Stanford Solutions - Services

By: Knowmap  09-12-2011
Keywords: Mapping, Knowledge Management

Stanford Solutions - Services

This includes mission mapping, knowledge flow audits, mapping and analyzing results, working with individuals and groups to facilitate necessary change to improve knowledge flow.

Simply put, knowledge management is the fostering and leveraging of learning to increase profit or wealth of stakeholders, whether the profits are monetary or other and whether the stakeholders include those with interests in a for profit or non-profit organization. Some call this building the "learning organization" while others call it the "earning organization" or an organization learning to earn.

Knowledge can be used for innovation for new customer-focused products, better problem solving and wiser decision-making. Stanford Solutions offers consulting on single projects or parts of projects, sharing expertise to foster problem solving and decision-making by the group or team helping them move forward toward their objectives or goals.

The principal of Stanford Solutions has successfully conducted consulting contracts with government and industry. Consulting engagements have included assisting in the following:

  • Determining needs and business drivers
  • Defining mission and goals to fulfill needs
  • Planning strategy to reach these goals
  • Presenting initiatives to ensure strategy is implemented
  • Guiding the implementation of these initiatives
  • Measuring success
  • Assessing gaps and other areas for improvement

Tools used to conduct consulting contracts have included knowledge audits and maps. Some projects have required auditing and mapping knowledge flow to determine gaps and blockages that need to be resolved. Having this done by an external impartial consultant ensures individuals are open and honest since their anonymity is protected. Often internal attempts to assess problems in knowledge flow results in negative impacts or the perceived possibility of negative impacts on participants. This tends to engender the issuing of right answers to questions rather than the true answers needed.

In consulting as in all the other processes, Stanford Solutions' aim is not to solve the problem for the client, but rather to impart process and learning to ensure independent future problem solving and decision-making capability.

We follow the philosophy "Give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, he is fed for life."

Once a decision is made and change agreed upon, even if that change is seen as necessary and desirable by the entire team or organization, change is not easy. It may require facilitation to enable the individuals, teams and organization to move forward from the decision to action.

Change is only easy if people are not required to change. Today we hear terms such as change stress and change fatigue due to the rapid and constant changes facing workers in the emerging knowledge society.

This stress causes burnout faster than facing the same demanding routine each day. Stress results in lost productivity not just from the individuals having difficulty with change but with the conflict created within and between teams. Punishments for bad behaviours and rewards to those deemed to be good only exacerbate the problem.

Facilitating change assists two or more dissenting sides reach a satisfactory agreement and action plan. It also determines the underlying mission and needs of each individual and how those align to the overall needs of the team and of the entire organization. Sometimes blocks are encountered in attempts to move forward. There may be conflicts in conception of who should do what and how it should be done. Most conflicts are labelled "personality conflicts". In reality most conflicts are goal, principle and interest related.

One side sees one set of options due to its principles, goals and interests while the other side is seeing a different set due to differing principles, goals and interests. The only way out is often seen as one of the following options:

  1. Majority rule - the side with the most votes wins
  2. Power or authority rule - the side or person with the most power wins
  3. Compromise - some alternative or watered down version is attempted so that the sides can "meet in the middle".

In (a) and (b) above there are clear winners and clear losers. In (c) both sides lose. In a compromise all parties have to make sacrifices in principles, goals and interests to achieve "overall success". Unfortunately, usually no one feels success. Thus there is no such thing as "overall success" in compromise.

The best solution is consensus but this is hard to achieve without either resorting to compromise or delaying actionable decisions for long periods of time during which exhausting debate ensues while trying to convince others of why your way is the best or only way.

True consensus does not debate but encompasses the principles, goals and interests of all participants without any sacrifice in the final solution. Stanford Solutions uses knowledge mapping tools to help everyone share principles, goals and interests in a safe environment. Then solutions are sought that will ensure all can maintain their principles, reach their goals and further their interests through the final solution. The team then develops an action plan capable of implementation and support.

The results have been labelled as "magic" and participants have suggested this magic should be bottled and sold. Unfortunately no way to bottle this magic has been found yet, but Stanford Solutions is willing and able to come into your workplace in person or virtually (telephone and email) to work this magic in achieving lasting and satisfying consensus.

Performance coaching refers to one-on-one relationships helping an individual to reach more of his or her potential for success. Performance coaching can also be delivered to a group or organization by determining factors for success and appropriate motivational actions.

Stanford Solutions is versed in RIOB (Responsibilities, Indicators, Objectives and Behaviours), 360-degree feedback, the Balanced Scorecard and other methods of aligning individual and organizational goals and improving performance. Also we realize the pitfalls that in many cases lead to these becoming more time-consuming than worthwhile and less motivating than intended. The approach used is to honour the individual, to draw out his or her best and to help each and every one succeed as a part of many different teams.

Past clients have included the following:

  • Business owners encountering difficult decisions on what to do next, for example diversify versus focus
  • Key employees facing difficulty coping with changing work situations
  • New employees wondering how best to fit into a new workplace and often a new residence as well
  • Unemployed or employed individuals deciding new and future career paths, resumes and covering letters, and preparing for being interviewed
Some comments from past clients:
(Names have been changed since coaching relationships are held in strict confidence)

"I would have quit my job, uprooted my family again and moved back to my former city without a job and house. After six months of coaching from you, I am now very happy with my move and have been acknowledged as top sales rep in my organization." Mike

"My fear of failure was gone after our two hour coaching session and I aced the interview due to my confidence. It was the best interview I had ever had." Dave

"I was very fearful of my boss who was constantly undermining me. Several months into our coaching relationship, I gained the confidence to leave the company with my head held high and land a more fulfilling position with co-workers and leaders who truly care about each other." Ellen

"I was very frustrated with my investors who did not see eye-to-eye with me, but I saw no clear out from this mess. After several months of coaching from you, I gained the confidence and vision to seek a new more compatible investor to buy-out those .. [causing the frustrations]." Bob

"I was really puzzled about what career I wanted to pursue as I was unhappy with those I had held before. You helped me see what really 'turned me on' and what skill gaps I needed to close to successfully pursue my dream." Shannon

"You convinced me I could do it [succeed with the new workplace opportunity presented to her] by drawing out my confidence and exposing the nature of my fears. I have had two promotions each with large salary increases since gaining the courage to tackle the previously formidable challenge." Jenny

© 2000-02 Stanford Solutions
All material on this site is the intellectual property of Stanford Solutions Inc. and may not be copied in any way (whether in whole or part, intact or altered, printed or electronic) nor used in any commercial or non-profit venture without the express permission of the owner of Stanford Solutions.
Stanford Solutions is not affiliated with nor sponsored by Stanford University.
The principal of Stanford Solutions is named Xenia Stanford.
Last Updated: 4 October 2000

Keywords: Knowledge Management, Mapping

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KnowMap - Categories

Without a proper culture in place it is next to impossible for the professional to reach his or her full potential or contribute to better knowledge management practices. Each issue may include a number of Toolkit articles under any of the following headings: Standards & Conventions, Mapping and Auditing. How to punish and reward to foster knowledge sharing has been the topic of many early articles on knowledge management initiatives.