Friday, December 10, 2004

Job description

There's 18 inches of powder in the mountains today, and I'm asking myself why am I sitting in my office. Because I need to finish my position description, yeah right...

In August, I was promoted to the position of KM Coordinator. I was then asked to create my position description. Months later, after numerous discussions, strategic, and even a consultant, I'm finally ready to write my job description. And what a piece of work it is...

In preparing the description, I realized that many of the important skills couldn't be captured. You definitely don't want to put managing your manager in your job description. Here are some items that are hard to include in a formal position description:

  • Need to be a communicator - Of course, verbally and written. What I have found to be most important are informal conversations.
  • Listening - Most of my ideas start from conversations with others. What's their challenge, what worked for them, etc... Also, since in many cases they're the ones that actually carrying out the task, it better to account for how they work.
  • Strong facilitation skills - KM activities require a lot of meetings, running an effective meeting is a huge challenge. Many activities are cross unit, so you need to develop consensus among a wide range of people. Conflict resolution skills are essential.
  • Virtual leadership - get folks on board without any real authority (selling the idea because it makes sense, but without being their boss)
  • Ability to vision and explain that vision to others - tie your vision into the organization vision. Plant the seeds for the vision every chance you get.
  • Patience, patience, patience .... - Ability to accept that only small parts of the vision may be adopted at any time, yet eventually ... Also, first generations of an idea may fall short of your vision. You need to give people time to catch up or change the idea to fit them.
  • Dogged determination - As our management consultant told me, "you get bloodied, yet still come back for more." Very rarely is an idea accepted the first time its proposed. Much of what I'm doing now was first proposed in the mid-90's. Our organization just wasn't ready at that time. The challenge is not to take the defeats personally (I'm still working on that one).
  • Multi-discipline understanding - Over the years I have taken short courses or studied the literature on innovation, training, learning, social interactions, communication, marketing, cultural change, business processes, technology. The list goes on ... All the things that I didn't learn in college studying engineering. A good example was a training course on the generation gap, how different age group embrace technology. Blogging is definitely a stretch for a baby boomer...

I could go on and on, but I better go back to work.

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