Quality in Government conference

Steve Buckley - WISE (sbuckley@path.net)
Sun, 4 Sep 1994 09:39:24 PDT

Peter Senge is author of `The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of
the Learning Organization' and Director of the MIT Center for
Organizational Learning. On July 14, 1994, he was the closing keynote
speaker at the 7th Annual National Conference on Federal Quality:
`Creating a Customer-Driven Government'. Here is an an excerpt:


"We're talking about a profound shift in the fundamental character of our


It's craazy that people think that they should avoid making mistakes.

That's just fundamentally illogical: no one would advocate that *that* is
the way organizations should work.

It's craazy that you can sit through a 3-hour meeting of the top
management of an organization and not hear a single question asked!

And I want to tell you: that's *data*, that's not opinion.
I'll show you the transcripts. Three hours!

The top guys (and they usually are guys still, right?) sitting around
talking about the most important issues facing the company, and nobody
asked a single question.

That's craazy!

Have you ever noticed [that] the way a really difficult, confictual issue
gets discussed in the formal staff meeting bears no resemblance,
whatsoever, to the way two folks talk about it the night before, over
drinks? Or the way it gets discussed in the women's room afterwards? Or
walking down the hall?

See? This is crazy! This is totally craazy!

We have knowledge that we don't even come close to tapping because we can
even talk about what's on our mind!

It's absolutely crazy that our organizations are fragmented the way there

(end excerpt)

I have an audiocassette tape of Mr. Senge's entire talk (about an hour)
that, if transcribed, would be of great value to those "government
reinventors" who did not attend the Conference (i.e., 99.9% of federal

If someone would agree to transcribe the entire tape (it would take me
forever), I will gladly mail them an audiocassette copy for that purpose.
Please respond to me at sbuckley@pandora.sf.ca.us or 301-464-0936.

It is also interesting to note what Phil Lader, Deputy Chief of Staff to
the President, and former OMB Deputy Director for Management, also spoke
about at the four-day conference (along with Vice President Gore and many
others). Mr. Lader told attendees that they should not consider
themselves "a secret society" and that they should spread the philosophy
of quality in government.

However, even though the conference was *videotaped*, none of the speeches
have been transcribed to ASCII text for electronic dissemination. In
fact, not even the text from the 45-page handbook of proceedings has been
made available electronically. So if you are interested in "reinventing
government", you can't find anything on the information highway to tell
you exactly what or who you missed at the largest annual gathering of
"government reinventors".

To express your interest (as a customer) in seeing an electronic file on
the conference proceedings (if not the major speeches), contact Michele
Hunt, Director of the Federal Quality Institute (FQI) in the U.S. Office
of Personnel Management (OPM), at 202-376-3747 or Jim Perine, Conference
Manager, at the same number. Any such file could be uploaded to the FQI's
"corner" of OPM's MainStreet BBS (which, BTW, can be accessed by
telnetting to fedworld.gov).

----Stephen Buckley, REGO-L Moderator

Internet Mail List distribution:

REINVENTING GOV'T. (REGO-L@pandora.sf.ca.us)
TOTAL QUALITY MGMT. (TQM.LIST@tqm.permanet.org)
LEADERSHIP (LDRSHP@iubvm.bitnet)