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Building a Knowledge-Driven Organization Hardcover – March 15, 2004

ISBN-13: 063-9785385073 ISBN-10: 0071384715 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 300 pages
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill; 1 edition (March 15, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0071384715
  • ISBN-13: 978-0071384711
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,129,432 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Buckman Lab's technical experts and far-flung sales force conduct dozens of virtual conversations each day, trading tips on arcane points of paper and leather making, water purification and sewage treatment. In the process, they've made this closely held, Memphis, Tenn., chemical company with USD300 million in annual sales, a leading practitioner in the emerging field of knowledge management." -The Wall Street Journal; "Buckman Labs has become a Mecca for other companies looking for "how-to" lessons in the art and science of knowledge management. Executives from AT&T, 3M, Champion International, International Paper company, and US West have made the pilgrimage to this small, privately held chemical company to look and learn. What they've seen is a company that is fast, global, and interactive, built on a system that is simple, powerful, and revolutionary." -Fast Company "Buckman doesn't just sell chemicals, it sells human chemistry." -BusinessWeek"

From the Back Cover

"With knowledge [as] the only source of sustainable advantage, bringing knowledge effectively to bear on customer problems is Secret No. 1 to success. Bob Buckman's story of turning a traditional company into something completely new and different is both practical and inspiring. Building a Knowledge-Driven Organization should become an instant classic."

--Tom Peters

"Buckman Labs may have been the first company to realize that speed of knowledge sharing was a driver of cash flow and competitive advantage. Buckman pioneered collaboration around the globe to solve customer problems and create new business. This book is a powerful record of Bob Buckman's two decades of leadership and experience creating the deep cultural and human context for knowledge--and cash--to flow. If you want to know what works--and what doesn't--read this book."

--Carla O'Dell, Ph.D., President, American Productivity & Quality Center, and author of If Only We Knew What We Know: the internal transfer of knowledge and best practices.

"A must-read for executives trying to drive a knowledge management program, or for that matter any technology-based initiative."

--Dave Snowden, Director of IBM's Cynefin Centre for Organisational Complexity

"Bob Buckman--arguably the first CEO to personally lead a knowledge-based corporate strategy--combines a bold vision with practical tips for how organizations can become team-based and knowledge- and solutions- driven."

--Brook Manville, Chief Learning Officer, Saba Software; Former Partner and Director of Knowledge Management, McKinsey

"Buckman Labs' technical experts and far-flung sales force conduct dozens of virtual conversations each day, trading tips on arcane points of paper and leather making, water purification and sewage treatment. In the process, they've made this closely held, Memphis Tennessee chemical company with $360 million in sales, a leading practitioner in the emerging field of knowledge management."--The Wall Street Journal

"Buckman Labs has become a Mecca for other companies looking for "how-to" lessons in the art and science of knowledge management. Executives from many Fortune 500 companies have made the pilgrimage to look and learn from a company that is fast, global, and interactive, and built on a system that is simple, powerful, and revolutionary."--Fast Company

In the early 1980's, when Buckman Laboratories was scrambling to meet the rapidly changing needs of its customers, CEO Robert Buckman realized that an organization positioned for the future would have to be organized around knowledge--creating it, sharing it, and applying it--rather than around traditional corporate hierarchies and systems. He embraced this belief, and created a knowledge-sharing culture among Buckman Labs' 1400 associates serving in 80 countries. Buckman Labs became the undisputed pioneer and leader in implementing knowledge management.

Building a Knowledge-Driven Organization is a practical primer on how your managers and employees can move from "hoarding" knowledge in order to gain power to "sharing" it--building a global strategy that will allow your organization to respond faster than your competition to any customer's need, anywhere. The book focuses on the hardest part of knowledge management--the people side--explaining exactly what it takes to get your employees to contribute to a knowledge system. Buckman explains how to turn a fragmented, geographically dispersed group of people and information into a seamless array of knowledge that can be directed whenever and wherever it is needed. He reveals that the greatest challenges are not technical but political--and explains how you can effectively orchestrate a culture change in your organization, drawing from the hard-won lessons learned by Buckman Laboratories in implementing its award-winning knowledge systems. You'll discover, as Buckman did, how to:

  • Be customer driven and customer centric in your knowledge sharing
  • Break down hierarchies and build a knowledge-based corporate strategy
  • Motivate and enable employees to share their expertise around the organization
  • Implement the organizational values and climate of trust required for a knowledge sharing culture
  • Push organizational knowledge to the front lines to solve customer problems and create new products

Building a Knowledge-Driven Organization will show you how to solve your customers' problems rapidly, share best practices, increase productivity, and produce tremendous results.

Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Robert David STEELE Vivas HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on December 18, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Every once in a while airport bookstores carry something truly extraordinary. This is such a book. It is so utterly perfect, sensible, readable, and on target that Monday I am buying copies to give to colleagues I know are interested in making more of our global information accessible and actionable.

I am sure this book will alter the perceptions of any management team in any domain. At a larger level of international information sharing, what the Swedes are calling M4 IS (multi-national, multi-agency, multi-disciplinary, multi-dimensional (or multi-domain) information sharing), this book is the single best and most practical book for turning Industrial era organizations into Information era organizations.

There have been other great books that captured some of these ideas early on, from the popular (Alvin and Heidi Toffler's POWERSHIFT, Paul Strassmann's Information PayOff) to the inspired (Thomas Stewart's Wealth of Knowledge, Barry Carter's Infinite Wealth : A New World of Collaboration and Abundance in the Knowledge Era), but this is the one that I think absolutely must be read by every flag officer and every colonel aspiring to be a flag officer, and their counterparts across all industries.

Heavily marked up, this book is already a classic. The author is brilliant in an elegant understandable manner in making several key points in an action-oriented implementation-facilitating fashion:

1) Technology is the easy part--changing the culture is the hard part (from information hoarding to information sharing)

2) Command and control stovepipes are a big part of the problem--we have to nurture trust and responsibility in all levels by giving all levels access to all information (within reason).
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Pritchett on July 31, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Elevator pitch
Robert Buckman is the CEO emeritus of Memphis, TN chemical vendor Buckman Laboratories. I discovered his 2004 book Building a Knowledge-Driven Organization during a hopeful search on "knowledge management" at a Memphis Library kiosk. This was my first real offline research in the collaboration field and I was pleased to find such a good-looking book with multiple copies on the shelf.

The jacket copy bills Buckman Labs as a bleeding-edge leader in the knowledge management space, winning awards by setting high knowledge management standards for more hidebound companies to chase. The book gets interesting in a hurry when Buckman starts tossing out traditional knowledge management ideals and downplays the extensive use of technology in his successful knowledge initiatives.

Overcome outdated priorities through culture change
This book's fundamental principle is that knowledge is the most valuable asset a globally competing company can have. Workers create and store knowledge in the course of their jobs. Customers hold vital knowledge that can reshape the goals and processes of your company. Employees change jobs and companies and the knowledge they have accumulated in their former positions needs to be tapped. Buckman argues that by putting in place a culture of knowledge sharing and openness a company positions itself to excel.

This culture is to be created by setting company-wide values of knowledge sharing and spending heavily on facilitating technology. Buckman is the sort of boss whose employees always have the best computers money can buy - he doesn't want to worry about a high-priced employee losing valuable work time to inferior tools.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By T. Sales on January 20, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I identified and then purchased this book while using the "if you like this book, then you'll also like this book" tool on Amazon. As other reviewers note, the book is dated but it shows you early efforts the author used to make his company relevant as organizations were first realizing the need for applying knowledge at the point of need in the 1980-2000 timeframe--just as the Internet was starting to change the way we do things.

I rate the book only 3 stars because I think Bob Buckman had to use quite a bit of hindsight in looking back at how his organization made technical and cultural change management decisions in convincing employees to adopt a new way of working. In the beginning of the book it appeared we would be seeing how and why employees became convinced to start sharing their knowledge and how gaining access to the knowledge of the entire corporation actually remade relationships with their customers. Unfortunately, Buckman fell into a "looking back" perspective of how their decisions about systems and how they convinced employees to adopt -- typically from a management perspective. I'm sometimes leery about purchasing McGraw Hill books because they typically gravitate to that top-down, follow-these-guidelines-we-used, and platitudes viewpoint. This book fell into that pattern as well.

None of which is to demean Bob Buckman or the service he provided in writing this book. It is awe-inspiring how he saw where the future was heading with networks and evolving communication styles and embraced those for his company. Even with the above criticisms, he demonstrates the overall need for all businesses and organizations to tap what each employee can offer.

Today we are surrounded with tools and social media that corporations are trying to embrace.
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