User login

Acquiring, Evaluating, and Implementing Information in a Knowledge-Driven Economy

(September 2008) posted on Tue Sep 09, 2008

The old saying "knowledge is power" is more true today than ever before. Find out why old ways of thinking and applying information need to be changed in order for business and society to flourish.


By Mark A. Coudray

As long as things are not changing, and we continue in a repetitive mass-assembly model, no problem. But this model collapses when change presents itself. The entire purpose of how the employee was initially trained becomes irrelevant. His purpose no longer creates value. Now it’s change or die, meaning plant closure or lay-off. The situation is usually too far gone to address by the time it’s recognized. I’ve been involved in a number of large-scale factory turnarounds over the last 20 years that have come in the late stages of this realization. The usual result is a temporary immediate improvement—delaying the inevitable. It doesn’t have to be this way.

 

What we need to do

This is a societal issue. You can’t change the education model overnight. But you can influence it locally. Get involved. Bring these issues forward. You may not think you have a voice, but a large groundswell of recognition and support for this kind of change exists.

On the immediate level, change-management methods must be assessed and implemented. All kinds of tools are available for this. Begin your own educational process to discover what will work in your own situation. A quick Google search on change-management tools delivers 187,000 results.

W. Edwards Deming is well known for his admonition to “drive fear from the workplace.” Fear, to me, means False Evidence Appearing Real, another way of saying fear of the unknown. Simply put, fear is failing to get the facts and understanding how they will change our current world and perspective.

We cannot resist change—it is evolutionary and progressive. We can embrace the tools to manage it. Driving fear from the workforce will take time because it requires the worker to trust management. A fundamental distrust has existed between workers and owners and managers for the last 100 years. They do not understand what we do or why we do it. They are fearful of their jobs because they don’t know how to deal with the coming change. This leads to resistance to ideas and implementation, and the cycle repeats.


Terms:

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to the magazine.