Over my years of teaching and training I have found that some of what I once knew and learned has slipped away due to age (as it does to most of us!) and due to learning new pieces of data, information, knowledge and especially wisdom (D-I-K-W). So many years ago I began to put together a collection of D-I-K-W that I thought was excellent to keep but just could no longer store in my brain. I bought a sturdy, blank, lined journal to begin putting together what has become my “Wisdom Journal”.
I began to collect techniques, approaches, bulleted lists, terminology, tables, tools, methods and anything else that I thought might be useful at some point in the future. I did not really seek out particular information I simply “collected” it as I came along it in my research, class preparation or reading.
Examples of the D-I-K-W I collected included information on paradigms, requirements gathering, RACI, organizational change methods, business process re-engineering, reasoning (induction vs deduction), Six Sigma, causal feedback loops, Deming/Juran/Crosby, meeting improvements, leadership, and a whole host of other topics.
So how did I go about creating my “Wisdom Journal?” After I bought my journal, I split each page into two halves (top and bottom) by drawing a line across each page of the entire journal. As I came across an interesting piece of D-I-K-W, I created a journal entry by putting a simple label at the top of the section and then writing, copying or literally pasting information into that section. Some pieces of information (tables, lists, bullet points, etc.) that were formatted well I simply printed from the web, then cut away the unnecessary pieces of the page and taped the information into the journal entry.
I then took sticky flags (available at any office store) and put one on each page of the journal. I then wrote a general label to the page on the flag. You could also color code the pages using different colored sticky flags. This gave me a quick way to access D-I-K-W quickly and effectively. Over the years my “Wisdom Journal” has proved highly useful. When I need information or knowledge on Strategy, I simply turn to that flag or page and have the information at my fingertips.
Some of you might say that software and applications are available that can accomplish the same thing. This is completely true. But I have found the act of creating the actual journal to be just as satisfying as the collecting of the information. The key is not the particular mechanism (hand-made journal or software application is according to your preference) rather the fact that everyone should create such a collection of readily available and usable D-I-K-W.