LO's in Higher Education LO19834

Fri, 13 Nov 1998 09:57:33 -0800

Replying to LO19557 --

At, the following gave me a "shock of recognition" that made the hair on
the back of my neck stand up:

> Again Peter Senge affords us with some help. What we are in need of is
> the disciplines Mental Models and especially Team Learning (TL).
> Through my own experiences I have discovered a vital missing piece in
> the jigsaw puzzle of TL. Peter Senge managed to fit much of the puzzle
> together, but without this missing piece the puzzle will remain
> incomplete and skewed. This missing piece is that the learning team
> has to organise on the basis of VOLUNTARY and COMMITED participation.
> Under no circumstances must the formation be forced by executives --
> it has to be spontaneous. Note that these two principles also play a
> leading role in Barry Owen's breath taking practice of "open spaces".
> Why? Because they are fundamental to the dynamics of "irreversible
> self-organisation" (see Prigogine above).

I'm in a small software consulting company that's beginning to experience
dramatic growth. For many reasons, we'll have to become a LO in at least
some respects to be able to manage this growth successfully. In
conjunction with several other senior people, I'm trying to "midwife" this
transition, under the term of "quality initiative". As in many other
areas, quality in software is a compelling but elusive concept. I've
begun taking notes on my thoughts about what I'm calling a "Vision of
Quality". Here are a few excepts that your quote above puts in a
beautiful perspective:

- I believe people want to do quality work in a culture that supports it
(relates to meaningfulness - quality of work gives & relies on meaning).

- I believe that, by the right actions and words, I can tap into that
feeling in enough people to catalyze a movement.

- I believe that such a movement has as its root an individual commitment to
personal quality improvement, and to the desire to work with others to
make it a shared endeavor.

- I believe that, for such a movement to be sustainable, corporate approval
and sponsorship is necessary, but not sufficient.


- Quality cultures can be grown, but not built.

- Organizational quality grows from individual quality. An organization can
kill individual quality in its members, but can't create it. It can,
however, provide a fertile ground and nurturance.

- Sustainable quality requires sustained learning and striving.

Much of this, of course, springs from my reading on this list and related

I'd be interested in discussing this effort, particularly the prospects
for "catalyzing a movement". I believe I have enough high-level support
to have a chance of succeeding, since the leaders of the company seem to
be well aware of the problems attendant on growth. My sponsor has told
me, in effect, that it's OK for me to try things and fail, but not to fail
to try.


Don Dwiggins "Solvitur Ambulando" SEI Information Technology d.l.dwiggins@computer.org

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