developing learning org in the absece of systemic players LO30134

From: Malcolm Burson (
Date: 04/22/03

Replying to LO30102 --

On April 16, Donal Barry wrote,

> I'd be interested in hearing from others who have worked this principle
> from the ground. My org is a large one 8000 members and higher
>management have developed a vision for a learning org. over a training
>programme these past 3 years.

Donal, I'd draw your attention to the article in the most recent
"Reflections: The SOL Journal," in which Fredrick Simon describes a
similar effort, "Lessons from Creating a Learning Organization."

[Host's Note: Malcolm asked in a side note about access to this journal...
There is online access, but there is a charge for non-subscribers for .pdf
copies of articles. Start at

>Currently very few people on the ground have >heard of senge or ideas

Well, I certainly agree with Vana Prewitt in LO30114 that the LO label or
Peter S's name aren't really important, and I'd say not just at the front
line, but anywhere. What matters is that they find ways to build the
organization's capacity for effective action.

>I'm thinking of developing a few communication
> spaces or reflective opportunities for a number of teams.Id love to talk
> to anyone who has actually done any of this type of work or indeed any
> other methods or processes which people found facilative of the notion of
> inquiry and gaining multiple perspectives.

In my own practise (which has been substantially as an internal
consultant), I've done a lot of this sort of work, and encourage you to
create those spaces and opportunities. In addition to the useful
activities in "The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook" related to Mental Models
and Team Learning, which I've used over and over to develop inquiry and
perspective-taking skills, I've developed and published a few others (one
on balancing inquiry and advocacy; the other on suspending assumptions" to
which I'd be happy to direct you off-list.

You may also want to review the current threads begun by Nick Heap on
"Workshop Design" (LO30044) and "LO and Appreciative Inquiry" (LO30088).
I have used the Appreciative Inquiry approach in partnership with LO, and
find them mutually reinforcing in very positive ways.

Best regards,

Malcolm Burson
Director of Special Projects
Maine Department of Environmental Protection


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