How do organisations produce ignorance and how to overcome this?

In the second day of the 2011 KM Singapore conference Patrick Lambe from Straits Knowledge offered great insights on how organisations are often prone to follow negative patterns and take bad decisions, in spite of the talent of the individuals that form them.

According to Patrick, organisations are subject to what he defines “programmed behaviours”: some patterns of behaviours are handed to us by our culture and pushed to us by the situation we are in. Patrick identifies some ‘tyrannies’ that determine negative pattern behaviours: amongst others, the tyranny of plans, of culture, and of infrastructure are often the cause of negative patterns.

How to avoid this situation?

For Patrick, the first step is to be aware and accept that these tyrannies exists and negative pattern behaviours do happen. Secondly he stresses how leadership teams need to be more aware of the programmed behaviours that they themselves are exhibiting, especially the phenomenon of “mutual ignorance“. This occurs when we are just imagining what other people wants and act on those assumptions rather than exploring how other people are thinking. Senior leadership drives the behaviour of an organisation in lots of ways. That way they should become more “questioning of each other and more interested in the drivers and motives of colleagues”.

Tags: kmsg, kmsingapore2011, knowledge management