Objections to Learning Organization LO24103

From: Jan Lelie (janlelie@wxs.nl)
Date: 03/02/00

Replying to LO24051 --

Hi Eric and all future readers of this post,

i'll skip tea.

The surest way to get me infuriated is by accusing me of being unpractical
(there is also a best way and a fastest way). The LO principles i believe
in, AND use, are of a practical nature, when you accept results,
quantifiable, hard facts, for the outcomes of an intentional change

For instance, applying the LO principle in my reformulating for logitics,
called Learning Logistics, i was able to reduce inventories by an order of
magnitude (10 times), increase delivery reliability to 100% - even
supplying spare parts before the customer could engage it own spare parts
ordering process -, boost commitments to a level that people felt secure
enough to shift their own production to a low wage country, tue. I was
unable to increase throughput, because internal ordering rules inhibited
ordering goods from one division to another: it was "easier" to overstock
several millions of dollars than to order the right amount at the right
time from a daughter company at the right place.

This, however proved to be "unpractical", as i was fired. The reasons
were: I didn't want to build and store finished goods, just to reach the
proposed budgets or to hedge against unforseen trouble. This my boss
thought to be impractical. Also the costs for producing the goods were too
high - no wonder, the savings and cost reductions were transferred from
the factory price too the commercial price build-up and the risks for new
investments were put into the factory. This the comercial director thought
to be practicle. And i voiced my fear for the reorganization of two
factories, because it was based on inflated sales forecast - they always
are, too high to be true - and even then would take some five years to
recover. (The factory never recovered, in fact). I said: it is a waste of
money and i'll try to make the waste as small as possible. Not good
enough: i was not even allowed to say it was a waste of money (and of
human "capital").

To me practicality is the ONLY interesting part of organizational
learning. It just happens not to coincide with another definition of
practicality: everything that is good for my - the bosses - career. See
Dilbert for details.

> So the question becomes how can LO believers acknowledge the drive for the
> practical as a LEGITIMATE part of organizational learning, even a MAJOR
> part of organizational learning?
> Unless we can do that, lip service is all we'll get. And I don't want to
> settle for that!
> --- climbing down stiffly from soapbox.

It is lip service as soon as people start to question the practicality
without looking at observable facts (inventory, expenses, delivery
reliability and throughput), all the way down. When i didn't settle for
that, and i would never settle for that, that is why i am for hire, i
could go

-- cold fingers, longing for a hot cup of tea.

Kind regards,

Jan Lelie

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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