Teaching Smart vs. not LO13520

Alan Stephenson (AStephenson@kollmorgen.com)
Wed, 7 May 1997 09:01:46 -0400

Replying to LO13416 --

>Michela Gort wrote
>So how often do we classify students or colleagues as "slow learners" or
>"special needs" or unable to master a technique? And how often does that
>affect the way we view them, and the way they view themselves? How much of
>this is self-fulfilling prophecy?>

As a practitioner in an industrial environment I see this happening in the
work place every day.

Fifteen months ago I took responsibility for a plant of 800 people,the
objective given to me , and accepted by me , was " turn the performance

A few months earlier the plant had gone through a union campaign,which was
defeated,and to say the least the incumbent management and the workforce
viewed each other as each being useless and unable to cooperate to get
anything done.Delivery and quality were a disaster.

People believed that they were incapable of affecting business
results,they believed that they were incapable of making decisons and
incapable of working cooperatively. Much like the students in Micheal
Gorts example, the performance reflected this view of themselves.

Without going into long detail about how the plant was turned around,a
story in itself, they key was to gradually engage the whole workforce in
helping to redisign the workflows for efficient operation, we taught
people how do do this , and did it with a sense of urgency.We actually
moved almost every peice of equipment in 3 - five day "events" , created
chaos and emerged with a new sense of purpose.

Last week we held a one day "Plant Study Program" in conjunction with a
national industry association.

The very same people who a year ago didn't believe in themselves made all
the on-floor presentations,talked about their successes and learnings and
got rave reviews from the participants,some of them being competitors.

The message in all this is that had we continued to view everyone as
incapable,limited in their ability etc etc...we would probably be out of

Alan Stephenson


"Alan Stephenson (ID)" <AStephenson@kollmorgen.com>

Learning-org -- An Internet Dialog on Learning Organizations For info: <rkarash@karash.com> -or- <http://world.std.com/~lo/>