LO Interview LO18055

Richard C. (thejournal@thresholds.com)
Sun, 10 May 1998 17:53:07 -0700

Replying to LO18040 --

Hi, Nancy--

I will attempt a few responses to your questions here--probably not as
deep as you will get from others, but it will be my contribution

Nancy Polend wrote:

> 1. What do you believe are the first few things that an organization who
> wishes to become a learning organization should do?

It is people (usually a person) who decides that they want to foster the
change to a learning organization. Organization's will be influenced to
change (and will resist the change) by the people and culture that
co-exist within the organization. If I were to advise a person who wanted
to create a change to a learning organization, I would suggest some
internal questioning (within the organization--hopefully in a meeting
convened with some of the powerbrokers) about current state, preferred
state and milestones to preferred state. This "visioning" process will
help determine whether an LO is the right way to go.

> 2. What do you believe are the top 3 business reasons organizations should
> strive to be a learning organization?

1. improve ROI2. improve ROI
3. improve ROI

> 3. What are some of the specific individual, group, and organizational
> interventions you believe can help organizations in their pursuit of
> becoming a learning organization?

I'm not sure why interventions are necessary--unless they are necessitated
by the situation that the organization finds itself in..

> 4. Do you believe certain industries are more apt to embrace the concept
> of becoming a learning organization? If so, which ones?

yes. industries where leaders are ready to accept some risk by changing
the way they do things in order to improve their ROI.

> 5. Do you believe it is realistic for government organizations to become
> learning organizations? What would be the 3business2 reasons for them to
> strive to be a LO?

Government organizations don't have business reasons. There is a lot of
the "validate and verify" culture in government; this is necessitated by
the nature of politics, the need for scapegoats in order that others may
defer blame. Government, most nonprofits, most institutions, many small
businesses, will find it difficult to change their modus operandi for
similar reasons. The potential for change, though, is there--it must
simply await more maturity in the development of LOs in businesses to
spread a culture of awareness to these other types of organizations.

> 6. If you had to name the main ingredients needed in an organization to
> begin the process of becoming a LO, what would they be?

Developing the capacity for power in the people who will make up the LO.
(Personal mastery, mental models, team learning, etc).

> 7. Do you believe the concept of the LO will ever be achieved in
> organizations on a global scale to the extent that it is a business norm
> vs. the exception?

I'm not sure that there is ever one business norm--except for change . . .
and that by the time LO's become more common throughout the world, they
will be known by many other names and other organizational models will
replace LO's (for instance, living organizational models--which
incorporate learning organizational characteristics and the five

ah, well--so much for my nostradamming.

walk in peace,


"Do not fight too much with one enemy, or you will teach him all your art of
war."  ^WNapoleon Bonaparte

Thresholds--developing critical skills for living organizations Richard C. "Doc" Holloway Olympia, WA ICQ# 10849650 Please visit our new website, still at <http://www.thresholds.com/> <mailto:learnshops@thresholds.com>

Learning-org -- Hosted by Rick Karash <rkarash@karash.com> Public Dialog on Learning Organizations -- <http://www.learning-org.com>