KM ASNI/ISO Standards Meeting LO20404

J.C. Lelie (
Sun, 17 Jan 1999 23:12:50 -0800

Replying to LO20371 --

Hi Scott,

you wrote:


> The key is VALUE. Thus my question as to the value of certification in
> Knowledge Management.

The VALUE of certification has a meaning in communities that values
certificates. That's why i had to obtain my CPIM, because the APICS
community values that certificate. I wanted to belong, so i had to pass
the tests. It is like an initiation rite. In the old days you'd had to
camp in the outside for 40 days with only a spear and a towel, or get some
tattoos, or murder somebody of a different tribe. As i'm typing, it dawns
on me that a lot of communities still require these kind of rites of

Evolutionary speaking, it makes sense to have in- and outgroup feelings.
That is why we are social beings (or the other way around, because we are
social beings, we have these feelings): it pays off in the long run by
gaining a higher reproduction rate. So this sense of wanting to belong
expresses itself in these certificates.

Perhaps that is were the (your, my) resistance comes from regarding
certificates, we do not want to belong knowingly to certain clubs that
want us to become members. Or to quote Woody Allen (was it in Anny Hall?,
no it was a different picture): "i felt like the man who said that he
didn't want to belong to a club that would have him as a member." And who
was that man?

I once attended an international conference of facilitators. There also
was a tendency with some people to develop a certification programme. The
issue turned into a lively debate, which i found interesting because these
facilitators didn't seem able to help themselves by facilitating their own
conversastion. In the same conference we did an excercise on Authentic
Communication, in which everybody could participate. This, i remember,
also generated a lot of resistance from people who did not want to
participate. Some how i sense a deep instinctive pattern, a craving to

As we are members of this LO-list, we might consider setting up our own
certification programme? Because, who would want to be member of a club
anybody could subscribe to? It is worse then the alternative of not
belonging to a club that wants you as a member, isn't it ?-).

> Jan mentioned his ability to certify me in CATCH42 and I must say that I
> am more than interested. For only $100, I get the "Yellow Towel" It may
> be of at least the same value, and maybe more to me personally since my
> dog just had an operation for a lump on her leg and she just now came home
> and left a little yellow spot on the kitchen floor.

As a matter of fact, the Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy also mentions:
".. a towel has immense psychological value. For some reason, ...". So
that's no coincedence.

> Yellow. Good. And at least we know that that system is working properly.

Yellow means: watch that system (flashing lights); Green means: system is
working properly; Red means alert; Does blue have meaning in systems

> And I'm reminded of Yosarian's quote in the book Catch 22:
> "Nothing made sense, and neither did anything else."

Well, you got that one. That makes sense to me, logisens :-). And also
the 42 in Catch 42 makes sense when you consider that this is the answer
to ""The Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe and Everything"" (page
135 of the book on the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy).

42, off course, would also be the answer to the question on the General
Organisational Theory (an acronym would be GOT) to which i referred to in
my post in developing a small theory on why an ISO-certificate might
benefit an organisation. I could think of some other ones, but i do not
have the time.

> So, Jan, my check is "in the mail," as we say here in the US. And I hope
> that that certificate and towel are on their way here.

Check it out man!

Jan Lelie

Drs J.C. Lelie CPIM (Jan)       
LOGISENS - Sparring Partner in Logistical Development -
Mind@Work - est. 1998 - Guiding to Team Value  - 
+ (31)70 3243475 Fax: idem  - GSM: + (31)654685114

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