Main Difficulties with LO LO27447

From: AM de Lange (
Date: 10/24/01

Replying to LO27438 --

Dear Organlearners,

Jan Lelie <> writes:

>There are five main difficulties:
>Mental models, Team Learning, Personal mastery,
>Shared Vision and Systems Thinking.
>Our mental models have been developed to reduce
>complexity, anxiety and to promote speed and
>efficiency in decision making.

Greetings dear Jan,

I found your last sentence quoted particularly interesting. For each
paradigm in whatever subject more anomalies develop through the course of
time. Eventually, when these anomalies become too many, a shift to a new
paradigm happen.

The four things which you mention:
. (1) reduce complexity, (2) reduce anxiety,
. (3) promote speed, (4) promote efficiency
are alien to complexity. The reasons are for (1) complexity increases, (2)
complexity intimidates, (3) complex things happen slowly and (4)
emergences are inefficient for work.

Just as each subject has its paradigm shifts as well as a faculty of
subjects has a common paradigm shift from time to time, the academy of all
the subjects together also has a common paradigm shift from time to time.
The average time between paradigm shifts in a subject is smaller than the
average time between paradigm shifts in a faculty while the latter is
smaller than the avarage time between paradigm shifts in academy.

We are now shifting in academy from the paradigm simplicity
to complexity. The four anomalies which you have mentioned
. (1) reduce complexity, (2) reduce anxiety,
. (3) promote speed, (4) promote efficiency
will hinder this shift. Since these anomalies are the result of
the Mental Models (MMs) of simplicity, can these MMs be
carried over to the paradigm complexity?

No.These MMs are certain frequently occuring mental outcomes based on the
paradigm simplicity. These simple mental outcomes have become MMs because
they occur so frequently. They will occur seldom as mental outcomes based
on complexity. Thus they will not become MMs of complexity. Complexity
will lead to its own MMs, i.e frequently occuring mental outcomes.

>Taking time to reflect on data, assumptions, truth
>meaning and beliefs is the best policy to promote
>a learning organisation. This is easier said than done.
>Not only, because the larger the group, the bigger
>the effort, the longer it will take. But because we've
>declared our beliefs holy. The moment that thinking
>and testing is stopped ("these are holy words", "if
>you're not with us, you're against us"), learning stops.

This is a powerful paragraph which witness to your own vast reflection on
the topic.

A powerful way to rellect is to question. The reason is that the question
is the primary tool with which we may reach from the formal level of
knowledge into its tacit level. In other words, should we stop
questioning, then formal learning will stop.

I am glad that you have connected Mental Models (MMs) to beliefs. As it is
for myself, I now understand clearly that MMs and "rote beliefs" are one
and the same thing. However, MMs and "authentic beliefs" are much

The two MMs which you have described as
(1) "these are holy words"
(2) "if you're not with us, you're against us"
are most interesting. (1) means for me "the meaning of these
words is fixed". This is clearly an impairing of liveness
("becoming-being"). (2) means for me "you do not count in
establishing my identity". This clearly an impairing of sureness
("identity-categoricity"). I have written often on (2) as LEM
(Law of Excluded Middle).

I did not want to overwhelm "ok3" with details, but merely used the lack
of wholeness to illustrate a main difficulty with a LO. (See LO27436) The
two MMs which you have mentioned, also bring liveness and sureness into
view. Liveness, sureness and wholeness are three of the 7Es (seven
essentialities of creativity). The other four are fruitfulness, spareness,
otherness and openness. This means that a lack in anyone or more of the
7Es is a main difficulty of transforming an OO (Ordinary Organisation)
into a LO (Learning Organisation).

Peter Senge speaks of the 11 essences of a LO. By combining some of them
in a suitable manner, they can be decreased in number seven and increased
in complexity to the 7Es. Nevertheless, a lack in one or more of these 11
essences will be a main difficulty in transforming a OO into a LO.

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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