Practical exercises in the Essentialities LO28166

From: Don Dwiggins (
Date: 04/07/02

Fred Nickols writes in LO27831:
> Hmm. I'm no great thinker and I don't pretend for a minute to grasp the
> seven Es but I don't think their own "wholeness" could be one of them,
> although the more general notion of wholeness certainly might. To my way
> of thinking, wholeness of anything consists of the parts AND their
> relationships. The parts are members of one class of things and their
> relationships are members of another. Thus, the Es are members of one
> class and the relationships between and among them belong to another.

Fred, it seems like you're beginning to grasp the Es, or at least to come
to grips with them. I've thought for some time that it'd be useful for us
to discuss various practical topics in terms of these essences, in order
to learn them cooperatively, and begin to make them practical tools for
thinking, talking, and doing. As a start, here's a brief take on a couple
of current events:

Question: which were the primary essentialities that were impaired within
Enron to allow things to get as bad as they did? My "vote" is for spareness
and otherness:
Spareness, because they failed to appreciate the limits of their ability to
cover one bad bet with another;
Otherness, because they allowed themselves to develop an insular state of
mind that kept them from being able to see the warning signals from an
outsider's point of view.

Would someone like to argue for liveness, or perhaps openness?

(This shouldn't be an either/or kind of exercise. You may well, and
validly, see other Es at work here. As At has pointed out, they're
neither independent nor exclusive. Personally, I have an image of them as
facets in a sort of compound eye, each giving a different perspective, all
complementing each other. At's image of the wine glass may be even
better, since it incorporates the growth process.)

Next, consider the current situation in Afghanistan, compared with the
situation under the Taliban. In terms of the essentialities, what has
been gained by the war? What has been lost? What are the most crucial Es
to be enhanced, in order to have a chance at a stable, sustainable nation
(individually, or in combinations such as "deep liveness")? (I'll vote
for otherness and openness as the most urgent initially.)

Finally, from Jan Lelie's message (LO27934):
> In using interventions from the Fifth Discipline I was always very
> conscious on measurable results reduced inventories, reduced cost,
> improved quality. As we "grew" in managing improvements, the results
> exploded. We increased the inventory truns from less than 1 - were it had
> been for years, to more than 10. We out-performed several other factories.
> But times and times again the management changed the rules. Also, our
> sales and marketing was too weak and in the end I was fired and the
> factory was first "resized" then "merged" then "sold" and is now closed.

What Es were impaired here, to cause obvious improvements, with positive
implications for the company, to be ignored, or perhaps even actively

If you can think of other "examplars for study" that would serve better
than these for exploring the 7Es, by all means go for them!

Best wishes for fruitful learning,


Don Dwiggins "In a time of drastic change it is the learners who survive; the 'learned' find themselves fully equipped to live in a world that no longer exists." -- Eric Hoffer

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