Research Project LO27404

From: Sandy Wells (
Date: 10/13/01

Replying to LO27393 --


I've been a feedbacker for LDP (Leadership Development Program) for about
ten years, so I've had the pleasure of linking up with some of the Army
folks coming through and, of course, as I indicated in my post, I have
been an Army Organizational Effectivenss Staff Officer.

One thing in your post, I resonate with the ideas of exploring the
linkages between leader/managers recognizing the need for the journey of
understanding self and the lack of evidence that much of this goes on.
The notions of self-awareness in leadership programs are really not
new--back in the 60's, Blake & Mouton wrote prolifically about the need
for self-awareness, overcoming bias and self-denial, exploring the gap
between what one professes and what one practices (without the "espoused
v.s. theory in use" language). . and how it all links to organizational
performance and practice of values. Individuals start with awareness,
transfer it to team and organizational practices.

We cannot realistically expect organizations to operate as learning
organizations when candor is not routinely practiced at individual or team
levels. A starting point has to be with reflection, self-awareness, and
the willingness to engage in candid critique. I recently worked with a
client that purported to be a "learning organization" when in fact, when
people spoke their truth in an effort to engage the organization in
critique and exploration of why business was not successful, they were
basically discounted. Leaders have to be able to illicit inquiry--bring
into awareness--in order to explore but if the initiative to advocate,
present one's views and bring into mutual awareness is not a norm,
welllllll.. . . .

I believe the good news is that the skills that facilitate the journey
into self-awareness can be learned, that learning anxiety (Schein's term)
can be reduced. However, the bad news is that the need to embark on the
journey is not apparent or embraced as a key leader competency. You note
the "short-term" focus. I think if we could package a pill for
self-awarenss, no pain, no time away from the job, voila! we'd have a
real money maker!!! Talk about organizational success. Maybe in time for
Christmas stockings.

Seriously, though, as I reread my post--there's another research project!

Thanks for your post and the thinking nudge this morning!


Sandy Wells, Ed.D.
Wells & Associates
Austin, TX
512 327 8095


"Sandy Wells" <>

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