Self organizing systems exercise LO13340

thomas petzinger (
Tue, 22 Apr 97 12:58:37 UT

Replying to LO13323 --

Bette Gardner writes, " I believe principles of self organization can work
here....I have an opportunity coming up to lead a retreat in which we
could work on this, and I'm thinking that an experiential exercise would
be the most powerful way to stimulate participants to consider these

A few thoughts for you:

-- There was a fabled event, described in the leadership literature, when
General Electric was seeking to conquer a cultural divide between two
merging divisions. The company arranged for scores of people from both
sides to spend a single day collaborating in the complete rennovation of a
run-down urban YMCA--paint, drywall, the works. Though not intended as a
demonstration of self-organization, the tight deadline, the lack of any
hierarchy and the immediate belief in the mission caused the group to
self-organize, with tremendous result. (If you would like a cite on this
let me know.) You could conduct a similar exercise on a smaller scale. It
would be fun to see what happened if you told your group they had four
hours, or whatever, to prepare and serve a great meal at a nursing home.

-- I assume you have seen the Wheatley and Kellner-Rogers book "A Simpler
Way," which, while not an exercise, is delicious food for thought.

-- Lastly, I have written a few columns on self-organization in the
workplace which I would be happy to fax to you, if you would provide your
number, or to send by e-mail. I'm not sure Rick would want me to post them

Tom Petzinger

"The Front Lines"--Every Friday in The Wall Street Journal

"The arms of consciousness reach out and grope, and the longer they are, the
better. Tentacles, not wings, are Apollo's natural members." --Vladimir


"thomas petzinger" <>

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