Symbiosis in LOs LO11346
Tue, 10 Dec 1996 13:23:12 -0500

Replying to LO11339 --

Howdy, y'all!! Thanks for allowing a "lurker". Please permit an intro,
then a comment:

I'm from the oil patch, turned electrical engineer, production manager,
and techie manager with a multinational corporation and now (whew!)
manufacturing consultant.....parents, wife, and kids are musicians and
artists (!).

I truly enjoyed some parts of being a corporate insider. Germain to this
post are the organizational and professional development at the company's

I truly enjoy some parts of being a corporate outsider. Things that were
headaches are no longer so (six hours of meetings in two years!). Things
that were simple are complex (the mechanics of doing business -
sales/marketing, incorporation, officing, insurance, taxes...). BUT the
big difference remains the variety and the real benefits of the the
relationships with clients, doesn't it????

Rick writes:
Somewhere in the middle there is a gray area in which the pros and cons
are not so clear for sharing vs. keeping secret. What principles or
criteria should guide us in this area?

I get mixed signals......clients SAY that they want "experts" with
industry-specific knowledge to enhance their internal knowledge
base......but their CONTRACTS strive to prevent "experts'" working with
competitors. What's wrong with this picture?

Damn lawyer mentality - they don't care if the company goes in the toilet,
as long as the company is not liable (dollars don't count) - even their
purchasing agents don't understand the requirements........they sometimes
read, "What's mine is mine, ours is mine, and yours is negotiable."

In reality, this is a self-correcting system!

If a client's PERCEPTION is that an outsider has compromised "sensitive"
information, the outsider WILL NOT have ongoing business with that client
- or, probably, with the client's competitors (with whom there are always
undisclosed personal contacts). Contracts notwithstanding, then, ya won't
do it twice.

The clients we serve provide a wealth of examples that flesh-out our
theoretical, fundamental educations. This increases our ability to learn,
and, in turn, our ability to contribute to our clients. This is what we
have to sell. Although I wish it were not so, I see primarily
experiential learning WITHIN manufacturing companies.

To close, then: Learn to learn better.....Share a lot with clients to help
them learn to learn, while protecting others' operational details... Learn
to express that spirit in contracts......

[Host's Note: Howdy back, John! OK, then, what would contracts looks like
that would express this spirit? What would be business terms-sheet look
like? At what level would a "sharing" or "let's collaborate on this one"
decision have to be made? In other words, if we believe this is for the
greater good, how can we make it practically happen? The MIT OLC (a
consortium of large organizations) is one approach, with an explicit
agreement to share new knowledge. ...Rick

Thank you for the forum, and Happy holidays!

John G. Boland, President
One Parker Square Suite 408
2525 Kell Boulevard
Wichita Falls, Texas 76308
817.723.1478 Fax


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