LOs and Metanoia - Two Conceptions of LO's LO27170

From: Richard Seel (richard@richard-seel.demon.co.uk)
Date: 08/26/01

Replying to LO27164 --


In your excellent discussion of systems theory and learning organisations
you write (among much else that is thought-provoking and worth while):

>We keep bringing in mechanics
>when what we need are gardeners.

I spend quite a lot of my time inviting people in organisations to
consider the differences between thinking of organisations as mechanical
or living systems.

The first step on the road to 'getting it' seems to be that they come to
the above conclusion: we, as leaders or managers, need to become gardeners
- to nourish, fertilise, prune, weed, care for, allow growth to happen,

Yet I always challenge this. For it seems to me to still be 'old paradigm'
thinking, albeit with a more organic flavour. The gardener is outside the
garden system - or at least at a higher logical level than the garden. The
gardener operates upon the garden, for good or ill (there is a whole
strand here about the imposition of culture upon nature which I will not
go into here...).

But leaders and managers in an organisation are not outside the system,
nor at a higher logical level than others in the organisation. *That* is
one of the great fallacies of the mechanical view. It also seems to be a
fallacy of much so-called systems thinking.

We are literally 'all in it together' and one of the great lessons we have
to learn is how to stop behaving as if we were outside the system and
learn to work *with* the system in appropriate ways.

That is the challenge I struggle with in my work and the challenge which
many on this list also struggle with.

Best wishes,



Richard Seel

New Paradigm Consulting
Organisation Consultancy & Development

Seabrink, Beach Road, Bacton Green, Norfolk NR12 0EP, UK.
+44 (0)1692 650 706


Richard Seel <richard@richard-seel.demon.co.uk>

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