Responding to Arthur Battram's post sent February 03, 2001 (LOs LO26065)
Hello Arthur and fellow LOites ;-)
(Thanks Arthur, I giggled my butt off at your post ...)
So here I am, doing my MBA thesis, which is in the form of an
organizational consulting project, at my place of employment. So you
probably can guess what I am doing it on ... but why? Because the
management wants us to be a LO. Why does management want it? They have
read some Senge. What do they want out of a LO? None of us are quite sure
... What does the employees want out of a LO? They don't really care one
way or another, as long as change slows down and workload can decease to
about 110% vice 120%.
So why is my education riding on this? Because I never thought to ask the
questions that led to the above answers until I was too deep and too close
to convocation (Five weeks to go until I have to be done! Yikes!)
So I feel I am now quite familiar with management asserting "top-down
efforts to produce bottom-up change" without completing some kind of
strategic management process...
For those that are in the same position, what do you do? May I be arrogant
to call myself an semi-authority on this topic -- or should I wait five
weeks? ;-) -- and offer a suggestion?
Zoom out -- way out. Instead of looking at trying to change the culture
and/or incorporate practices of the five disciplines (or whatever
normative practice you think best), look at what could be interfering with
what learning is already taking place. Look at the organizational
structure. Talk to employees. Does it facilitate collaboration and
communication? (You might have to revise the structure) Have a peek at the
vision/mission statements. Talk to employees. Do people really know how
the organization works as a whole and do they feel a part of it? (You
might have to revise the mission, vision, etc.) Look at the climate and
culture, including values, norms and artifacts. Talk to employees. Can
people effectively learn in this environment i.e. is there fear,
repression, etc. (You might have to revisit the espoused values and/or
revise some HR and strategic processes) Look at the terminology. Talk to
employees. What do people really mean by "empowerment," "autonomy," and
"collaboration" (you might have to revisit a number of HR processes on
completion). And all of this has to be done in collaboration and any
changes made with sound change management practices.
Although this wont get the organization anywhere near the ideal, it may
just start to get people used to working and learning with and listening
to each other. Baby steps.
Peggy Stuart <email@example.com>
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