methods are strengthened by adding "intelligence" to daily
working information. Neither does SDS require writing everything down. The
role of SDS is to capture organizational memory that is important to save time
and money. Every conversation isn't examined, just the one's where we have a
lot of money at risk and so we need to pin things down in order to avoid major
problems later. That seems like a win win situation all around.
.. Chip called back and hour later, and guess what? He felt the same way.
He read through the SDS record and agrees with a change in attitude about
pinning the contractor down to follow the contract. Chip said it is early
enough in the process that the contractor is not damaged by rescission, since
no money has been spent. He said he hadn't been in favor of the contractor's
proposal, all along, but since he wasn't at the meeting he didn't feel it was
his place to tell me not to accept a $400K credit, and since, like everybody,
he hates SDS records, he had not read the record to discover serious issues
that supported his position all along. He said this changes his attitude a
little bit. Before, like you and me, he felt SDS was unnecessary overkill, and
so he avoided it. But, experience in this case showed that SDS makes research
for saving time and money faster and easier by clicking a few links rather than
going to the library, looking through files, combing the Internet and the other
methods we all use. He said productivity is paralyzed because nobody can find
anything with the tools we all love, just like you
mentioned a moment ago, but nobody cares because we get paid the same
whether the company makes money or not, and people like to feel good by
thinking positive about the future, rather than nitpick the past, like SDS
does, in order to guide conduct for meeting objectives in the future under the
rule "past is prologue." People feel better taking immediate action, rather
than delay things by doing analysis. He feels now that SDS changes this
attitude by making analysis fast and easy and rewarding.
.. In our call, Chip said that after he read the SDS record on the submittal
issue and Special Master change order fiasco, he went ahead and read the record
of the entire meeting. He noticed elsewhere that the contractor offered a
credit of $2M for changing the specification on the wiring for the generators.
That one has been under review by our engineers, who feel pressured to approve
it because we can use the $2M for other important needs. But Chip noticed a
link to a prior project where another contractor used this same alternate wire
to construct an
oil tanker, which later sank at sea,
because the pumps with
alternate wiring overheated and failed under the extra loads from operations
during a big storm.
.. Everybody here recalls Chip's well deserved honor getting credit at the
recent awards dinner for excellence in engineering. Chip won this award for a
novel calculation showing cost savings of $10M by avoiding the contractor's
proposal of saving $2M. Chip didn't mention anything about SDS or
Communication Metrics during his acceptance speech, because it is still a
funny, foreign and alien idea to most people. But he has told me that his
attitude is changed. He is willing to try this new method because, by
accident, which seems like a miracle, he got experience that led to cost
savings which align with the report issued by the Corps of Engineers saying
that savings using SDS are in the range of ROI at about 10:1. He said there is
nothing else we do that saves that kind of money.
.. Chip tells me that the trade-off between fear of accountability for
making mistakes that result from a record of organizational memory, which we
all have, has to be balanced by the benefits of getting credit, like he did,
for saving a lot of time and money by discovering mistakes in time to avoid
loss, tragedy and mayhem, like we did, and by discovering opportunities for
being creative and innovative that are otherwise overlooked because we are busy
expediting on the cell phone, sending email, and poring over Powerpoint
pictures and graphs to recognize emerging patterns in the details of our work.
.. That's why I asked how soon can I get the SDS record for the meeting
today, because, when we are short of time, like everybody says, then SDS is the
way to get things done faster, better, and cheaper than using other
methods... I congratulated Wendy on her memory, and said she would make a great
.. Wendy laughed and said we are not quite there yet, but it sounds from
your discussions with Helen and Juan that attitudes are beginning to change
about working intelligently. I know that my attitude has changed, now that I
have gained experience with SDS; which is why I am willing to rely on the
record today, rather than tie up your time poring over how we fixed problems
.. After hanging up, I ask my secretary, Janice, to send the email to Jack
using my SDS record of the discussion with Wendy, and to print a copy and put
it on Jack's desk, because he is not real keen yet with computers.
.. I click over to my schedule and see there is a task to call my Mother for
her birthday. I ask if she can meet for lunch.
.. After lunch, I get the budget from Helen showing the correct allocations
of expenses and budget authority. It is in hard copy, and there is a note on
how to link directly into the computer file document on the network. I make
this link in my SDS record for the work today, and link that into the agenda
for the meeting tomorrow.
I am now "wired" -- prepared for the meeting tomorrow.
Being prepared is a big goal in SDS.
With that task finished, I click to the Schedule to do the next task.
I click on the item to call the Wharton School of Business about lecturing on
This SDS record shows all of the background and related documents needed to
perform this work. It has talking points linked back to correspondence and
I call Jane Cooper at Wharton.
.. "New World Order" needs more Knowledge
She asks about the "New World Order needs Old Time Religion" paper, where it
explains how information is converted into knowledge. She asks if I remember
our discussion two weeks ago, when she mentioned that this idea is unfamiliar?
I say just a second, and click on the link to our discussion two weeks ago, and
there is the link into the NWO... paper. I click on that entry and it opens
the paper at the place that explains the relationship between "time" and
"information" that creates "knowledge."
Jane says she has never thought of
time and information
as being related.
At Wharton they treat these separately.
She called some colleagues at Harvard, Stanford, Columbia, at IBM, Microsoft
and other places where ideas and methods to improve management are under
.. Since we last talked a few weeks ago, Jane has thought about this idea
and mentioned it to friends and did some research, but no one has heard of
"converting information into knowledge." It hasn't been written up in the WSJ;
there are no classes or seminars at AMA, GWU, UCB, Cal Tech or anywhere that
new ideas come from.
I explain the concept comes from an emerging new world order that is increasing
the flow of information as a result of technology and an expanding number of
subjects that managers treat each day due to more regulations and a generally
busier world. These increases relative to a fixed 24 hour day, result in a
much greater incidence of hidden errors that I call
Jane says this sounds like "Murphy's Law"!
"That's right!" I reply.
We consider how people are forced to rely on personal recall because there is
not a ready means to capture and retrieve their understandings fast enough to
keep up with the pace of their work, and so they make incorrect mental
connections because there is not enough time to become confused which would
otherwise alert them to investigate rather than proceed in error. The result
is that people spend more time fixing mistakes than on moving ahead.
Jane says she is confused.
I say this shows she is an excellent manager.
Communication Metrics which is implemented by SDS enables people to measure
their understanding against the record of actual work, and thereby proactively
discover misunderstanding before action is taken that costs money, causes harm,
wastes time and takes more time and money to make corrections.
Jane says this sounds like it takes too much time. She recalled her boss
saying that good managers go with what feels right at the time to expedite, and
then adjust later. He said "expediting" is how top executives get things
done because they are excellent problem handlers and good communicators who
can talk people into saying "yes." That's what they teach MBA students at
Wharton, because that's what everybody else is teaching.
Juan walks into my office. He is all smiles. I ask Jane to hold for a second.
I tell Juan I am tied up and can see him in a few minutes.
Juan says he just stopped by to say he read my email and has scheduled a new
TQM meeting on using Communication Metrics. He says he will call me back about
logistics, and leaves.
I apologize to Jane. She says that's okay, and asks how investing intellectual
capital saves time?
I click on the record explaining how
religion (the original
meaning, not the present day meaning), use investing and linking to give
everyone today more time to be busy with important meetings, and phone calls
and documents that cause hidden mistakes commonly called "Murphy's Law." If
executives use automation to apply these same methodologies that have freed up
the time we would otherwise be spending on scavenging for nuts and berries,
then we might find a much greater harvest of more time.
Jane feels my remarks to the conference should focus on this idea. She says it
is still not clear, but it sounds helpful and a little frightening because it
is not in the WSJ. People have to take a chance on their own judgement about
the strength of the ideas. Jane says most people would rather have other
people in the WSJ and at Harvard tell them what to think.
.. I explain that like farming and religion, you have to experience the
power of investing intellectual capital before you can "know" it. Until you
gain experience, all you have is information. Of course taking the first step
to get experience requires faith in the strength of ideas. I mention that Juan
who just dropped by seems to have that faith. But even today, there are places
in remote regions where people have not caught on to the power of investing.
These nomadic foragers and hunter/gatherers lack the faith to take those first
steps to gain the experience that is essential to acquire new knowledge. As a
result they still don't "know" that they can save a lot of time by taking the
time to invest in growing more knowledge, rather than just foraging on whatever
.. Jane jokes that a lot of executives feel they are as smart as farmers,
though they often think of themselves as "hunter/warriors." That is the
challenge for executives, who worry about not having enough time to invest for
thinking. It sounds impressive to tell someone they have 30 seconds to explain
the Dead Sea Scrolls, but all these 30 second sound bites cause mistakes that
soon add up to incessant rounds of reengineering to reduce the domain. So the
lecture at Wharton will be aimed at the intellectual side in hopes that the
desire to build and prosper will overcome the nomadic desire for immediate
Jane says thanks, see you next week and hangs up.
I click back to my Schedule and open the record on TQM which has the
discussions with Juan. I enter Juan's comments which are already linked into
the Scheduled task two days ahead for follow-up.
I open the Doc Log and send an email to Wendy. It says simply:
You were right!
I link this SDS record to TQM. I do a subject report on using SDS at the
Company, and it gets the record of a discussion with Wendy last year when she
indicated that the way to introduce SDS, is to let people discover the benefits
from experience working with people who are experts, in the way Egyptian
Pharaohs used Scribes before writing became common place. I take a moment to
review to make sure this is the right background that supports our action.
At that time, Wendy observed how people want to do a better job; we all want
to make more money. People generally believe that lifting the capacity to
think, remember and communicate is the answer, but we need faith to sustain the
effort, because using SDS for the eight (8) steps of
Communication Metrics is a new profession that takes time to
evolve. Literacy began with a new professional role to accurately
remember important information. Since then, over thousands of years the
role of scribe has evolved into the practice of management. Today,
Communication Metrics adds an
which, up until now, has
been missing from traditional management practice. Adding
intelligence support greatly improves memory and analysis, and
results in converting information into useful knowledge. This fundamental
transformation from information to a culture of knowledge
to re-tool professional skills. People must first
become familiar with the basics and then gain
experience to sharpen expertise in order to benefit from a new way of working
with knowledge. Very few
people can draw faith for such a long journey solely from intellectual
constructs in a paper, only a few more from seeing a demonstration. Most
people must experience the power of knowledge from adding intelligence to
information in order to change from deeply rooted paths in the mind borne of an
ethos to avoid the unknown by conforming to long accepted practices for using
information technology. Wendy noted that even though people knew for thousands
of years that writing is a more powerful form of information management than
mere speaking, only within the past few hundred years, has writing become a
common practice for people to rely on information technology through meetings,
calls, email, fax and Powerpoint files.
.. Demonstrating through experience that SDS enables people and
organizations to make money, and save time and lives, by reducing mistakes and
revealing ideas and opportunity that are otherwise difficult to understand
during the fog of war that occurs each day on day on the job, helps the
company in the short term, and, also, fosters desire by others to gain control
over the power of knowledge in the same way that people previously acquired
command and control to create informaton.
That is the story of the "Genie in the Bottle." At first, people think the
Genie is funny jumping up and down and turning cartwheels inside the bottle to
gain attention. People rush by with narry a glance because, as with Alice
in Wonderland, everyone is late for an important date. There is not enough
time to think about how a funny Genie in a bottle might turn continual bumbling
into the power of knowledge. But when people first sense the Genie might be an
awsome new power, they are afraid to open the bottle. Our task is to find
creative ways to help people discover through experience over time that the
Genie is friendly, and that ultimately there is more to fear from the darkness
of ignorance than from the light of knowledge. This builds faith by
constructing an intellectual bridge, in the beginning one brick at a time, for
transformation from information to a culture of knowledge.
.. I say to myself, "Yeah, that seems like the idea that applies here."
I click to make the link, so if Wendy cannot remember what she was "right"
about, she can click to discover her knowledge again, and again, and as often
as needed, as explained in
I click back to my Schedule to see what's next.