Umberto Eco’s statement “Was zählt, ist was ich nicht gelesen habe…” is a good representation of the vast amount of knowledge humanity already has available collectively. But can we even comprehend how much knowledge there is collectively? If you take a look at the circle figure, it gives a (not fit to exact scale) image of knowledge distribution. If we would be able to count all the existing knowledge and map that onto what a single human can comprehend in his/her own brain (the “What you know” segment in the circle), then the segment would be probably invisible in this picture. The same is probably valid for the segment “What You Know You Don’t Know”. Which leaves almost the full circle for the “What You Don’t Know You Don’t Know”. So in the end, you don’t know anything significant. So you have to realize that you will probably never make it through the whole circle, it’s just too much. So you have to rely on others. You have to rely very much on others. And be prepared to accept that others have knowledge you don’t have. And that ‘external’ knowledge might be very valuable, so you have to consider linking it to you own knowledge. This all starts by trust. The more you trust another’s knowledge and the better you and the other are able to link your mutual knowledge, the more you’re knowledge together can grow and add value. Create something more beautiful together than if it was based on your sole knowledge. So stop trying to control others by knowledge you yourself don’t have, start trusting others to fill in part of the puzzle. Make knowledge work together.
Posts tagged ‘trust’
Information overload is something we can really suffer from. We are increasingly capable of producing much more information collectively than we’ll ever be able to consume individually. So there must be a lot of wasted information out there. Produced but not consumed. Or consumed, filtered, and categorized as ‘waste of time’. Certain readers could categorize this very blog to also be in that category of information overload or waste. But we tend to blame ourselves for not being able to filter the overload on information. The more we start trusting each other, the less we need to write things done to prove the trust, and the less we need to read the stuff that is there to convince each other to trust each other.
So an effective means against information overload is trust. Another effective means we need to further develop is global consciousness. The more the global consciousness, the less we will need to convince each other about what’s happening in the world. A third tool is universal consciousness. This is a tool we also need to develop further. It is based on more and more people who are capable of understanding each other’s thoughts and intentions ‘naturally’ or ‘intuitively’ without having to first produce ‘material’ information intended to be consumed using regular communication channels. These 3 tools together can become increasingly effective information overload mitigations.
I used to be a control-freak. Seeing things that others did “wrong” in my judgment. Seeing opportunities for preventing others make mistakes. Adding structure where I thought others created chaos. Adding principles where I thought others must be missing them. Adding policies where I thought others needed them for damage control. Promoting standards to limit innovation where others in fact needed room for innovation. Adding governance where I thought others must be governed. Ignoring the idea that others must have a chance for the necessary learning experiences. Until I read the statement “Relax. Nothing is under Control” from Adi Da Samray. Since then I am more and more convinced that too much control isn’t desired. And if any, control should not be aimed at controlling others but rather on helping others. So I am learning now how to let go of things I used to want to have “under control”. Learning to transform my controller “role” into a helper role. And I discovered some useful instruments that support me with this transformation. They’re very easy to use and they’re free. They are virtues. The most important virtue that can help letting “control” go is trust. If you trust another person, you’re allready halfway there. Think of it this way: the cost of structural lack of trust will probably be many times higher than the benefits of structural trust. Another virtue is forgiveness. If another person makes a learning mistake and you forgive them, you’re at 75%. People make mistakes, you too! Accept it as a fact! Allow ample room to learn. If you practice patience when things aren’t quite going the way you would like (for example not fast enough) you’re at 85%. I like to compare this to the “angels” patience I must practice when training my dog for agility: it works!. And then there is respect. If you respect that not everyone has the same learning skills as you would maybe like, you’re at 90%. Not everyone is equally talented so the real “talent management” is to accept talent diversity and integrate the available talents. Acceptance brings you to 95%. And finally, add a little love on top to help take away (suppressed) fears. Now you’re at 100%. To wrap things up: 50% trust, 25% forgiveness, 10% patience, 5% respect, 5% acceptance and 5% love are useful ingredients that help me transform my role from controller to helper. The percentages are just an example, they can be adapted to any situation. Good luck with practicing these virtues and please let me know if they also worked for you. Picture source here.
This here to the left is my lovely Sheltie dog. She is called Fayah and is now (2011) about 3 years old. I practice agility with her and have learned a lot about how to observe her and act accordingly. One could say that she has learned me how to lead her. The trainers learned me how to learn this stuff all by myself. And my dog learned me how I should let her develop her capabilities all by herself. In the beginning it takes some rehearsal and sometimes endless patience, but in the end both my dog and I get rewarded! So it’s worth the patience and rehearsal. It pays off to rehearse and learn, even though in the beginning you don’t see immediate benefits. So how do you train your dog for agility? Look at the center picture. It is an example of a rather generic dog agility parcours. You could call it the architecture of the agility. It consists of predetermined building blocks. We call them devices. They have been designed by architects for flexibility and yet are worldwide standardized. There are no tight couplings. All devices can be moved around independently. Combined together they can be arranged to form any type of parcours, endless combinations are possible. So with a few basic, very simple, standardized building blocks you can achieve a lot of flexiblity. Developing the arrangement is someting the trainer or coach often does. The building blocks get rearranged often at random but never identical to previous arrangements. This makes that the dogs don’t get too boared. The arrangement is thus every time again a surprise for the dogs so they need to think and work hard for it. But before starting agility training your dog must have had some basic training. In this basic training you build a basic relationship with your dog and you practice basic commands like follow, sit, wait, go etc. I also followed some additional training to learn how to communicate with my dog (or in fact with any animal). At Brigitta’s practice location I participated in both the basic and advanced training, a total of four excellently led training days. I can certainly recommend this training. Now when the first agility training starts you rehearse device by device. Once you’ve mastered two or more individual devices you learn to combine them in a route (or arrangement).
We are all living inside boxes we have designed ourselves. They exist purely because it’s the way we can hide (abstract) complexity we cannot or do not want to oversee. Or to hide our fear of not being able to cope with the complexity. But how do boxes help us in managing relationships? Look at the top left figure. We placed a box around a number of people we think have to work or be together for some reason. And then we call this box a department (or a company, or enterprise or whatever scale you want to give it). And this box is then supposed to manage relationships with it’s direct environment, but that is not that easy, since we locked ourselves inside the box. We also tend to do this with technology: integrating parts until they fit inside some box. We then call this box a PC or server or application or active component or suite or ecosystem or whatever. And we managed to hide all the complexity inside these boxes, we abstracted it all out. So we don’t have to worry about handling relationships from this box to it’s environment, that is something others must do. So we don’t have to take responsibility for the relationship management: we choose the easy way out. But there are also other ways! We could try to find openings in the box. Maybe taking away one of the pillars would already help enourmously while still providing enough structure. We could also try to take away the glass ceiling and provide facilities to get out of the box via the ceiling (look at the center figure). And then there is even a more extreme way: we could take away the complete box and try to manage our relationships without any predefined structure or control. Look at the figure to the right where the bird sitting in the hand seems to have a good or at least trustful relationship with the hand, and yet seems to have total freedom to fly away whenever it wants. It represents my way of looking at an “ideal” degree of freedom in ICT architectures. Maybe one day, it will become your way too?