Objections to Learning Organization LO24101

From: Fred Nickols (nickols@worldnet.att.net)
Date: 03/02/00

Replying to Jan Lelie (and indirectly to Dennis Presser) in LO24080 --

Jan begins...

>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.

Jan's opening remark seems tied to this earlier exchange...

> "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.

I read Jan's remark differently and am inclined to agree with him. When
the fight's on, "manage the problem." As you point out,
after-action-reviews (or what were called post-mortems and critiques in my
day) can be used to learn from those experiences but I think that's a
different situation. So far as I know, the Army does not have "during
action reviews" and that was what I took from Jan's comment. That said, I
also agree with Dennis: There is no reason why an action-oriented
organization such as the military or police and fire departments can't be
a learning organization. But I don't think you will see many of the
trappings of a learning organization while they are caught up in action.


Fred Nickols The Distance Consulting Company "Assistance at A Distance" http://home.att.net/~nickols/distance.htm nickols@worldnet.att.net (609) 490-0095

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