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Know It All

Finally, there's a smarter approach to managing your knowledge workers.

By Mark Henricks

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Thomas Davenport contends we do a pretty lousy job of managingour most knowledgeable employees. The Babson College managementprofessor studied 600 knowledge workers at 100 companies and foundmost are managed using an outdated approach developed during theIndustrial Revolution. In Thinking for a Living (Harvard BusinessSchool Press, $27.50), Davenport prescribes a method for boostingperformance in this critical segment, which comprises 36 millionAmerican workers, according to his analysis of data from the Bureauof Labor Statistics.

Forget about leaning over the shoulders of programmers, customerservice reps and other knowledge workers: They resent intrusiveoversight, Davenport warns. Instead, use technology to improve thequality and performance of these workers. For example, createfunction-specific web portals to organize and present informationefficiently for knowledge workers. And experiment, by all means.This is a critical management challenge for most entrepreneurs, andgetting better at it, especially if you develop your own"secret sauce," could give you a sizable competitiveedge.

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