An Introduction to the
MG Taylor Network

"The distinguishing characteristic of networks is that they contain no clear center and no clear outside boundaries. Within a network everything is potentially equidistant from everything else. . . .

The vital distinction between the self (us) and the nonself (them) — once exemplified by the fierce loyalty of the organization man in the industrial era — becomes less meaningful in a network economy. The only "inside" now is whether you are on the network or off. . . .

Consultant John Hagel says, 'A web limits risk. It allows companies to make irreversible investments in the face of technological uncertainty. Companies with a web enjoy expanding sourcing and distribution options, while their fixed investment and skill requirements fall.'"

- Kevin Kelly, New Rules for the New Economy:
10 Radical Strategies for a Connected World
, 1998, pp. 65 - 66.

Clients, partners, and our network 'newbies' often get the impression that MG Taylor is relatively large. This impression is not without warrant; MG Taylor knowledge workers staff corporate offices, NavCenter(sm), knOwhere(sm) stores, and various engagements all over the country. Many of these facilities and activities are concurrent and ongoing. At any given time, there may be a DesignShop® event in Hilton Head, a 7-Domains(sm) workshop in Kalamazoo, a Sponsor Session in Palo Alto, an RDS® in Tampa, and a Strategic Leadership Workshop in Detroit each with a staff of 6 to 12 knowledge workers supporting the process.

There is no apparent distinction between these folks. No clear chain of command or demarcation in roles and responsibilities. Hang around a KreW for a while and you're likely to hear all sorts of stories, experiences and histories of MG Taylor's work, leading you to believe these people must be intimately connected with the organization. Well, in fact, many of the knowledge workers you'll encounter working with MG Taylor are intimately connected, but very few make up the Core Team of the organization.

Over the past twenty years of doing business, MG Taylor has consistently and intentionally grown the business on the metaphor of a web. As Hagel claims, this has greatly expanded sourcing and distribution options, while diminishing overhead and infrastructure investments. Rather than attempting to staff to peak levels, MG Taylor has combined a small, tightly connected, geographically dispersed full-time staff with a large, loosely connected network of skilled knowledge workers. These workers bring a wide array of professional skills and abilities ranging from Accelerated Learning to theater production; from executive coaching to teaching in a Montessori classroom; from accounting to web design. Many entered the network first as clients, others as friends of networkers, and even some who entered the web by sheer chance or accident! Several of the most active network knowledge workers trace their involvement with MG Taylor back to the Anticipatory Management Center in Boulder, Colorado, circa 1982!

Another important element of the knowledge worker network is the people inside the organizations with which MG Taylor works. For example, when we pull together a KreW for a DesignShop event, we not only pull from the external network, we work with the Sponsors to find a few employees from within the company to staff the event. This provides several benefits. To the KreW, it adds critical knowledge of corporate culture, language, organization, and ways of working. For the client knowledge workers (and, in turn, their organizations) it provides a vantage point not seen by participants, that of using the MG Taylor methodology to design and facilitate their organization through a complex problem solving process. As the implementation of the decisions made during the DesignShop processes, these knowledge workers often continue to play a critical role in supporting these projects.

With NavCenter clients, the involvement of client knowledge workers takes on an increased importance. These knowledge workers not only learn to maintain the processes, tools, and environments within their own Centers, they travel to other NavCenters and knOwhere stores, KreWing and sometimes participating in the DesignShop events, Workshops, and projects with other clients. From these experiences, client knowledge workers bring back valuable - and often unpredictable - insights and ideas into their own organization. (Note: MG Taylor does take precautions to assure that these exchanges are established in nonproprietary, noncompetitive arenas.)

Finally, MG Taylor fundamentally believes - and puts this belief into practice - that the work should determine the organization - both structure and process - not the other way around. Once a framework for the work has been established, the network can be tapped to match skills, personalities, and levels of experience appropriately. Over the past couple of years, MG Taylor has seen a dramatic increase in visibility and, in turn, interest in becoming involved in the network. Inquiries into joining the network are now a near daily occurrence. And of course, this is a goodness; when was the last time you heard a company say they needed to 'downsize' their network? MG Taylor has grown and thrived as our network has grown and thrived, and vice versa. But it is important to point out that the knowledge worker network is only one aspect of the ValueWeb(sm) community, and an essential component of management - for which the Core Team is responsible - is balancing the growth of the Investor and Customer aspects as well.

Learn more about getting involved in the MG Taylor Network of Knowledge Workers.

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