Riding the Current by Finding the Right Crew

In Riding the Current: How to deal with the daily deluge of data, Madelyn Blair provides an excellent manual for knowledge workers, managers, and executives. The advice and insight in this book is the closest that I have seen that aligns with my PKM Seek > Sense > Share framework. There is a lot in the book, which is filled with anecdotes, concepts, frameworks, and exercises. It covers both knowledge seeking from a formal and an informal perspective, and I would recommend it for any organization.

Madelyn, who sent me the book after we had a few of conversations over the past couple of months, uses a journey metaphor of Setting Out; Selecting the Vessel; Finding the Right Crew; Stocking Supplies; Equipping for the Dive; Deciding to Dive Deep; and Taking Charge. In Finding the Right Crew, there are three key roles:

Accompanier: Facilitates accomplishment of the task by providing information and/or contacts.

Practice Partner: Creates a learning environment of conversation, listening, and questioning, all with an appreciative attitude.

Fellow Seeker: Is a seeker just like the primary seeker, willing to engage in conversation and think critically and appreciatively.

Finding people to fill these roles can greatly assist our own sense-making. We should find Accompaniers who are more knowledgeable or experienced than we are in our journey. They are like mavens. A practice partner can connect us to the work to be done and help keep us focused. They understand our work or life context. Fellow seekers are the most open to our sharing and are often not judgemental as they are trying to make sense themselves.

PKM Finding the Right CrewHere is what Madelyn has found that others have said about finding the right crew:

  • Seek out those who are expert in your areas of need or simply practice in them
  • Seek out and join new communities of practice
  • Create a community of practice
  • Attend conferences and listen carefully
  • Keep looking for ideas, not just perfecting skills
  • Call in peers to assist you in the next challenge
  • Make it a habit to regularly ask the question, “What am I assuming about this?”
  • Find a ‘thinking partner’ and learn together how to be each other’s thinking partner - Nancy Kline: Time to Think

I would highly recommend this book if you are in any way interested in personal knowledge management.

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