Free Agency, Teams and Knowledge Sharing

Paul from Oracle AppsLab has a post on whether viewing all employees as free agents would contribute to better knowledge management within an organization.

So if we found a way to enable people to build their own personal brand through activities we want to incent (like sharing, collaboration, etc), both employees and employers could be substantially better off

For me the high-concept is less interesting than how a management team would translate it into action.

For me, individuals should be rewarded for group performance allowing peers to recognize the outstanding contributions of individuals.

Knowledge sharing and creation springs from an environment of high trust and fair reward. This is best fostered in an organization composed of self-directed, cross-functional teams that demonstrate progress frequently and visibly against clear priorities. Rewards should be based on both team and organizational performance.


Team rewards motivate individuals to collaborate within their team and the team to raise up each other’s performance or eject members that can’t carry their weight. Individual rewards or advancement should result from a process that solicits input and obtains buy in from peers.

Organizational rewards motivate teams into healthy “bounded cohabitation”, bringing the best new learning to the rest of the organization, rather than dysfunctional “balkanization” where one team’s failure advantages another.

This requires management to take a coaching, facilitating role and senior leadership to set ambitious goals while embodying the values they expect others to embrace.

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About Ken Judy

I am an executive manager, software developer, father and husband trying to do more good than harm. I am an agile practitioner. I say this fully aware I say nothing. Sold as a tool to solve problems, agile is more a set of principles that encourage us to confront problems. Broad adoption of the jargon has not resulted in wide embrace of these principles. I strive to create material and human good by respecting co-workers, telling truth to employers, improving my skills, and caring for the people affected by the software I help build.