Re: Emergent Learning LO2124
Sun, 16 Jul 95 12:41:35

Replying to LO2111 --

Peter Smith comments and asks:

"Now to my request prefaced by the thinking that led to it. I am not sure
if the many sports examples are useful. Sports situations generally are
more predictable than organizational situations, so the learning and
practice can be designed to cope with a range of predictable events. Also,
while good sports performers do practice a lot, good organizational
performers, or even average or poor ones, seem not to practice. (With the
exception of the military and emergency services.)

So, please help me relate this thread to organizational performance"

The value of the sports analogy is that it offers situations containing
less "noise" than the events of everyday life, and so the value of the
practice is more easily perceived. Sports activities are usually
competitions within clear boundaries (rules of the game, etc.) which help
performers focus on the key behaviors and strategies which lead to high

Unlike sports, which have scheduled "games", most organizational life
occupies all the available time. There aren't down times available for
practice and rehearsal, as there is for sports or musical performance.
You are always "on". This renders the pathway for defining of practices
difficult, but not impossible.

Organizations and/or organizational units will see connections between
practice and performance if they set aside time for practice. In
strategic planning, simulations have long been used to help set strategic
goals and create plans. Although these have only recently been informed
by systems thinking, planners who have used scenarios and simulations have
testified to improved performance (I'm not sure these assertions are
supported by any data beyond the anecdotal).

But it's really clear that teams which set regular time aside for
reflection practices, communications practices, and performance review
practices benefit with both increased learning and improved performance.

In my opinion, the more time (up to a limit which relates to the cost of
its business transactions) that any business unit sets aside for practice,
the better the performance will be. This is even more true, in my
opinion, for groups of professionals and organizations which are not
primarily for profit.

Jack Hirschfeld                   Don't you know, you fool, you never can win?