When is LO inappropriate? LO13789

Stever Robbins (stever@verstek.com)
Sat, 31 May 1997 03:51:51 -0400

Replying to LO13782 --

At 02:00 pm 5/30/97 BST-1, you wrote:
>Your 'model' seems to equate learning with advancement. As organisations
>are getting 'flatter' this becomes an increasingly impossible situation.

I actually equate it more with "substantive change in job responsibities."
In most organizations, such a change only comes about with
promotion/advancement to a higher level.

It does seem to me that the more skills a worker acquires, the more they
would want to be paid (and the more they would be worth). But as
organizations get flatter, I'm not sure how the pay scales would have to

>I have long held the view that learning, doing new things need not relate
>to advancement in conventional terms.

Oh, I agree 100%! I'm just mulling over how one creates enough new things
for people to do. As I mentioned in my previous message in this thread,
there are only so many new ideas a Taco Bell can implement. Ultimately,
the bulk of their need is for front line service people to stuff ground
meat-like substance into ground-and-hardened fried-tortilla-like

>In wider terms I believe we have to get people to want to learn and not to
>expect advancement because what you say is true, there are not that many

I agree. Unfortunately, I'm pretty pessimistic about human nature. In an
economy where CEOs get multimillion dollar option packages while they're
laying off front-line workers, I have a tough time imagining employees
giving up the expectation of advancement with their increase in skills. I
can easily imagine them taking an attitude of, "Hey, I've developed 80% of
the skills of Mr. Multimillion-dollar CEO and I'm begin paid 1/45th of his
salary. I'm outta here."

To some extent I'm not sure why I'm bringing this up, except that it seems
like a possible obstacle looming in the non-white-collar Learning
Organization future. I wish I had a good answer, but other than the
standard platitudes about getting people psyched about learning(*), I
don't know how we'd have to change the system to address this kind of
learning-glass-ceiling effect.

- Stever

(*) The replies to my postings on the "Teaching Smart vs. Not" thread
mostly seemed to boil down to: "learning in teams works best when you
choose people who want to learn and want to work in teams." My question
here follows from that: given that many people don't inherently want to
learn, and may not care incredibly much about their job, what can we do to
get them learning? The main answers that come to mind are: threaten them,
reward them, entice them, construct a situation where IN THEIR MINDS, they
perceive the need to learn. How one does the latter is far from obvious to me.


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