Re[2]: Intro: Gezinus J. Hidding + question

Thu, 10 Nov 94 18:04:09 pst

I agree that it does not make sense to add structure to support
learning, or at least subject that added structure to some kind of
ongoing evaluation. I'm not trying to suggest our company changed its
structure simply to promote learning. The change in structure is
designed to improve performance; promoting learning is just part of
improving performance. The new structure is less hierarchical, leaner,
and more flexible. More changes are going to happen soon, and from the
way things are going I'd say the only thing that will stay constant
for a while is change. Being more flexible is becoming important.

Our whole business world is changing in front of our eyes, at a pace
nobody predicted. This is mainly due to rapidly changing regulations
and political climate. This more than anything else drives the changes
in our company's structure. It is not just a grab for the latest
management fad but a carefully considered strategy. We have a very
long way to go before I would call this a "learning organization
model" but we have at least begun to try. In large part the real
measure of the value of this effort will be whether this company
exists at all in a few years.

I don't think Senge suggests adding a LO structure any more than
Deming suggested adding TQM structures. Sometimes I think the real
problem is that some people don't want to spend more than a few
minutes on one thing, or at worst a few hours. They read an article in
Harvard Business Review or some fast-talking charlatan gives a slick
presentation and they're committed to a life-long program to turn the
business around - until next month's flavor comes out. It's a lot like
the line at the bottom of your signature, Charles. We're talking about
philosophies and policies, deeply committed values, not a program to
be implemented at some problem of the moment. But there are those who
will never _get it_.

By the way, while I share your glee at the moment, I think it's only
fair to point out that a revolution only seems fun for the victors. My
liberal friends are looking pretty depressed these days. Hee-hee ;)

Sean Gawne

Charles Barclay writes:

Why should the structure of a learning organization look anything
different than a non-learning organization?

If in fact Senge suggests that a learning organization should alter
its structure or add structure to support learning (like a an HR
training center) then one should be asking, "Is this new structure
and expenditure subject to the same NPV requirements as other
investmetns in corporate infrastructure."

It would be a mistake to assume or recommend that a new structure is
required because an organization adopts a learning culture.

Charles Barclay 2404 Maile Way
Dept. of Mgmt & Ind Relations Honolulu, HI 96822
University of Hawaii Fax: 808 956-2774 Phone: 808 956-8545

Living through a bloodless revolution is great fun!

BTW, "It's the policies & philosophy, lamebrain!"