- 19 Nov 2020
Welcome to the IKL newsletter.
IKL is now 11 months old. Alongside delivering many projects and activities, we have spent a lot of time since January clarifying and bedding in the new Unit. We look forward to providing an update to our OCOG friends and colleagues at the annual IKL workshop at the end of this month. We’ve been contemplating several questions in the build-up to the workshop. Is knowledge arguably our most critical business asset and, if so, how should it really be developed in the next phase? Is every individual working with us a knowledge worker with a right to access quality knowledge and, if so, what does this mean for the evolution of information and knowledge management policies? Does every individual have the right to learn from this knowledge and, if so, how should these learning opportunities be developed in the future? Should the responsibility to support knowledge be specifically assigned and evaluated in a way that supports the overall business direction, and if so, in what way? How should this effort be measured and perhaps rewarded? It should be an interesting, virtual, workshop!
Of course, the extent to which any of our work since March has been effective has been down to our ability to work virtually. We have used information and collaboration systems to the full. This has not always been easy, but then again was simply unimaginable not that long ago. Productivity has remained solid, even improved in some cases. Our colleagues in the Technology and Information Department (DTI) are due a lot of praise for enabling us to work in this way. It will be interesting to find out how OCOGs have dealt with this remote working challenge in the workshop.
Whenever we begin to recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, working remotely will certainly continue as an expected part of the work environment. The distributed workforce is here and it’s real. I think this has several interesting management impacts, and I will highlight three of them here.
First, relevant work policies must position location as somewhat neutral in terms of effective working (and ultimately performance evaluation). In the IOC we have an excellent flexible work policy, which was started before the pandemic hit, but the speed with which it has become the accepted option, rather than the exception, has been remarkable. This will continue; our policies will need to evolve more. People may wish to remain office-based but equally, decisions about how people work, and how effective they are, will increasingly be devoid of any consideration of where they work.
Second, the management process of assigning tasks must be based on assessing location and function dependence. Many individual tasks are not location dependent; they can be done anywhere. But in the Games world, we have a huge number of tasks that require high location and function interdependence for successful completion. These dependencies are based on physical presence and interaction and cannot be done from home. Overall, the management responsibility to effectively identify and validate tasks based on their location and function dependence has increased dramatically. And I think for Tokyo we see that an additional dependence on myriad new health and wellbeing initiatives, in addition to location and function, will define effective Games delivery in a pandemic.
Third, performance expectations have evolved. A new range of skills, tools and guidelines that support best practices for virtual interactions are needed. This essentially means a much more outcome-focused approach to performance. To some extent this was already the case, but COVID-19 has accelerated this trend. The management challenges in adapting to this approach are real and rely on different types of connections with individual team members, between team members, and between teams inside the IOC and with our OCOG colleagues.
I hope you enjoy the content in this newsletter and, as ever, I welcome dialogue on any of it.
IKL Associate Director