Wisdom Management


By

Sridevi. K
II MBA
Tamilnadu College of Engineering
Karumathampatty, Coimbatore
 


"All the men are definitely magnanimous souls. But the man of wisdom in my opinion is verily like Myself. He is certainly situated in Me and attains the highest end."
                                                                                                                            -  The supreme lord said

INTRODUCTION:

The definitional ambiguities of knowledge management would be far exceeded by the definitional ambiguities of wisdom management, making it an unproductive endeavour. There is already a growing literature and service provision in the field of wisdom management. wisdom management pundits should be taken out and shot.

One can understand the progression from storytelling to leadership to wisdom. Both storytelling and leadership, in different ways, depend on "the willing suspension of disbelief". The storyteller asks his audience, "trust me, follow me, even when my story seems to defy the way everyday life works". The leader asks her people, "trust me, follow me, even when the path looks difficult and against your immediate interest". And the idea of wisdom management does seem to have that "trust me, I know best, you're not really qualified to question me" character to it. "Wisdom" is sufficiently imprecise to make its possession effectively unverifiable in a general objective way, and sufficiently confusable with charisma to make its claims believable at least by some.

DATA TO WISDOM:

The first is that the risks of asking for a willing suspension of disbelief escalate as you move from stories, to leadership actions, to general claims for "authentic" wisdom management. We know when we're listening to a story, and we generally know how to understand and trust stories. We also know how to assess the track record and reputation of leaders often through stories though it's easier to be let down badly by leaders than it is by stories.

But asking for generic trust for unverifiable wisdom management processes smacks of what cults do. If the message is at any point "you're not qualified to comment or think about this, you're not wise enough, trust the people who know" then you are definitely in cult-like territory with all its associated dangers.

The second problem is that wisdom management as an evolution of knowledge management takes KM in a retrograde direction. Wisdom management cannot but focus on the knowledge and ability of privileged individuals. It's possible to do good work in expertise transfer, and in building the capabilities of employees beyond information management, but this is only one aspect of KM and not its most critical.

The notion of wisdom management is a gigantic red herring based on an increasingly outdated individualism.


Wisdom has more to do with leadership and stories than management - perhaps 'wisdom leadership' as a moniker rather than wisdom management? as wisdom is more about the conversation and the personal experience. wisdom has more to do with leadership and stories than management - perhaps 'wisdom leadership' as a moniker rather than wisdom management? as wisdom is more about the conversation and the personal experience.

Wisdom is considered to be the highest form of knowledge.But what do we mean by Wisdom? Why is it important? How is it learned? And how does it relate to the pyramid of Data: Information: Knowledge: Wisdom?Over the past decade, "Effective learning is the only sustainable competitive advantage". This focus on Learning has been extended into a whole new industry called 'Knowledge Management'. This development has coincided with the widespread use of computers which created substantial new challenges from what is known as the 'information explosion'.

In parallel with these developments, there was the influence of the Millennium itself. That event was probably the greatest learning point in human history. Never before had so much intellectual effort been focused on reflecting on - and, in theory at least, learning from - our history. That reflective learning should have started by trying to define wh has been distilled into Wisdom by exploring three basic key questions:

  •  Where have we come from?
  •  What are we doing here? and
  •  Where are we going?

It is also needed to be recognised that more the change that is going on in society, the more important is that we make sure that our learning is as effective as possible. That is the only way we have any chance of being able to equate change with progress.To have a better future the first, and most important, thing that to be done is to improve the quality and effectiveness of our learning. Of course, the concepts behind the words: 'improve', 'better' and 'progress' are powerfully values-driven.

Management systems have witnessed a cumulative progression from data processing, through information technology, to the current knowledge management. The next step is wisdom.

Corporations can be informed, they can be knowledgeable, but in the global era they must increasingly become wise. Wisdom of enterprise, its definition, taxonomy, achievement and use are the purposes of the "wisdom project." Although the term wisdom is ancient and laden with substantial and significant philosophical meanings, our aim is not philosophical, but pragmatic, practical and useful. Wisdom should become like knowledge and information a manageable resource for the corporate spine of 4Es: Efficiency, Effectiveness, Explicability and Ethics.

Clearly, Efficiency is about doing things right, Effectiveness about doing the right things, Explicability about being able to understand and explain one's action, and Ethics about assuming responsibility for one's action. In the end, it is all about deciding, doing, and acting. It does not matter what we say, the only thing that matters is what we do.

WISDOM: ON THE ART OF ASKING WHY

Wisdom is knowing why things should or should not be done locally, regionally and globally and is, and will remain, in short supply. Wisdom is not practiced purposefully and it is not taught at schools. Asking Why is fundamentally different from asking How.

Whenever we explore a coordinated process in the sense of What or How (What is to be done, how sequenced, how performed, etc.) we already accept and fixate that process. The process is becoming a given, subject to learning or mastering, but not subject to exploration or change.

It is only when we start asking Why (Why to do it at all, why this operation and not another, why this sequence, etc.) we question the very structure of knowledge (coordination of action) and introduce the possibility of change. The Whys and the Why Nots are the most important questions in business and management and they should not be taken as givens.

In the global economy, frequent or continuous strategic change will become the norm of competitiveness. Doing the same, given thing better and better (continuous improvement) will be inadequate for strategic success. One has to do things differently (not just better) and do different things, not just the same ones. Such an important mode of strategic thinking cannot be learned and mastered by asking How, but only by asking Why.

STRATEGY AND STRATEGIC ACTION:

All presented concepts of "the spine" of 4Es and the taxonomy of knowledge have one important thing in common: they are all about action, all about doing. Only information is always and only about descriptions. Information is a symbolic description of action, past, present or future. Yet, business is not about managing descriptions, but about managing action. So, the need to move from information to knowledge and wisdom is tantamount to moving from words to deeds.

Wisdom project would usher in a new era of global corporate strategy. Strategy also is not about statements, but about action. Traditionally, organization executives prepare a set of statements, descriptions of future action: mission, vision, set of goals, plan or pattern for action and similar artifacts. All such statements are information. It all remains to be translated into action, into corporate knowledge.

It is also needed to be recognised that more the change that is going on in society, the more important is that we make sure that our learning is as effective as possible. That is the only way we have any chance of being able to equate change with progress.To have a better future the first, and most important, thing that to be done is to improve the quality and effectiveness of our learning. Of course, the concepts behind the words: 'improve', 'better' and 'progress' are powerfully values-driven.

Wisdom is often meant as the ability and desire to make choices that can gain approval in a long-term examination by many people. In this sense, to label a choice 'wise' implies that the action or inaction was strategically correct when judged by widely-held values.

To acknowledge the existence of wisdom assumes order and absolute. Wisdom is recognizing the difference between good and evil and choosing what is good. To acknowledge wisdom is also to acknowledge consequences for unwise or foolish choices.

As with all decisions, a wise decision must be made with incomplete information. But to act wisely, a sage must plan a reasonable future situation, desire the outcome to be broadly beneficial, and then act. A standard philosophical definition says that wisdom consists of 'making the best use of available knowledge.'

CONCLUSIONS:

Many modern authorities on government, religion and philosophical ethics say that wisdom connotes an 'enlightened perspective'. This perspective is often defined in a utilitarian way, as effective support for the long-term common good. Insights and acts that many people agree are wise tend to arise from a viewpoint compatible with many ethical systems, serve life, public goods or other impersonal values, not narrow self-interest be grounded in but not limited by past experience or history and yet anticipate future likely consequences be informed by multiple forms of intelligence reason, intuition, heart, spirit, etc." Only when a person has clear thinking and clear understanding, his communication can be wise. Wisdom teaches the managers to be forthcoming and courageous in taking right actions.The business managers should be forward looking, set goals for organizations, employees and themselves.
 


Sridevi. K
II MBA
Tamilnadu College of Engineering
Karumathampatty, Coimbatore
 

Source: E-mail April 17, 2009

 

         

 

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