This website covers knowledge management, personal effectiveness, theory of constraints, amongst other topics. Opinions expressed here are strictly those of the owner, Jack Vinson, and those of the commenters.

Learning to forget

Brett Miller has some interesting thoughts about memory and anti-memory: Technology makes it easy to "remember," the trick is learning how to forget

[snip] In the context of mastery, especially of something new, it is sometimes hard to know when to forget what you’ve learned. You have to build up a solid foundation of basic knowledge, the things that have to be done. And at some point you start to build up tacit knowledge of what you are trying to master. And this, the tacit knowledge that goes into learning and mastery, is probably the hardest thing to learn how to forget.

Sometimes, though, it is critical to forget what you know so you can continue to improve. Witness Tiger Wood’s reinvention of his swing, twice, and Neil Peart’s reinvention of his drumming.

This idea has been bouncing around knowledge management circles for a while, cropping up from time to time.  Brett mentions the disregard many have for best practice implementations because they simply reinforce what we already know.  And there always those jokes about people filling their brains with "too much" knowledge, forcing them to throw out stuff they used to know when they have to accommodate some new piece of information.

I have a thought.  Rather than argue whether best practices or benchmarking studies are a good idea, we should be checking where the organization is going.  If the organizational context is the same, then the best practices will remain valuable.  But if the direction for the organization is changing (either on purpose or because the industry is changing), then those practices may not help in the future.  And the fun thing here is that we can't always say when those fundamental changes are going to come. 

Step back from the day-to-day to check the direction.  What do we "know" that is no longer valuable?  What do we need to do differently?

Cool tools: OnePipe

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