Yes, but does LO work? LO18980

Richard C. Holloway (
Wed, 26 Aug 1998 09:20:31 -0700

Replying to LO18961 --

Ed Brenegar wrote:

> Finally, while the Fifth Discipline may be thin on real world examples,
> the Field Book is filled with them. Question for the list: How have you
> used the Field Book to implement LO principles?

I've been using the Field Book for about 2 years. During that time, I've
purchased about 7 or 8 copies and given them to key people. In the last
unlearning organization I was employed by, 4 of those books went to
administrative leadworkers in a union shop. Since I left a year ago, they
tell me that they continue to use the Field Book to develop their teams
and their personal skills. Their teams have become a model of sorts
within this otherwise dysfunctional and malnourished organization.

My copy is well-thumbed and falls open at those areas I refer to
frequently. I know at least half a dozen OD practitioners who use the
Field Book frequently (one friend has had to tape her binding to hold the
book together).

I sometimes feel like a Johnny Appleseed (for those of you who don't know,
this character wandered throughout pioneer America planting apple
seeds--which took root and grew into thousands of apple trees, most of
which he never saw). I believe that it is possible to get people involved
in developing their own learning organizations--or at least learning more
about themselves and their organizations and thinking more deeply about
those things we speak about.

Although I enjoy hearing the success stories and lessons learned from
other organizations, I fully believe that each group of people has to walk
an individual path to turning their organization into an LO. Perhaps I'm
saying that it's as much an art as it is a science in developing an
thriving, learning organization. In either case, the fundamentals might
be the same, but the application is very specialized. Developing LO's is
certainly not a manufacturing process.

Now, to advocate something I've wondered (and hoped for) innumerable
times. A little story to draw a parallel first. Many years ago, when
Wang was the computer that many organizations were spending their
automation dollar on, I had the opportunity to work very closely with that
system and its' users. Personally--a great computer and software
development process, and I hated to see it go the way it did. One of the
finest features of Wang was the User's Group that one could join by
subscription. The User's (who were global) would develop new procedures
or programs to enhance the computer's capabilities--and then send it to
Wang. Wang would distribute it to each and all of the subscribers without
a software development premium. I upgraded my system a number of times
with other people's upgrade developments and spent only the nominal
subscription fee to do so.

My dream has been to see something like this among users of the 5th
Discipline Fieldbook. We all know, I'm sure, that it went to press shy
several chapters (see the Lost Chapters website at ). I would enjoy subscribing to a
developing Fieldbook, reflecting the learning and development among
practitioners. In this wonderful web-world of ours, the subscription and
contributions could all be done through the internet. Now, I know that
there would be a number of obstacles to this (copyright infringement?
willingness to share proprietary information?) idea--but thought I'd pitch
it just the same.



"The future is uncertain . . . but this uncertainty is at the very heart of
human creativity."  -Ilya Prigogine

Thresholds <> Meeting Masters <> Richard C. "Doc" Holloway Astoria, Or & Olympia, WA USA ICQ# 10849650 voice 360.786.0925

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