Msg Digest 11/23 #2

Richard Karash (
Wed, 23 Nov 1994 15:53:38 +0001 (EST)

Here's the second portion of today's messages in "digest" form.

Richard Karash ("Rick") | (o) 508-879-8301 | Mac * Flying
Innovation Associates, Inc. | (fax) 508-626-2205 | Systems Thinking
3 Speen St, Framingham MA 01701 | | Std Disclaimer.

Date: Wed, 23 Nov 1994 10:46:00 +0000
From: Denis Cowan <>
Subject: Re: A condundrum
To: Keith Cowan <>
Cc: Learning-Org Mailinglist <>

Keith G'day from your namesake in Brisbane, Australia. Denis

This may not have been your intent. But I have interpreted your mail to
mean that it is your decision as to which way the organization should go.
To me this does not imply participation but expert intervention which in
my bias is the antisthesis of a learning organization.


On Sun, 20 Nov 1994, Keith Cowan wrote:

> The following are real alternatives facing me at the moment:
> 1. Pursue the current corporate strategy and face an uncertain and
> possibly future demise caused by fundamental economics, or
> 2. Aggressively arrange a strategic alliance requiring immediate
> downsizing but possibly saving the remaining jobs.
> Although all the details would exceed my typing and bandwidth capacity.
> I am leaning to the second option BECAUSE I believe I can leave the
> remaining organization as an L-O but have little idea how to accomplish
> this. Yet if an L-O is not the result, this second option might just inflict
> pain early and extra. The commit meeting for the alliance approach is on
> Friday, November 25th. I will go with option 2 but look forward to an
> update next weekend! Thanks.
> --
> Keith Cowan Phone: (416)565-6253 FAX: (905)764-9604
> Toronto Internet: Compuserve: 72212,51

Date: Tue, 22 Nov 1994 22:54:25 -0500
Subject: Flying Starship Factory-Train The Trainer

Recepients of these mailing lists. It seems that some requests for
information on this workshop have not been received on this end. I have
responded to all the requests received to this time (11/22, 1730PST). Most
responses have been via Fax, if you have requested info and not received it
please phone (510)373-6955 or E-mail to pmgrifin@AOL. Thankyou and sorry for
the inconvenience. Pete

Date: Wed, 23 Nov 1994 09:49:00 -0500
Subject: Deming Program

The TV program "Deming: Prophet of Quality" will be shown in December.
In the Washington, DC area, it is on WETA, Channel 26:

12/13 10:00 pm
12/15 1:00 am
12/17 1:00 pm

This is per WETA at 703-998-2626.

Date: Wed, 23 Nov 1994 10:33:43 -0500
Subject: Workshop Announcement

Workshop Announcement:

Attend this train-the-trainer forum and learn to apply
Joel Barker's Paradigm Prismtm for maximum results.

"Paradigm Prismtm Application Forum"
JANUARY 21-23, 1994
Atlanta, Georgia

For more information contact:
Constellation Performance Group, Inc.
For information by E-Mail, send request to
Phone/FAX-ON-DEMAND: (404) 815-0310

The Paradigm Prismtm is Joel Barker's powerful team tool,
in use worldwide, that helps organizations identify and
manage paradigms -- those strongly held, often
unarticulated, rules and regulations that shape our
perceptions of the world and our response to change. With
this understanding, project teams incur fewer budget or
schedule overruns. And, change projects driven with the
Paradigm Prismtm are more readily accepted and sustained
by the organization.

Date: Wed, 23 Nov 1994 16:17:14 +0000
Subject: BPR - Catch-22 ? (long)

I'd like to open/extend a debate on the barriers to BPR, which may
be the same for the development of learning organisations.

It may seem odd to post this to learning-org, but from what I have
seen on the list, BPR is (IMHO) a possible tool to assist learning
organisations and that the two overlap significantly. Also, I
would value views from people *not* involved in BPR and possibly
critical of it.

I apologise for the length of this message - I didn't have time to
write a shorter one.

I agree with the assertion that in BPR exercises (often)
insufficient attention is paid to change management. I think that
there are other issues also.

The following is a view based on some experience of assisting
companies to use BPR effectively. It leads to a premise/conclusion
that I would appreciate others views on.

I have chosen to consider the way in which the BPR team works
together as the *major* element influencing success. In other
words, I am choosing not to focus on *what* is done, but more on
*how* it is done.

I accept that this may, in itself, be open to debate.

In this context, I believe :

1. Each member of the team must share the same sense of mission
in terms of *why* they are embarking on a BPR project - what
issues and concerns the BPR project should concern itself

2. The team must accept that the scope of the project will
change as they learn more about the requirements of the
project - but it is under their control and must be under
continuous review. In other words, it is not possible to
entirely contain the project in a scoping document at the
beginning of the project. The project is about learning the
needs of the organisation and, as we learn, we must be
allowed to change our minds.

3. If the team uses consultants (I am a consultant) then the
role of the consultant is to help them with *their* project
and that is best done by using the consultant to address
process issues and team dynamics. The project cannot be
delegated to consultants, nor can the consultant own any part
of it. Consultants can also bring in technical skills as
required (e.g. to drive technology-based modelling and
simulation tools). Even then, a major part of the deliverable
should be the transfer of skills.

4. Goal-setting should be carried out at an appropriate level in
the organisation and the people involved must be empowered to
make far-reaching decisions. (i.e. if only the senior
management team can set goals then the senior management team
must carry out that role).

5. Ideas for change and the preparation of proposals should come
from the lowest level in the organisation possible in order
to gain their involvement. These proposals should then be
filtered through the levels of decision-making that will work
in the organisation. How this will work needs to be
considered up front.

6. The aims and goals of the project should be published and
discussed, with open invitations issued for input and ideas.
This should be genuine, and done in a spirit of enquiry, and
people's contributions should be recognised.

7. The impact of change should be communicated honestly, and as
early as possible.

8. People need to be supported during and after implementation,
and given time to adjust.

Some of this is, in practice, problematic. It asks the management
team to behave in a facilitative manner, possibly against the
existing culture - which is often based on command/control styles
of management. They can feel exposed to their staff and to each

Also, there are likely to be all sorts of issues in the management
team that undermine true teamwork. Interpersonal issues, alliances
and sub-groups, rivalries, biases, power struggles for example. I
usually have to start with senior management and, when I go beyond
glib agreements, find that there are usually real differences in
opinion as to what the BPR exercise is *for*.

Arguably, the dynamics of the management team are reflected down
through the organisation structure and similar issues can be
experienced between staff in the various functional areas that may
be involved in the exercise.

In short, in order to achieve full success in BPR, people may need
to behave differently.

Bringing about this new behaviour may well be one of the
requiremed outcomes of the BPR exercise. Catch-22 ?

We must consider the role of the consultant in this. Every action
that the consultant carries out is an intervention. Initially,
these interventions will affect the dynamics of the management

Once the project is underway, the process of change has already
started. Initially, it is the consultant's role to work with the
management team to help them to improve the way in which they
work together and to help them to resolve their issues. This is,
in itself, bringing about change.

This change, and the consultant's role, must then be cascaded down
through the organisation.

Focusing on mission and objectives are all very well in these
early phases - this is *what* we do. We do not, however, want a
mission statement - we want a _sense_of_mission_. We need *shared*
values. Our focus must be on *how* we operate as a group of

Unfortunately, there is generally a strong desire in groups to
avoid conflict, avoid real change, to put a sticky plaster on it
and to move on regardless.

Perhaps this all suggests that most management teams are not ready
for BPR, and cannot be successful unless they change their style.
If so, then perhaps this accounts for the allegedly poor success
rate of BPR projects.

Perhaps we need to spend considerable time working with a
management team, preparing the ground and training them for BPR
before inflicting it on the organisation. (But would they be
motivated to do this ?)

Alternatively, we can view BPR as a change management exercise in
its own right and that part of the benefit will come from
experiencing the new ways of planning change and the teamwork that
it encourages.

The danger is that, without the controlling process of
*management* making way for the facilitative process of
*leadership*, we can end up changing everything - but making
little or no difference.

Comments, views and arguments are invited. If you agree, then have
you any views on *what* a consultant can do to assist with this ?

Edgar Schein's work on Process Consultancy has been extremely
pertinent. Are you aware of other work in this area ?

Thanks for your attention,
Alistair Sutherland

"I must be going now,
for there go my people and I am their leader" Mahatma Gandhi

Date: Tue, 22 Nov 1994 12:38:38 +0001 (EST)
From: IT Architecture <>
Subject: Re: Dialog on list

Hear Hear, Daniel. Thanks for being the one to interject your thoughts
into the fray. I too was beginning to worry a little about the dialogue
on the list. However I look at it from a different perspective. As a
reader I have enjoyed hearing the differing opinions about various
topics. I would hope that the composers don't throttle their responses
due to differences of opinion. We as readers need to understand that
there will always be different views and it is our responsibility to
search out more information and formulate our own conclusions. I had
never heard of Tony Robbins and the discussion provoked me to begin
research on his material. I appreciate Charles' viewpoints as it shows
that Robbins' views are not the accepted standard (compared to someone
like Deming).

It is interesting to see this kind of discussion on a matter like
learning organizations. I would hope that we can learn more from the
differences and avoid making mistakes in the future.

Bottom line: Great dialogue, great viewpoints, and great ideas. Keep
those cards and letters coming.

Randy Bear
I/T Architecture

P.S. Isn't unfortunate your company will only spring for a group account?

END of 11/23 Msg Digest #2