On being a learning organization LO31181

From: Christine Piontek (Christine.Piontek@heifer.org)
Date: 10/14/04

Replying to LO31177 --

Thank you to all who pointed out the contradiction between being
nameless and the obvious connection with my organization through my
e-mail address. My mental reflexes were working a little slow on that
one. The main point I was trying to make was not to ensure
confidentiality, but that this could apply to any of a number of
similarly profiled organizations. I should have expressed this more
clearly. Thanks again for the insight. List serve etiquette is an
ongoing learning process.

Regarding a question about some more of my own background... After a
stint in the corporate sector in Europe I returned to the US about 5
years ago to go back to my passion - working for the under-privileged
in the non-profit sector. It has been quite an amazing journey and
transition. One of the things that impressed me about organizations in
the US were the business buzzwords and organizational development
strategies like institutional memory & learning, knowledge management,
etc. that pervaded the scene.

Being an educator and also someone committed to lifelong learning, I
was struck by the disconnect between what is said and what actually
gets done at self-identified "learning organizations." This mirrors in
some ways what educators observe at an individual level. We can be
excellent teachers, but very poor practitioners. Likewise, we can be
excellent students but poor learners. Though learning is intrinsically
an in intuitive, internal process, it does in fact leave a trail so to
speak - an outward manifestation of its presence, or absence. It's
curious that this is also the case at the organizational level as

I'm very interested in hearing personal experiences with organizations
that are actually practicing learning and effectively demonstrating
institutional memory.

There are myriad opportunities and resources available to us today.
There is amazing information technology to support such efforts.
However, it is the individual (even within an organizational context)
that must demonstrate commitment and application to the underlying
principles of learning in order to truly make such tools effective.

Cheers -



"Christine Piontek" <Christine.Piontek@heifer.org>

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