A lot of people have mentioned the Stephen Collins Knowledge Worker 2.0 "Power to the people" slides. If you haven't seen them and you are interested in the topic, go have a look. You can check other feedback via his post that also links to the slides, Power to the people.
Collins' essential point is that companies need to change their mind about what constitutes a knowledge worker, assuming they've thought about it at all. They aren't just librarians or laboratory researchers. They can be the people all around (internal AND external). It's a question of how you engage and motivate them.
I particularly liked the reference to another discussion by Tara Hunt on Unmanaging: Unleashing the Creative Beast. Collins frames the problem with old school management from Hunt, and then Collins refers to her again in the end with conditions that make knowledge work flourish. (I also like her list of don't-say-this--say-this-instead statements.)
I Am Knowledge Worker 2.0, Hear Me Roar
Business in the early 21st Century has changed. Along with it, workers have changed. No longer tied up in process, modern knowledge workers need to be synthesizers or T-shaped or fuzzy or bursty. Or all of these things. They want tools that the IT department hasn’t approved - and isn’t going to any time soon. They are as demanding and insistent as those Gen-Y kids, yet they aren’t the right age. They want to “connect” and “have a conversation”. They talk about “engagement in a community” and want to open the wall to your clients and customers. Worse yet, they want to be the ones talking to clients and customers! They refuse to answer email as it arrives. They’re never at their desk. Yet they always get things done and more often than not, they over-deliver on their commitments.
They are Knowledge Worker 2.0.
How do you deal with these people? How do you get their managers and peers to understand they’re not slacking off? How do you get them and their thoughts in a place where they can play nice with their more traditional co-workers?
Stephen Collins introduces the Knowledge Worker 2.0 and offers up some strategies and tactics for them to deal with their “frustrating” co-workers and for their managers and peers to cope with, understand and learn from them.