Business Case For LO LO17549

John Dicus (
Wed, 25 Mar 1998 11:18:34 -0500

Replying to LO17511 --

Dear Ann,

In making a business case for a Learning Organization, this may not be the
answer you're looking for. But the question you ask is not an easy one to
answer. I think the reason has much to do with where the "asker" is with
respect to the shift in consciousness. I'm not referring to you as much
as I am to those who are asking you the question.

Let's use the term "Learning Organization" to designate the pattern for
the type organization we wish to create. Few people have had the
experience of working in such an organization. (Although I do believe that
many people have had experiences, however brief, that are consistent with
such an organization.) We then are faced with convincing another person
that it would be beneficial to change into something we can't fully
describe. In addition, we can't begin to anticipate nor articulate what's
involved in making the transition, both personally and organizationally.

But if we could look back from the future on the shift from our "old"
organization to our "new" Learning Organization, it would probably feel
like common sense and require no explanation. The real challenge is to
hold the "turning point" (the point of "shift in consciousness") in our
minds and be able to talk about it. It would be like remembering the
exact moment you could "ride a bicycle" and then be able to describe to
someone who couldn't what you felt and realized -- what you were beginning
to be able to see that you couldn't before. If we wait too long after the
shift in consciousness, we'll forget where we've been.

In helping organizations along their journey to becoming an LO, we usually
have two groups of people. Those who can't imagine what it means, and
those who believe they see it so clearly that they can't relate to those
who can't.

One way to help your organization learn why making the "shift" is
beneficial is to take a look into the future by talking about what it
could be like -- how it would be different -- why it would be better.
Don't skip over the conversations that deal with the pain and fear of
changing. For many, the shift will not be easy.

Peter Senge once wrote a short article on what it would feel like to work
in an LO. The title of the article was "How Do You Know If Your
Organization Is Learning?" He described the working climate as he
imagined it. He described the human interactions and their consequences.
It would be a good exercise for you and your organization to take that as
a starting point and expand on it until it feels right for you

One other thing that is good to try is to talk very openly about the
"consequences in inaction" -- the consequences of NOT working towards the
shift to an LO.

To help an organization become more in charge of their own learning path,
I favor giving them experiences in what living/working in an LO feels like
-- how the teams preform and are supported -- how systems behave -- and so
forth. These experiences put LO's into their own terminology and tie them
to their own concerns and business issues.

Hope all goes well with your efforts.

Warm regards,

John Dicus


John Dicus | Cornerstone Consulting Associates Providing Experiences In... Teamwork - Systems - Stewardship | 800-773-8017 (in US) | 330-725-2728 (voice/fax) 2761 Stiegler Rd, Valley City OH 44280 **Join an Online Dialogue --**

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