Re: Requirements for Learning LO2213

Richard Karash (
Mon, 24 Jul 1995 23:01:35 -0400 (EDT)

Replying to LO2211 --

On Mon, 24 Jul 1995 wrote:

> Lilly Evans, after quoting my assertion that: "teams which set regular
> time aside for reflection practices, communications practices, and
> performance review practices benefit with both increased learning and
> improved performance", asked: "What kind of evidence, or stories do we
> know of collectively to back this assertion up?"
> To be truthful, the "evidence" most alive in my mind is the story which
> inspired my comment. This was the story spun by Fred Simon, who headed
> the work on the development of the 95 Lincoln Continental. At a one-day
> seminar led by Peter Senge, Simon told of how Innovation Associates was
> brought into the picture, and then described a methodology which included
> regular (monthly?) sessions to explore how LO concepts could help in their
> process. Unless I misunderstood, these sessions were "practice" sessions,
> and the facilitators from IA "coached" the teams in their practices.
> These included the practices I mentioned. Simon described his "team" as
> numbering about 300, swelling at times to 1,000. That the company was
> willing to invest in these sessions on such a large scale indicates
> something about the corporate environment which may have had as much
> influence on the outcomes as the learnings in these sessions. Simon
> described the content of some of these sessions, and the process could be
> implied - for example, when two people in conflict exposed there
> assumptions through comparison of their ladders of inference. The outputs
> - as measured by Ford's internal indicators - were outstanding.
> Perhaps Rick or someone else from Innovation Associates could comment
> further.

Jack, regarding your assertion, the three practices you mention all will
help, provided they are done right. But, from my experience I have come
to doubt that "just doing" any short list of things will make a real
difference unless there is real care in *how* the short list of things is

Regarding Fred Simon's story about the work with the Lincoln Continental
team, there is real evidence that this team performed extraordinarily in
creating this new car. Considerable effort was invested in making this
team more of a learning organization, and Simon's leadership is important
as well. I wasn't personally involved, but I've heard some of the same
talks that you've heard, and I find them very inspiring.

There have been several articles about the car in the automotive press, and
there are a couple articles about the team's effort to be a learning
organization (including the nice article in Fortune magazine several
months ago "Mr. Learning Organizaation"). Sorry, I'm on the road and
don't have the specific references.

         Richard Karash ("Rick") |  <>
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