Dealing with Tough Issues LO17479

Joseph Voros (
Thu, 19 Mar 1998 16:35:14 +1000

Replying to LO17455 --

Bill Harris wrote:
> It seems like most (admittedly, not all) of the discussion has centered
> around advocating one or the other positions or perhaps inquiring into one
> or the other. After much time, there are still two camps, though, so it
> seems unlikely that many will change their minds.
> So, how do we learning-org'ers deal with situations like this? (This is a
> tickler to provoke some double loop learning discussion on dealing with
> _any_ issue where there seems to be entrenched disagreement, not a prompt
> to restate reasons for either side on this discussion.)

It seems to me that any fundamental dis-agreement is probably founded upon
a different collection of mental models on either side. Edward de Bono
uses the term "logic bubble" to mean a similar thing -- each person/side
is operating logically within their own set of assumptions and experience;
but these may differ from those of the other side/person.

The problem seems therefore to arise from the fact that each side does not
"see" how the other is being reasonable -- they may be judging from their
own perspective, rather than shifting perspectives to see how it is just
as reasonable from the other.

I would tackle this by asking each side to consciously and deliberately
detail their assumptions, with diagrams or whatever, showing how these
lead to what they believe(*). This helps to clarify the the thought
process, and then provides a basis for both sides to look at their
respective assumptions and find common ground. If they find some, they can
move forward. If they find none, they know then to stop :-)

(*) There is a technique developed by de Bono called the "Flowscape"
which maps out assumptions and perceptions. It is detailed in the book
"Water Logic"


Dr. Joseph Voros               Melbourne, Australia

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