Becoming a Learning Organization LO19737

Bruce Jones (
Wed, 4 Nov 1998 08:22:18 -0600

Replying to LO19732 --

Hello Camille:

First let me explain my job here and what we do and are. My official job
title is Organizational Development Specialist. I was hired by the
education department to help bring online testing and training into being
at our institution. I am not an LO professional. I am still struggling
with what all that entails and how it works. I am a Medical Technologist
be profession and an Educational Technologist (in training) by sheer good
luck. I work for a healthcare provider. We are a 300 bed, acute care,
for profit facility. Our department is responsible for the training
(ongoing) of staff (2000 employees) in their various roles to maintain a
high profile, high quality healthcare facility. One of our
responsibilities is New Employee Orientation so I will start with
questions # 6 and #5:

> 6. How do you indoctrinate a new employee?
> 5. How do you indoctrinate a new fellow employee?

First let me change a word, we do not "indoctrinate" new or fellow
employees. We introduce and orient them. One of the cultural ingredients
of our facility is open friendliness. This is not an easy thing to
maintain in a work environment that is inherently and intensely stressful.
We try to make it our FIRST priority to get to know as many people as
possible at all levels of the organization and to introduce, either
personally or by short biography and a picture, each and every one. This
is an impossible task but by doing this a feeling of belonging starts
early. EVERYBODY is called by their first name including the CEO. This
promotes a family atmosphere.

> 8. How do you deal with an employee who does not enroll? How does that
> employee effect the other employees?

The system takes care of itself with "non-subscribers".

A little fable: A man was approached by another man and asked what the
people were like in a town he wanted to move to. The first man asked what
the people were like in the last town he lived in. The second man replied
that they were selfish and rude and unhappy. They are the same here the
first man replied. I would suggest you move on. Later that day a second
man asked what the people were like as he too wished to move to this town.
The first man asked the same question; "What were the people like where
you lived?" To this the second man answered; "Friendly, considerate,
helpful, supportive." To this the first man replied, "Welcome brother".
Like begets like, if you have an institution that is overall friendly and
supportive then the "non-subscribers" will not last long as either
non-supporters or as employees.

> 11. When employees have a new idea or see a new opportunity, how are they
> told to act on it?

Immediately and with authority. The employee is doing the job, not the
management. If an employee sees a chance for improvement or a problem,
they are asked to get in touch with their supervisor and discuss the
solution. From there it is either taken care of on the spot or, if patient
care might be affected, it is reviewed by a committee of employees -- NO
management -- and through a facilitated process a recommendation is made
to adopt or reject the solution.

> 15. Please basically describe what your organization does.

See opening statement.

> 10. As a result of this new outlook, what are the biggest changes you've
> noticed?

More ownership to the institution, its employees and the process of
healing, without all the backbiting and bickering. These things still
occur but not as a vicious, cut throat, winner take all contest. They
occur as in any family group, with eventual respect and teamwork.

> 16. Please describe your job.

See intro.

This may sound utopian in nature. It is. This is what we are striving for.
We still have a ways to go but we are farther along than we were 5 years
ago when we started this process.

I hope this helps!

Bruce Jones
Organizational Development Specialist
Northwest Texas Healthcare Systems
Amarillo, Texas


"Bruce Jones" <>

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