Nov 29, 2002

One line of discussion on the XL GRAX egroup went somewhat like this, between Vinod Baptist, Madhukar Shukla and yours truly :-)

Vinod's (VB) opening post:
HI ..

Grax is institutionalised networking, so am posting this on this group.

Heres a request to find out what other E-groups are available for joining..
XL oriented and even non XL oriented.

also is there a gyaan base on networking and the power of networking.. and
any personal comments on networking tips. ?

Does XL or any other management insti deal with or discuss networking (not
the techie type) within the syllabus?


and I answered:
hi Vinod,

That would depend on your areas of interest. You can do a search on Home page and search for egroups in your

Some HRD related egroups are trdev (for people interested in
training) , HRNET (very US based so might not make sense too much
for desi queries to be posted there),perfman (for Performance Mgmt)
HRinIndia, HRavenues, IHRC , HRGyan (which I moderate :-),
comp_n_ben (which I co-moderate with Sanjay Jorapur),
employmentlaw_india (moderated by Sameer Nagajaran, Rajeev Kumar and
Sanjay again !), worldofHR (moderated by KS Kumar) , citybased HR
egroups like HRbang (moderated by Titto and Kim) , HRHyd (yours
truly again ;-) actually run a host of egroups focussed on each
functional area, so you have consultavenues, techavenues etc. An
IIMB faculty also runs another egroup on consulting called 'india-

Madhukar moderates an egroup on his CCM course called xlCCM...

I know there have been books published on networking...remember one
called Rolodex something...there might be some gyaan base on the net

Hope that helps,

and Madhukar said :

there is an interesting online book on Virtual Communities, which you
can read on:
I have also sent you a couple of articles on Networking (I think they
have gone to your official mailid which is there by default;-(

GG, you forgot to mention KMSI egroup


Vinod again :

Thanks GG.. and Madhukar. Lots of stuff there.. i think six degrees of
seperation is an appropiate tag to attach to the networked world we live in

finding info and people and resources is about tapping into the correct
network.. cultivating those networks by investing in them and withdrawing
from them when required... Howz that for a shabby description of
networking.. anyone care to improve on that ?


and I wrote back:
hi Vinod

Some personal insights I have come up with after being a member of a
number of online fora over the last three years...

1. Text matters like never before in the virtual world. Because the
face to face richness is missing (Madhukar terms it the "reach vs
richness debate") you have to be very sure of what you write and
what it could be interpreted as, as the person reading might not
have the benefit of knowledge of your contexts.

2. Communities in the networked world perhaps need a lot of
investment with regard to time and effort , in my view perhaps more
than social "real" communities.

3. Virtual reputations might be different from 'real' ones , but
they stick just as much.

4. Giving more than recieving is the golden rule but seldom gets
followed, as most people are in a recipient mode in such communities
and don't have an iota of clue about their influence or power.

5. It takes a lot of guts to 'say' something on a mailing list...
and most people are uncomfortable doing that as it means taking a
stand , and not just verbally...your stand is going in text format
to hundreds and thousands of mail boxes, being read by people you
might never meet. I guess journalists, writers and poets are also
afflicted by these blocks.

6. Any lack of integrity on these listservs are sensed by people on
these groups and even if they do not tell one on the face , the
damage can be irrepairable.

7. When in doubt , the Golden Rule continues to be "Honesty is the
Best Policy"...saying "i don't know" is a valued comment , because
it is so rare.

8. When you cannot help, redirect. On a lot of HR/OD/Trng egroups I
come across a lot of "I need help regarding XYZ" kind of
takes me a second to refer the person who queries to folks like
Madhukar, Premu , Sarin etc...building up XL's brand in the
process...and the person is also thankful for the info if the
faculty responds quickly.

9. Time is the essence. No point answering someone's query after 3
days..the time you could have built your impact is passe...for
making an impact it has to be immediate ...

Hope these nine mantras of virtual communication and engagement help
not just you but everyone :-)

Mebbe, I just need to copyright it ;-))


VB again:

One parameter that we've talked about is giving and receiving.. another
seems to be finding the right person with the most useful info in the least
time.. Something like a "Virtual networking search" but without a google
type search engine .. but there must be some kind of intuitive algo that
people follow.

and my reply:
well Vinod,

That "intuitive algorithm" you talked about was quite's also called "gut instinct" and seems to afflict
the decision making processes of outstanding individuals...

Madhukar covers this point at some part of his MOC course and he
hypothesised that "intuition" is merely the very fast decision
making capability of the human mind when it processes conscious and
unconscious data, information and experiences to come up with a
decision point.

Madhukar also talks about a certain type of people (in organizations
and outside) who connect seekers to either people or information. He
calls these kind of people "knowledge brokers" and in the
conventional management measurement systems these kind of people do
not seem to add any visible value to the organizations and are
usually the first to get affected by downsizing. There was a
fascinating article by Prusak on "knowledge networks" in the HBR
issue some months back.

Think this topic would be more suitable to the KMSI egroup , what
say, Sir (this was addressed to Madhukar, who didn't accept the bait)?


And VB got back with this one:
now let me see.. KMSI wud be Knowledge Management ( SI - something ) group..

In the context of the discussions so far one cud say .. That which u call KM wud by any other name like Grax smell as sweet ..

(sorry folks.. cudnt resist that one.. this one belongs in the PJAXI group i wud think.. )


And my reply:

hi Vinod

You got that bang-on !!

KMSI which Madhukar refered is the "KM Society of India" egroup that I started over 2 years ago , and Madhukar co-moderates with me.

In fact your insight is quite of Nonaka's Knowledge sharing method is face to face tacit knowledge sharing called "socialization" other words, story-telling or Grax !!

Defined in hi-fi corporate jargon some writer wrote :
"The process that transfers tacit knowledge in one person to tacit knowledge in another person is socialization. It is experiential, active and a "living thing," involving capturing knowledge by walking around and through direct interaction with customers and suppliers outside the organization and people inside the organization. This
depends on having shared experience, and results in acquired skills and common mental models. Socialization is primarily a process between individuals."

Yeah totally Grax !!

In fact one major example of how a company realised such grax is actually useful is when Xerox Palo Alto Research Centre discovered that the service engineers arranged themselves as "communities of practice" ...grax groups in our words ! and they actually gave these guys money and time to grax amongst themselves :-)) Check out this

The new book that Nonaka wrote is outlined here