I’m nearing the end of participating in Harold Jarche’s Personal Knowledge Mastery (PKM) workshop.  I first did this workshop in 2014.  This is my second refresher attendance (i.e. third time total that I’ve done the workshop).  As my work and personal circumstances change and my PKM practices mature I reach a point where reviewing and refreshing my practice is helpful.  In January I Harold was my guest in a Learning Uncut Professional Development special where we discuss PKM as a contemporary learning practice.  Harold’s next workshop starts on 12 April – I highly recommend it to all knowledge workers.

A key insight I have had this time through the workshop is the extent to which my PKM practice is now integrated with my work. I often feel pressed for time and lament that I can’t seem to find regular chunks of time for reading and blogging in particular. That’s still something I want to rectify. A general PKM routine helps me stay abreast of my field.

The more fluid aspect of PKM now being part of how I work presents in four ways.

Firstly when I am doing project work for a client I’m often at the edge of my experience so need to figure out how to do something I’ve not done before, or not done to the depth required. For example, I’m currently doing a couple of evaluation projects so exploring some evaluation models and approaches I’ve not used before, and deepening my data analytics skills .

Secondly, in the course of hosting my podcast, Learning Uncut, I learn things constantly from the work of my guests and their generosity in showing their work via the podcast.

Thirdly, whenever I do a speaking event or writing assignment I need to seek>sense>share. This is often when I do a lot of sense-making to reflect on my practices and views in relation to a topic. Over the past six months I’ve been collaborating with Laura Overton and Shannon Tipton on Emerging Stronger. Laura introduced us to her process for research and sense-making, which is essentially a PKM process. We’ve been using it to run short ‘campaigns’ where we explore a topic together and produce something (e.g. a series of blogs or an ebook).

Fourth is a process I use with clients and others in my network where I run a round of mastermind groups every quarter. These sessions allow me to listen to a real world challenge from every person in the group, facilitate a sense-making / sharing from the others in the group, and then observe the person who shared the challenge do some sense-making. I see potential for me to do further reflection following a round of these sessions to deepen how I’m working with the outputs from them.

Recognising how PKM is integrated into my work has alleviated a little of the pressure I was placing on myself to carve out more time from an already over-full schedule for this.


  • Fiona mogridge

    So cool to hear you reflecting on all the existing Pom practises you have embedded in your work Michelle!


    • Michelle Ockers

      Thanks Fiona. It brings me great joy that my work is such a strong source of personal learning.


  • Bill Wallace

    This is great, Michelle. I’ve been pondering doing Harold’s course so this has tipped me over the edge. Probably not April’s but the one after that. PKM has been top of mind recently as wells using a “Zettelkasten” to manage information. I am also branching into consulting and will be “at the edge of my experience” too, many times! 🙂


    • Michelle Ockers

      You’ve just nudged me to take another look at the Zettelkasten note-taking system. Ryan Holiday has a variation of this that he’s shared via articles. I’ve tried variants of this before. Think it’s time to ressurect the best of these.

      I find it exciting and stimulating to be at the edge of my experience … and, yes, a little scary at times too. I hope you enjoy consulting – all the best with this.


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