Dis-integration LO20609 -was: Intro -- Dennis Rolleston

Mon, 8 Feb 1999 09:01:16 -0600

Replying to LO20585:

Dennis writes:

>In ... 14 years our work force has
>decreased from approx. 2800 to 1300. We have also been through TQM, 4
>quadrant leadership and a number of other similar type programs, most run
>by oversees training organisations. The cost of these programs has been
>The benefits for my organisation derived from these programs are wide open
>to debate. While individuals, mainly salaried staff, have benefited
>tremendously ... many of our shop floor people tell me they are doing the
>same things the same way that they have always done them.

This is a good sign that either (a) the old way of doing things was the
best way all along; or (b) middle management (Tier 2) is disengaged. I
lean toward (b). If system-level work doesn't translate to front-line
changes, it's a good bet that the system work isn't being applied
properly. The proper role of middle management is to translate policy
outward (top-down, from Tier 1 to Tier 3) and practical advice inward
(bottom-up, from Tier 3 to Tier 2). It could be that this isn't
happening. In my agency I call this phenomenon the "Tier 2 disconnect."
It's common, pervasive and destructive. The fact that Dennis'
organization has been cut in half also makes me wonder whether Tier 2 has
been gutted, leaving the remaining middle managers fully occupied with

>Our senior training and development people are beginning to talk of
>"learning organisations".

Uh-oh, I think you're really in trouble now. If the senior folks aren't
asking serious questions about the integration of Tiers 1, 2 and 3, they
won't get anywhere with the LO concept. They might do well to invest
their time in learning how the existing organization works. Change will
never make sense unless the reality it's based on is understood first.

Good luck!

* David E. Birren
Organizational Consultant, Wisconsin Department of Natural
(608) 267-2442



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