Hard Work and Efficient Management = Success? LO28417

From: AM de Lange (amdelange@postino.up.ac.za)
Date: 05/06/02

Replying to LO28368 --

Dear Organlearners,

Jan Lelie <janlelie@wxs.nl> writes:

>Excuse me for going back to the first message in the
>thread, i've been involved in some other activities and
>this seemed to mee the simplest anchorpoint. You seem
>to have been in a double bind: your organisation and
>you (and every ther member) have created a situation
>of paralysis.

Greetings dear Jan,

Thank you for your input to the dialogue. Good wine becomes better when
allowed to age. I have decided to put all contributions to this topic
together in one volume and then had it over to the manager of that
organisation. Thus your's is received with great thanks because I have not
yet begun with that compilation job.

Yes, the organisation is paralysed and I am paralysed too. Allow me to
describe my own paralyses.

The organisation makes use of learning, but it is sheer rote learning. Its
members get fed with information brochures, studies and lectures. This
they have to soak up like sponges as if they are not capable of creating
self knowledge from within. Their own experiences and the tacit knowing
derived from them means nothing. The knowledge of each member has to be
controlled by external information sources rather than these information
sources being digested by the learner's internal kernels of knowing. These
internal kernels of knowing are considered to be useless or dangerous
because of the sinful nature of humankind.

How can I stop people from being controlled and even battered by this
Tsunami of information? By presenting them with a Tsunami of information
as I do on our dear LO-dialogue? ;-) No that I cannot do because it will
not work. So in this sense I am paralysed very much.

But I am not paralysed completely. I have mention that I am part of a team
on a small project in that organisation. In that project I see my task to
guide everyone incolved with it into authentic learning. I do not say
much, but whenever authentic learning gets endangered by the culture of
rote leaning which paralysed the whole organisation, I try to get it safe
on course again by making a constructive remark.

I cannot write too much on the paralysis of the organisation because I
want to keep the main activity of that organisation a secrete. I will
report to the LO-dialogue, if God permits, on that main activity after the
project has been completed, for better or worse. This much I can say --
the organisation is very involved with external information. I firmly
believe that its inability to deal with all information sources in its
daily activities causes itself to become controlled by such sources. This
causes its paralysis.

Many members who abhor such a paralysis, simply resign from the
organisation to go and work elsewhere. One of the graphs which the manager
showed during the seminar, is how undoing this paralysis will imbetter the
financial income of the organisation. He based this extrapolation graph on
actual numbers from past years. I felt that evening that this graph
paralysed the attendees to seminar even more.

Since he reversed the facts going back into the past to obtain data for
extrapolating to the future, he made the assumption that managing the
organisation is a reversible process. He as once a practising chemist
should have known better. Any irreversible reaction going into the wrong
direction has to be complemented by another irreversible reaction to steer
its subsequent outcome into the right direction. Trying to reverse an
irreversible reaction requires too much hard work for which the
organisation does not have the free energy.

>All actions are framed inside a system that gives
>meaning to the actions; but what happens when the
>system signals: these actions have no meaning. In
>this case, hard work and efficiency have resulted in
>success, upto the oint were there is no more gain.
>The meaning of the actions was "success" and the
>system now says: "we've run out of success"; there is
>a constraint that blocks further success. Because
>almost any manager will identify with the success ("his
>success") and derives his "meaning" from the success,
>he -- and you -- became stuck when more hard work
>and efficiency are no longer required.

Dear Jan, thank you for this valuable comment. I see it somewhat
different. The meaning of the actions of an organisation are not framed
only in itself as a system SY, but also in terms of all its surrounding
systems SU of the environment. Thus the Systems Thinking of the
organisation has to involve both the SY and the SU. But yes, I agree with
you that the successes of the past are a poor indicator of a meaningful
organisation. Such successes rather tend to hypnotise the organisation,
making it oblivious to creating a successful future.

One thing I have become sure of as a result of your comment is that "hard
work" and "efficient management" do not give meaning to an organisation,
but are rather the fruits of a meaningful organisation.

>To resolve the situation, i'd suggest that you talk
>with the manager in private about your stuckness
>- or that somebody who is trusted both by you and
>the manager reflects on this situation, as a sign of the
>stuckness of the organisation.

This exactly why I am going to use you fellow learners as the trustworthy
"somebody" to act as the mediator. He does not know about you all, but I
do. Your responses up to now are a clear manifestation to me of your
trustworthyness. Thank you all.

With care and best wishes,


At de Lange <amdelange@gold.up.ac.za> 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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