Objections to Learning Organization LO24098

From: Sandy Wells (sjwells@earthlink.net)
Date: 03/01/00

Replying to LO24080 --

Your message struck a responsive chord with me. Specifically:

> 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.

When I first started my OD practice, I utilized a good deal of the
experiential exercises to try to "unfreeze" my clients to try to create a
metaphorical situation whereby the client would be able to come to their
own "aha." Time consuming and often, some would get the "aha" and others
were still lost in the wilderness.

I have come now to the belief that the process must be expedited through
analysis of the real work situation (as in action research and action
learning) because the metaphorical situations never really linked the
emotional vesting that folks have in their work situations. And, I have
come to absolutely agree with those "grandparents" of OD, Blake & Mouton,
that most folks don't have the skills to effectively deal with their work
situations to solve conflict and engage in productive critique. Note, not
that they don't have the desire, motivation, whatever, to deal with
talking about their work situations--but that they are practicing what
Argyris called (later) "skilled incompetence."

Ergo, I have been focusing my Org Dev work on skill development (not a la
communications skills classes, by the way, but through a learning
laboratory format) to create the internal expertise to deal with real work
problems and start the process of true dialogue that can be characterized
by candor, trust, and reflection. By building the internal capability,
one can then more successfully deal with the real life situation.

My guess is that your interventions may look a lot like the ones I design!

Warm regards to all,
Sandy Wells, Ed.D.
Wells & Associates


"Sandy Wells" <sjwells@earthlink.net>

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