How can LOs dance the change? LO24646

From: AM de Lange (
Date: 05/20/00

Replying to LO24617 --

Dear Organlearners,

Michael Chender <> writes under
Subject: Women's Ways of Learning LO24617

>In a recent conversation with a friend who is a major author
>and historian of LO, he said, "LO is becoming pretty well
>discredited now in business circles as too being too slow
>to produce results and too bureaucratic.
>The charismatic leader is back in favor."

Greetings Michael,

When a new field for business is opened up, there will always be a rush so
as to stake a claim. The history of South Africa is rich in diamond and
gold rushes. Many thousands participated in such a rush -- but few got
rich working their claim. The few who did get very rich, did not
participate in the rush, but staked their richdom afterwards by means of
their organisational abilities. This took many years whereas the rush
lasted a day. Why? The more complex any creation, the longer it takes to

Yes, anything will be discredited when there is a drive to sell something
else in the place of it.

>Putting aside what this may say about the purposes and
>vision of business, or even whether it is wholly accurate, it
>does capture for me what I think (perhaps in my ignorance
>of the subject) is a challenge in the evolution of LO understanding
>--how does it give birth to a new and viable understanding of
>hierarchy that allows an LO to persist and develop through
>the vicissitudes of time?

Michael, your question is most important.

I think its answer lies in the fifth discipline of a LO, namely Systems
Thinking. The Systems Thinking common to a particular LO will have to
provide for a theory and practice which takes into account "time and what
it entails", or what you also have called "evolution of LO".

As for myself, I am pretty sure that we have only scratched the surface of
how "the arrow of time" drives all kinds of evolutions.

>(Am I correct that there are few examples of newly minted
>LOs that survive a particular initiative?) I imagine this as the
>reintegration of the masculine into a view that has now swung
>too far in the other direction.

I personally think that LOs had been emerging among human organisations
for many millenia. The LO goes back as far as recorded human history goes
back. However, these LOs have been functioning largely tacitly. It is in
terms of 20th century tacit LOs that De Geus and Senge had been able to
articulate formally the concept of a LO. In other words, LOs did not begin
to emerge only after Senge wrote the Fifth Discipline.

The family (father, mother and children) is a human organisation. The
family can emerge into a LO too. If we want to know of "examples of newly
minted LOs that survive a particular initiative", we can take a look at
the history of families to find examples.

>(Obligatory Disclaimer: Masculine and feminine, as I use them,
>are not linked to specific men and women. We each have both,
>although women in same-sex groups may naturally emphasize
>the "feminine", and men "the masculine.")

Masculine and feminine, for me, applies to certain manifestations of
personality. Both men and women are persons. Children are persons too.
Every person has a personality. The "evolution of personality" is for me
the most important feature of personality. Stereotyping some personality
as, for example, masculine may and often does seriously inhibit the
evolution of that personality.

Let me illustrate by an example. We may have a mysterious fish of which we
do not know its name. We will then take it to an ichthyolist who will
identify it by using an "identification key". It works much like many of
the multiple-attribute personality tests available. So we end up with a
name for the fish. Does this name helps us to care for it? No, we can just
as easily kill the "fish with a name" with inappropiate caring as the
"fish without a name".

But when we have the name for the fish, we can do research in literature
where the fish occur naturally, in what habitat it lives and what has been
observed about the habits of this species. The question now is, when we
have to deal with a person which is characterised as KLMN by some
personality test, will that KLMN profile allow us to infer by studying
literature how to care for that person like we can do for an animal or
plant species? Should we not rather enquire from that person self about
his/her personality?

The futility of the vast majority of personality tests comes to light when
we have to deal with children who learn profusely and thus transform their
personalities continually. These tests have been developed for adults.

I think that in the light of a LO, rich with Personal Mastery and Team
Learning, all this learning and its ramifications on the evolution of the
personalities of each member of that LO requires a careful Systems
Thinking on personality.

With care and best wishes


At de Lange <> Snailmail: A M de Lange Gold Fields Computer Centre Faculty of Science - University of Pretoria Pretoria 0001 - Rep of South Africa

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