developing learning org in the absece of systemic players LO30114

From: Vana Prewitt (
Date: 04/17/03

Replying to LO30102 --

Donal Barry asks for thoughts about how to introduce LO concepts to the
front line workforce of an 8000 employee organization that has been
working on developing an LO for 3 years.

I have questions back:
1) you say they don't know about Senge. Why do they need to know this?

I personally don't bother with the terminology or theory for front line
people. Actually, LO theory often confuses and scares them because if they
are accustomed to the old system where knowledge=power they will assume
that something is going to be taken away from them.

2) you say they don't know about systems thinking. Do you want to teach
them the lingo or help them understand the interconnectedness and
interdependencies in their work world?

There are workshops, seminars, and experiential programs on systems
thinking, but my own experience is that for front line workers, they
simply need to understand the first level of systems. Once they get that
figured out, the rest comes a little easier.

I think of it in ecological terms...upstream and downstream processes, and
I use THEIR work and their environment to help them understand the system.
If they can see the system they work in, they can translate those concepts
to other systems. It's also easier to convince management that systems
training is valuable when it is directly related to the work at hand.

Probably one of the most famous systems games is the Beer Game but unless
they are manufacturing and shipping beer, I would design something for

3) If the organization is working to become a LO, can the employees see
any difference in their access to information previously unavailable? Are
there knowledge creating opportunities or collaborative learning
environments that have sprung up in the last 3 years? I think the things
the front line needs to know are how to work with a LO system. What
leadership needs to do is get it to them so they can leverage it.

Good luck,

Vana Prewitt
Praxis Learning Systems


"Vana Prewitt" <>

Learning-org -- Hosted by Rick Karash <> Public Dialog on Learning Organizations -- <>

"Learning-org" and the format of our message identifiers (LO1234, etc.) are trademarks of Richard Karash.