Senge is Close, But... LO25460

Date: 10/13/00

Responding to LO25442

Jim Vaillancourt writes:
>... While I think structure is
>important, I believe the beliefs of the people who create the structure
>are closer to the truth of organizational success or failure than the
>structure itself. ...

Bob Terry in his book _Authentic Leadership_ offers a model to tie
together several aspects of organizations. He suggests that we view these
as a circle:
. meaning -> mission -> power -> structure -> resources ->
. existence and back to meaning.
He suggests that many times we see a particular 'presenting symptom' and
rush to solve that, while we would likely be better served by going
backward in the circle. That is, if we see something and our first
reaction is that it's a 'resource issue' (not enough people to do the
job), that more likely we have a structure problem (we're not organized
to exploit the resources we do have) or even a power problem (who has the
power to set our priorities/destination).

He adds

     "The second and I think more critical hypothesis of the leadership
     theory: *The way we frame an issue invariably determines how well
     we focus the issues, judge what is really happening, and direct our
     attention and intervention for change.* This hypothesis is critical
     because we typically frame issues poorly, thereby mis-focusing,
     mis-judging, mis-directing, and failing in our leadership. Our
     ability to assess existing perspectives on leadership and to provide
     a new perspective that helps leaders to inform and direct engagement
     with the world hangs on a deep appreciation of the second hypothesis.
     Framing of issues is a skill that is crucial to effective leadership
     diagnosis and action because that is one major part of what
     leadership does. It frames issues." (p 87)

I know that I have certainly seen situations where our reaction is to
reorganize (a structural response) when it seems on reflection that the
problem is more likely when the more fundamental issue is power ... or
even mission: what are we really trying to do anyway?

Michael A
 - Michael Ayers
Mailto: Voice (651) 733-5690 FAX (651) 737-7718
IT CC&PD 3M Center 224-2NE-02 PO Box 33224 St. Paul MN 55133-3224
 Sometimes the right question is, 'Are we asking the right question?'


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