Monday, March 15, 2010

Sharing What You Know

Look at the picture of the Commander's Update Assessment (CUA) at a coalition base on the south side of Kabul International Airport. The operations center is a vast hangar-like building with no walls or partitions, very much evoking a newsroom environment. "It is an atmosphere in which you error towards sharing what you know," according to Navy Commander Jeff Eggers, an advisor to General McChrystal. Forty years after the peak of the Apollo program, it is amazing how this picture looks like the flight control engineers at the Johnson Space Center. Key individuals and decision makers -- shoulder to shoulder in an environment void of physical barriers with the goal of producing a flat, fast, and flexible organizational matrix. Sharing in this context is the optimal combination of electronic data and information combined with the physical aspects of eye-to-eye discussions, debates, and decisions. Technology aids and enhances decision making -- but it does not replace the need for the personal.

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