Replying to LO28420 --
Judy Tal <email@example.com> writes
>I read the messages on this thread with much interest.
>It is less abstract than most of what we discuss, it
>bears your concern about specific (real) individuals,
>with specific (real) problems, in a specific (real) set-up
>... this means, among other things, that special care
>and sensitivity is needed.
Greetings dear Judy,
What happened during the seminar that evening is as real as me typing now
and you reading it later. The fact that I decided that night not to
participate, but merely to oberve, made it clear to me that this
organisation needs a paradigm shift in its management. In fact, it was so
shockingly clear that I became dazed by it. Hence I wondered whether it is
not me who had been wandering too much in mind. That is why I asked you
dear fellow learners to help me out.
I tried to describe as best what happened that evening within its
historical context. Since I had seen this situation in several other
organisations of different kinds in the past, I decided not to disclose
the kind of organisation to you fellow learners, thinking that we all may
experience a valuable learning opportunity. But what strikes me NOW is
that in all my previous observations I felt the necessity of a paradigm
shift never as CLOSE as that evening. Without all the help of your fellow
learners I would not have come to this understanding.
>I understand that you At, are not an employee in
>this organisation, therefore you have (for a while)
>the privilege to observe the way it functions with a
>fresh (in terms of the duration of the problem),
>objective eye. I also assume that most of the insights
>you shared with us became possible (visible) to you
>during that phase.
Please do not try to figure out my formal role in the organisation. All
that I can say, and that sounds wierd, is that I am an employee on a
What I did that evening, is what I learned through experience to be a good
teacher. Sometimes it is necessary to become what I call the "detached
observer". In Quantum Mechanics there is a (in)famous problem known as the
"measurement problem". Each QM measurement changes the QM system
irreversible so that after the measurement it is not the same as before
the measurement. I have become deeply aware that in "Teaching Mechanics"
;-) it is much the same. When I give learners a test (measurement) it
changes them irreversibly. So in order to find out what they know without
testing them, I just had to observe them closely. In due time I will learn
what they know without me interfering with testing. They will give out
without me having to put something in to get it out. Such a revealing
often leads to a revelation for me.
>I don't know what it is that you undertook, but
>most mal-functioning systems tend to "contaminate"
>other systems that interact with it (consultants,
>customers, suppliers, etc ...).
>In my experience (it has theoretical roots too), a
>most powerful and authentic contribution can occurs
>when such a contamination is allowed.
I think I understand what you mean. This "contamination" is like an
infectious disease. One animal having this disease infects others of the
same kind. In order for their immunological systems to get functional,
they have to get these diseases. Keeping an animal in disease free
conditions is deadly to that animal once that conditions are taken away.
Its immunological system has to cope with so many diseases simultaneously
that it simply "kicks the bucket".
As for what "contamination" the organisation has, you made me think once
again deeply. I can think of several, but the one which I think is most
serious, has to do with livesness. Please bear with me my articulation of
it. The majority in the organisation focus on "diversity of being" and
actually shy away from "diversity of becoming". They will easily allow a
new structure and even invite it, but then its processes have to act
according to the rules for exisisting structures. They try to regulate
(reglementarism) too much for the very reason of avoiding the
"contamination" of working without rules. Should I put it to the
organisation that it focus too much on order and too little on chaos, I
think it will become shaken into its very foundations. I think it need to
focus on "order out of chaos". I hope it makes sense to you and other
With care and best wishes
At de Lange <firstname.lastname@example.org> 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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