Leverage points for organizational learning LO20510

Suzanne =?ISO-8859-1?Q?Sauv=E9?= (SSAUVE@MUS-NATURE.CA)
Thu, 28 Jan 1999 11:41:46 -0500

Replying to LO20497 --

Jeff asked:

>It seems fairly straightforward (not easy or simple, mind you--just more
>obvious, perhaps) to promote organizational learning as an outside
>consultant or as a manager with broad authority. There must be, however,
>other "leverage points" for being a "midw ife" to the learning
>organization. For example, what if you are (as I am) a professional
>staffer in a large organization? Where can you find a point of influence?
>I'm interested in hearing what others have to say about practicing the 5
>disciplines of th e learning organization in situations where you are not
>the designated change agent (or where the organization does not perceive
>the need for change yet thrashes around trying to cure systemic problems
>with purely technical solutions.)

In my experience, it first starts with becoming clear on what you want to
learn about and becoming clear on what you would like your work
environment to be. What is fundamental to you and then wanting to extend
that into the work environment. For example, I became interested in
learning about the power and effect of collaboration instead of
competition, of stretching myself creatively in trying new things and
taking on projects I knew little about but that felt I had potential for,
of offering the best possible customer service (from an HR perspective),
really caring about employee wellbeing and trying to influence the system
so that it would move in that direction. I have never been in a position
of power, but at one point I started to put pressure on my boss to hold
more team meetings (amazingly there was resistance to this at first), I
started writing a newsletter to inform people about what was going on in
HR (I only did it for a year, but at that point the org decided to create
a more formal weekly newsletter), I put a bigger push on marketing the
training function to make employees feel like the organization was
supporting them in their learning endeavour, I started organizing Lunch &
Learn semimars on a variety of topics like the Skills Gap (moving from
hierarchies to team environments), I developed and implemented an EAP
program, I joined the Occupational Health and Safety Committee. I
expanded my circle of influence. My bosses offered me the possibility of
experimenting and that of course was very helpful to me.

In my organization there a number of forums (workteams) where discussions
take place on core values, workplanning strategies, fundamental system
changes (classification systems), etc. I volunteer where I can, and I
bring what knowledge I have and the values I hold to the table.

Unknowlingly, in basically doing all these things to help my own learning,
I modelled behaviours that have had a rippling effect within the
organization. I have had a number of people tell me that I am a key
person in the organization. Frankly I have never seen myself that way,
but I have come to realize that leadership is in the knowing and in the
being. Knowledge gives weight to your interventions, but integrity,
sincerity, and true caring also have great influence, expecially in an
environment where there is a lot of turbulence and insecurity.

Basically, when I became excited about learning and change, I became a
change agent.

My two cents worth....from the grass roots level.



Suzanne =?ISO-8859-1?Q?Sauv=E9?= <SSAUVE@MUS-NATURE.CA>

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