Happy Birthday to Franz Kafka

“I usually solve problems by letting them devour me.”

Franz Kafka, Letter to Max Brod

This blog is named after a great short story by Franz Kafka, a writer who should be read by every Quality professional.

Franz Kafka’s work has huge relevance for management and organization. The characteristics of bureaucracy that we find in Kafka’s fiction are widespread in the real world bureaucracies we find ourselves in, particularly the ambiguity of rules, the existence of informal networks within organizations, and systemic corruption. Reading Kafka has greatly influenced my ideas of organizational sense-making and has shaped many of my ideas on ethical issues and conflicts that arise within organizations. It is no exaggeration to say that Kafka’s name is as closely linked to the notion of bureaucracy as Weber’s, and deserves a central place in all organizational studies. Quite frankly, Quality as a practice and a profession would do well to read Kafka thoroughly.

How can anyone keep up with all that information?

I hear this from colleagues all the time, how do you keep on top of so much news? How have are you always the first person to know this thing?

Keeping on top of trends, of regulatory changes, of new event is critical. This is a big part of content, and from that we bring context. It is part of what makes us Subject Matter Experts.

But let’s be honest, there is a lot out there to stay aware of, and it can eat a lot of unproductive hours up, especially with so much new content on the web being added daily, it can be tough to keep up with what’s happening online. But if you rely on visiting specific websites every day, doing Google searches, or relying on social media to keep them informed you will get overwhelmed and miss important things. The best solution I have found is pretty old-school: The RSS feed.

About every site you need to follow, from a trade publication to a government agency to a professional society to all those blogs publishes an RSS feed (including this one). Often they publish more than one which can compartmentalize the reading and help you narrow down to specific topics that interest you.

You then use a reader to aggregate these feeds into compartments that make sense to you, skim the headlines at your leisure and read those items that seem relevant to you. This gives you a comprehensive, regularly updated look at all the content your favorite sites publish throughout the day. Think of it as the ultimate aggregator; every morsel from every source you care about, fed directly to you.

I use Feedly, but there are several good ones out there, most free to use. A lot of friends tell me I should move to Inoreader.

Do not be afraid of the massive amounts of information out there. Like anything, it’s all about getting the right tool for the job.