"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),
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
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.
about getting involved in the MG Taylor Network of Knowledge Workers.