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Optimize Core Intelligences: Managing Professional Intellect by Making the Most of the Best

Converting in-house intellect into products and services is the best way for a business to continuously innovate and grow.

This is the conclusion of Dearing’s five-part series on the Learning Organization. In this article, Dearing discusses a few best practices organizations can utilize to ensure they are continuously growing and encouraging the development of their employees’ professional intellect.

Synergistic Cycle

A company’s success today lies more in its intellectual and systems capabilities than in its physical assets. Therefore, managing and converting human intellect into useful products and services is vital to today’s workforce, and I find it baffling that it is given so little attention. I am especially puzzled because professional intellect creates most of the value in the new economy, in services and manufacturing alike.

Few managers have systemic answers even to basic questions like, “What is professional intellect?” or, “How can professional intellect be developed?” or, “How can professional intellect be leveraged?” An organization’s intellect operates on four levels:

  1. Cognitive Knowledge
  2. Advanced Skills
  3. Systems Understanding
  4. Self-motivated Creativity

By nurturing self-motivated creativity among employees, an organization is likely to thrive in the face of today’s rapid changes. Best practices for developing professional intellect are:

  1. Recruiting the best people
  2. Forcing development and increasing challenges
  3. Evaluating and weeding
  4. New software tools
  5. Incentive systems
  6. Organizational designs

Overall, by inverting the traditional hierarchical structure to tailor your enterprise in the particular way effective for accomplishing professional intellect, you can create self-organizing networks, and thus value for the organization.

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Harvard Business School Press (1998), On Knowledge Management, Harvard Business School Publishing Corporation, Boston USA

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