Interview of a Deep Kind LO23026

AM de Lange (
Wed, 27 Oct 1999 13:11:00 +0200

Replying to LO22980 --

Dear Organlearners,

Winfried Dressler <> writes:

>In the past 4 years I was responsible for the strategy of one
>product group within a division consisting of a dozen product
>groups. People think that I have done a good job and starting
>from December I am asked to become a promotor of strategy
>development and coach of the general managers of all product

Greetings Winfried,

Congratulations. I wonder how much our dialogue on the LO list involving
all fellow learners contributed to it?

It is one thing for people to think that you have done a good job. You
may easily use that as an excuse to condone your future actions. It is a
different thing to know yourself that you have done a good job. That job
is of the past. The only thing which you can connect to in order to change
the future, is the present, not the past. Furthermore, the present becomes
the past (from which we may seek only guidance) sooner than we would have
wished for.

>As you can imagine, I am thinking about how to get started.
>My conclusion so far is that the best will be a one by one
>approach, concentrating on one product group for two to four
>weeks at a time. Most crucial seems to me to be the first
>contacts. I think of scheduling three to five interviews "of a
>deep kind" in order to understand the product group.

I like the "Most crucial seems to me to be the first contacts." It has
very much to do with the essentiality fruitfulness ('connect- beget"). The
effective contact can be between a person and a person, a person and a
thing or a thing and a thing. I have seen many a venture going astray
because a person, after an effective contact has been made, allowed it to
disintegrate. All effective contacts between two systems are always less
stable than the internal stability of each of the two systems. In other
words, effective contacts are always frail and as such the person(s)
involved must take care that contact is not broken again.

I also like the "I think of scheduling ..[several]... interviews ... ...
to understand ...... ". It has very much to do with dialogue, one of the
five elementary sustainers of creativity. The word "elementary" tells us
that these sustainers are particularly useful in going deep into
creativity, so deep that we go beyond any formal explications (revered
theories, standard practices) and their possible closures so that we can
make directly contact with the tacit knowledge of people participating in
the sustainer.

I also like the "...(to understand) the product group" because it tells me
that you may have a second elementary sustainer in mind, namely "exemplar
exploring". But at the same time I am also a little bit worried. You may
have the group of people in mind as the exemplar and not the product(s)
which this group of people are responsible for. In that case they will
react by considering you as the exemplar rather than their own product(s).
Consequently, as sure as I am writing it now, both you and the group will
fail to come to a deeper understanding. I have observed this dynamics too
many times not to doubt failure as its outcome.

I am also worried that you might become the "unlomo (hub) of the
understanding" because of W+A, W+B, W+C, ......(where W represents
Winfried and A, B, C, ... represents the various groups) without any
combinations like A+B, A+C, B+C, .... In such a case, when the groups have
to interact with each other, they will inadvertedly use associative
patterns of the form A+W+B, A+W+C, B+W+C, .... You will notice that we are
now deep into the essentiality wholeness ("associativity-monadicity"). I
know that you are sensitive to them, experientially, tacitly and formally.
But you must not lose sight of the sapient level. Your groups are only
experentially and tacitly aware of them. But for these groups to know them
formally is very tough task as it was for you and me. Thus you may
inadvertedly bind these seven essentialities to you as person. This will
be another invitation to failure.

This brings me to a deeper thing. Is your role in the whole operation that
of a guide (facilitator, coach, teacher) or that of an executive manager
who is responsible to decide for (and sometimes with) the product groups
and live with the descisions? In other words, are you in the system SY or
on its outside SU? The reason why I ask is because the system has to
SELF-ORGANISE IRREVERSIBLY in order to adapt, compete, produce end evolve
persistently. If you are part of the SY, then you have to participate in
the irreversible self-organisation with the "centre of intellect" on you.
But if you are part of the SU, then you will have to guide the SY to think
twice:- firstly (superficial) about their day-to-day activities and
secondly (deeper) about their irreversible self-orgnaisation. In other
words, you will have to teach them double loop learning. Resist the
temptation to make it look as if you were the key or intelligent factor to
the success.

>Now my question (isn't this the first time that I ask for assistance
>from all you consultants on the list, for whom my situation will
>be part of daily routine?):

In your earlier requests of a similar nature I did not respond to because
authentic self-learning is much better than rote learning. (I did to try
to respond to your other questions which I perceived as to be part of your
authentic learning.) I am responding to this request because I perceive
that you are deeply under the impression of the complexity of your task.
How do I perceptually distinguish between authentic and rote learning?
Rote learning is but a caricature of digestive learning. Digestive
learning is the one leg and emergent learning the other leg by which
authetic learning proceeds. Typical of emergent learning is its adjoints
at each emergence: excitement, curiosity, optimism and happiness. The
abscence of these adjoints signals digestive learning or rote learning as
a sad approximation of it. Thanks Winfried for showing me the adjoints
between the lines.

>How would you structure such "getting into it" interviews?

Make use of the "free dialogue" and "examplar exploring".

>What is most crucial to achieve?

Arrive creatively at some "common core of understanding" (systems
thinking, profound knowledge) for every member of every group. In other
words, develop metaphorically speaking an "organisation dialect" a
(propriety language) which every member can and will use to communicate
effectively with all the other members in the organisation.

Make sure that the grammer of this "organisation dialect" will allow easy
and clear communication on emergences of the highest order such as hope,
faith and love. In other words, do not exclude or minimise spirituality in
the dialogue otherwise it would not be a "free dialogue". It is very easy
to conform to the products of each group as the most important thing to
talk about and act upon and thus to think of metanoia as less important.

>What are the most dangerous pitfalls?

Trying to pull off a fast job.~~~ You and your fellow workers are in for
some pretty complex emergences which will take a long time. Try to prevent
the dillation of emergence times by making use of the seven
essentialities. But also avoid trying to do it in shorter time than the
intrinsical emergence times. In other words, be patient for and show
respect to the individual learning and organisational learning which need
to happen.

Trying to by-pass self-organisation. ~~~ Let the members of each group
self produce the entropy needed. Do not use of external means to produce
entropy. Be especially careful of using fear, competition, slogans or
other exhortations (Digestor mechanics) to advance emergent learning. It
is like trying to get a husband into action by working through his wife.
It usually leads to family brawls, children and love fleeing through the
back door. It brought even the mighty USSR to its knees.

Ignoring the fuel. ~~~ Sufficient free energy is needed for self-
organising systems to evolve spontaneously towards an attractor state
other than the eqilibrium state. In the words of Deming -- "you need to
create constancy of purpose". I would change it slightly to "you need to
create persistence of purpose". In other words, remember that the
organisation will use up its free energy, hopefully for the emergences
which you seek rather than the immergences which you want to avoid. But
whatever the case, you will need to refuel frequently. This happens by
meandering between emergent and digestive learning as frequently as
possible as well as meandering betweeen learning, believing and loving.
Take pride in the creative successes (workmanship) of every member and all
the adjoints of such successes. Linear thinking is deadly to this
meandering which refuel the organisation.

Override the implicate and untold with formalities and conformation.
~~~~Again, this is a deadly ailment among many Germans in South Africa just
as it is with my own people the Afrikaners. They will continue with
senseless calculations just to suppress their intuition and conscience.
For example, every self-organising system has assets and incomes on the
one hand and liabilities and expenses on the other hand. Its members
should try WHERE THEY CAN to maximise the plusses and minimise the
minusses. They should never try to maximise plusses and minimise minusses
EVERYWHERE. This is not how the balance sheet of entropy production works.
Some parts of the system may seem to work at a loss when considered in
isolation, but in terms of the whole system this loss is vital to the
overall gain. It is like children who are a financial burden to the
family, but a gain to humankind. (Remember the fantastic emergence which
you had with the Digestor.)

~~~~ Need I to say anything on this. Our "Interview of a deep kind"
is already becoming too long.

>And generally: Do you agree with my approach so far?


>What other questions should I ask in above short list?

Allow these questions to emerge as you proceed rather than trying to
preconceive them. Make sure that every member respect every question of
every member as something very healthy rather as a pointer to something
very unholy. I do not know how it is in Germany, but here in South Africa
Germans are usually very antagonistic to questioning ("anti-gestapo"
reaction). Among my own people questioning is considered as an uprising
against authority and thus an insitigating of all the chaos which will
ensue from it. People do not work in a vacuum or on island without a
surrounding ocean. Their surrounding air or ocean is the culture to which
they belong. Sometimes the ocean, like here in South Africa, is not one,
but several oceans coming together forming one sea.

My one daughter works for a German as manager. Before she began working
there, I had to beg her to allow me to tell her how her Afrikaner spirit
and her manager's German spirit probably work. (Nothing else than begging
would have worked so headstrong is this daughter of mine.) She has
forgotten this incident. But she cannot help telling me and my wife almost
each week that he is the best manager she ever had. And when I visit her
at the factory, he usually comes to me and says that she is the best
worker he ever had. It is clear that they have managed to set up a
spiritual relationship between them and take care to keep it alive.

Winfried, I have said that you should promote questioning as much as
possible. But do not go overboard with it. To question, especially with
judgemental overtone, somebody's spirituality is like trying to stick a
knife into that person's heart. That person might not see it coming and
thus will get mortally wounded. Otherwise that person will see it coming
and retaliate with a mortal counter reaction. We cannot be sure who will
die ("identity"), but we can be sure that somebody will die

>I have no doubt that I have to create my own answers to
>those questions. But any hint, know how, experiences are
>most welcome to enrich my picture.


But never forget Pasteur's insight (in which I have substituted
"discovery" by "success"): Success comes only to those who have prepared
themselves for it. So begin preparing yourself by reading many books on
management, almost one every day. I know that you are strong enough to
deluge yourself willfully by ideas (entropy) coming from your surroundings
rather than protecting yourself with ideas having been born within you. It
is not important that you have to orden the systems thinking of every
author for yourself. It is most important that you expose yourself to a
picture as rich as possible. (Do you still remember the pixel model of

That very rich painting is going to happen to every member of the product
groups. Your leadership/teachership depends on doing the same thing to
yourself much deeper and wider in advance. If you want self-improvement in
every member, you will have to begin with your own never-ending
self-improvement. If you want to chicken out with clever schemes, chicken
out before you even begin to design such schemes. People are not fools --
one feather is enough for them to spot the chicken in you.

Winfried, my friend, I wish you all the success which you desire and I
know you are capable of accomplishing.

Keep on contributing to the LO list by hook or by crook.

Best wishes


At de Lange <> Snailmail: A M de Lange Gold Fields Computer Centre Faculty of Science - University of Pretoria Pretoria 0001 - Rep of South Africa

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