Late introduction LO22820

Nick Heap (
Thu, 7 Oct 1999 17:19:13 +0100

Dear All,

I have been happily interacting with people on the list without
introducing myself to most of you. Sorry. I did send something to At van
Lange in response to his generous feedback on an article of mine. What
follows is a slightly edited version of this. It should explain my
interest in learning and organisations.

"I think there are a few things you should know about me. My parents did
one remarkable thing when I was very small. When I asked the endless "why"
questions and they did not know the answer, both would say "I don,t know
you will have to find out". I was really encouraged to think for myself.

This led me in to a fascination with the natural world and then how it all
worked even molecularly. I became, eventually, a research chemist with ICI
(a big chemical company). During my Ph D I felt that the tiny bit of
nature I was trying to understand was like a person, beautiful, elusive
and with many layers. Often, I would think that I had designed the
experiment that would give me a definite "Yes" or "No" and I would get a
"Maybe" instead. S(he) was not going to be understood so easily. When I
got to a truth it was very exciting.

Scientific training is very individual. It is quite rare to work in teams.
Therefore when we arrived at ICI most of us were "prima donna's" who
competed and did not value working together. The company offered some
training where for several days a group of us examined our behaviour as it
happened. We a facilitator to help us but his role was to keep us to the
task and provide support when we needed it. This happened 30 years ago and
is still very vivid to me. They key insight I had was that the most
important thing that we need to do is to listen to each other and work
together. The resources of the planet are enough for all of us to have
satisfying and happy lives and for it to be healthy. I had been aware for
years of having an awareness or vision of what this would be like.

This learning was not conceptual it came from the quality of the
experience in the group. I think this is how I learn best, by experience.
At the course I made the decision that I would work to help people listen
to each other. I felt that I had little choice but to make this decision.
I was being blown along by a strong warm wind.

It took four years to persuade ICI that I should be working as a
facilitator not a research chemist. On the way I became a Samaritan
(listening to potentially suicidal people) and worked as a marriage
counsellor. This was partly for my experiential and personal development
and partially to prove to the organisation I was serious.

Luckily, I did succeed and got a job with ICI as an internal organisation
development consultant. ICI retrained me on several experiential courses
which helped a lot. My predecessor was a social scientist. He produced
beautiful analyses of situations and profound recommendations.
Unfortunately, his recommendations were seldom acted on. I realised I did
not have his expertise and this was an advantage. I could go in, listen to
people, help them listen to each other and work together, help them
produce their own solutions and they would act on them because they owned
them. I did this for several years and was eventually made redundant
because the Division I was in merged with another. I finally set up on my
own in 1982. I have been facilitating development professionally with
individuals, teams and organisations ever since.

Another bit. I am married to Kay (for 33 years) and have two grown up
children. We like travel, gardening, reading and walking and having meals
with friends. I also make Meccano models, it's very concrete which is a
nice contrast to the work.

I am trying to learn about the learning organisation and find out about
E-mail networking and I hope make some new friends by engaging in this
learning organisation.

Tricia Lustig introduced me to the list. We are discussing a project with
a bank to set up consortium learning with other international companies.
This will turn out to be a "learning organisation", if we succeed. "

Best wishes and many thanks,

Nick Heap

[Host's Note: Nick, we welcome you and thanks for the intro. ..Rick]


"Nick Heap" <>

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