Are you a multiplier or a diminisher?

The most important, and indeed the truly unique, contribution of management in the 20th century was the fifty-fold increase in the productivity of the manual worker in manufacturing.

The most important contribution management needs to make in 21st century is similarly to increase the productivity of knowledge work and the knowledge worker.

The most valuable assets of the 20th-century company were its production equipment. The most valuable asset of a 21st-century institution, whether business or non-business, will be its knowledge workers and their productivity.

Peter Drucker, Management Challenges of the 21st Century

You’ve probably read this quote before. If not this exact quote, then something like it.

If you are like most people that I talk to, you probably agree with it.

Then what’s the problem?

If we agree that knowledge and knowledge workers are our most important assets, why do so many firms have such a hard time leveraging those assets?

Actually that’s not going far enough.

Why do firms prioritize the urgent but tactical issues of the day over the development of knowledge and knowledge workers ?

I’m not going to write about that today.

But I will tell you that I just read Multipliers by Liz Wiseman and Greg McKeown.

Their take is that there are two types of people – diminishers and multipliers. Diminishers are primarily concerned with being perceived as geniuses.  Multipliers would rather be perceived as genius makers.

I think that many of the answers to my questions above can be found in this book.

It seems to me that a multiplier/genius maker mindset is a fundamental precondition to effective organizational learning and knowledge management.

(That’s my way of saying that I think you should read the book.)

Posted: August 3rd, 2010 | Filed under: General | Tags: | 3 Comments »

3 Comments on “Are you a multiplier or a diminisher?”

  1. 1 Hamilton Esi said at 7:43 am on August 4th, 2010:

    Using the metaphor of “battles” I think Sun Tzu summarized it well in the following quote…

    “Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat”…

    Interpretation: The urgent and tactical issues you will always have and will always be priorities, so it is important to be able to respond to them. However, the issue of knowledge development is equally important and the wise organizations will find the balance between the two.

    So how do we turn knowledge development into an “urgent and tactical issue” while remaining a key strategic instrument? Therein lies the rub… but I think I know how…

  2. 2 Christopher Parsons said at 7:01 pm on August 4th, 2010:

    That’s well played Hamilton.

    Are you keeping your answer to yourself?

  3. 3 Hamilton Esi said at 12:40 pm on August 9th, 2010:

    Happy to share – for starters the divide (between operational development and tactical issues) needs to be bridged… the key to success lies in how that “bridging” is accomplished…