Replying to LO23734 --
Bruno, Good afternoon:
I, too, was struck by At's first contribution this year. It's now one of
my many "keepers" from our list.
As you reflected on "caring", another definition comes to mind which, for
me, radically changes the possibility of achieving a requisite "caring" in
order to sustain a learning organization.
Right or wrong, I interpret caring as being the attention I can give
another person to share their "space" for a bit of time. It could be as
simple as listening to what they say or respectful of their body language.
It could mean to put my own thoughts and actions on hold long enough to be
open to other points of view. I could mean to take the time to say what I
want to say in a way that makes it more easily understandable to someone
else. It could also be to take appropriate action (or non-action),
depending on the circumstances.
I also have some hope that the persons with whom I'm interacting will grow
to give me the same courtesy, respect, or attention. Possibly caring is to
give the person a chance (an extended chance?) to meet my expectations
before I turn elsewhere.
Some years ago I was in a long organizational development program that
seemed to go on and on and on. People's attention drifted in and out of
the sessions until one particular session focused on caring. (I believe
the general interpretation of caring was as I have attempted to describe
it.) It was as if a fresh breath of air had rolled in - every single
person came to attention and was fully involved for the hour or two that
What came out of this session was the hope that caring would become a part
of our daily life, that it was vitally important, and it was indeed
missing in our current experience. Unfortunately the larger community
(the business) at that time wasn't able to change that experience for most
people, but groups of people "infected" with the importance of this type
of relationship were formed with a significantly positive carryover not
only for the individuals, themselves, but for the larger organization.
Sustainability of this benefit seems obviously in the interest of any
organization that depends on the evolving talents of its members. I
couldn't agree more with At when he stated his belief that "a Learning
Organization cannot emerge without a clear purpose of what that
organization has to accomplish in (the) future" and the importance of the
members being committed to that purpose.
The keystone, however, provided by "caring" has been extraordinarily
elusive. Why? We can be so very articulate about all the other pieces, but
"caring" gives most of us great pause. As you said, Bruno, there's the
fear factor when we approach caring and all the expectations wrapped
If, as it appears, that a key - if not THE key - element to either achieve
or make great progress, sustainable progress, toward a learning
organization has been so eloquently been placed before us in plain view, I
hope we begin the new year by wrestling it to the ground.
Decision Support Associates
"Terry Priebe" <email@example.com>
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