Objections to Learning Organization LO24080

From: Jan Lelie (janlelie@wxs.nl)
Date: 02/26/00

Replying to LO24055 --

Hi Dennis,

Thank you kindly for disagreeing. I perhaps took the turn too fast. What i
meant to say was that when fast decisions and rapid change is needed, a
structured, top-down approach works best.

Outside these circumstances, for instance during training in
communicating, trusting, co-operating and committing for these
circumstances, we have a different approach at our disposal. In
not-so-life-threathening circumstances we can best work using a
co-learning strategy. I do not want to imply that the training for these
dire situations should be done by putting people in these kind of
situations or acting as-if the situation is life-threathening and
therefore a command structure should be used in training.

I personnally do not think that better organisational teamwork can be
acheived by putting a team on a raft or a "survival" situation. I am not
against these outward bound session, i like them, but i think these kind
of trainings do have a major impact on teamwork just because people meet
and talk and interact outside (before, during and after) the survival
situation. I believe that doing an "after action review" of the actual
worksituations would be better. Perhaps because these worksituations have
all kind of emotional charges, that there is "real tension" in work
situation, AND we haven't learnt how to have a dialogue we tend to revert
to creating new situations and talk about them. Deflection. Many people, i
have experienced, are not very good at projecting back from a traning
situation to an actual work situation. Interventions i like to use stay
as close as possible with the real life situation AND use an open,
non-confrontational, easy going, non-directional dialogue approach.

One of the objections to the LO would be that you can not have your cake
and eat it: use a participative (LO) and a command-like strategy (HO). As
with real cake you can: you can have your cake and eat it BUT not at the
same time. So sometimes a learning, participative, co-developing approach
must be applied and in other cases a directive appriach is needed. To
prevent discomfort: agree before hand in what occasions or under which
circumstances what prevails.

This is i think why LO (or using the Deming philosophy or Empowered Teams
or whatever ..) is a paradigm shift: under the new paradigm, the old
situations still exists and the old rules still apply. That is confusing,
because some have been trained in the old paradigm and still are sucessful
in working in that way (sometimes stealing and borrowing from the new
paradigm), while others, working under a new paradigm, seem to neglect the
learnings from the old. I'm reminded of the old sailing boat technology,
reaching its pinnacle with the famous tea-clipper after the steamboat was
developed. We are entering the age of participative, learning,
co-developing strategies and are confronted with organisation using old
strategies with a cover(up) of new strategies and out-performing real new
organistions. I hope i live in an interesting age.

As the partcipative or LO-approach requires (learning) new skills, skills
not required in a directive mode, from the standpoint of efficiency and
effectivity, a LO can be quite a waste. On the other hand, use of these
new skills might lead to applications in situations were they are not so
effective. One of the reasons i like (the character of) Seven-of-Nine
(i'm talking Star Trek Voyager now), is her application of old rules and
conducts in new situations and applying new rules in old situations.
Resistance to the resistance of crossing from one mode to another, is both
futile and something one will adapt to.

One turn at a time,

Kind regards,

Jan Lelie

"Presser, Dennis" wrote:

> Jan writes:
> >Now in some cases it is very sensible not to have a LO: the life
> >threatening cases and the unimportant cases. In case of acute danger: do
> >not try to learn, but manage the problem. Firemen and soldiers in the
> >field are examples.
> I tend to disagree: these are exactly the cases when LOs are most
> sensible. Firemen and soldiers both need to act (or react) to immediate
> danger. Soldiers spend an inordinate amount of time "training," i.e.,
> learning how to react appropriately -- or think clearly -- despite lacking
> complete information about the danger they face. After action reports are
> standard procedure for the U.S. Army, and probably most others. And for
> soldiers sometimes even the "trained" or learned action is the wrong one,
> because your enemy is also learning. I assume the same is true of firemen
> and police officers.


Drs J.C. Lelie CPIM (Jan) LOGISENS - Sparring Partner in Logistical Development Mind@Work - est. 1998 - Group Decision Process Support Tel.: (+ 31) (0)70 3243475 or car: (+ 31)(0)65 4685114 http://www.mindatwork.nl and/or taoSystems: + 31 (0)30 6377973 - Mindatwork@taoNet.nl

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