Re: Leadership Can Be Taught? LO2254

Richard Karash (
Thu, 27 Jul 1995 22:07:17 -0400 (EDT)

Replying to LO2244 --

On Wed, 26 Jul 1995, Jim Michmerhuizen wrote:

> It might even be reasonably argued that this distancing, objectification,
> that Aristotle associated with comedy and humor is critical in a learning
> organization. Look, for example, at the different kinds of systemic
> feedbacks that Senge describes in the Fifth Discipline. Picture _any_
> group of people seeing their own conduct, for the first time, as
> instancing one of these loops. The more vividly I imagine this, the more
> certain it seems that the moment of their mutual insight will bring
> laughter, jokes, wit, and good humor. It is _impossible_ to imagine such
> a moment as consisting of solemn notetaking, outlines, handshakes, and
> parliamentary procedures.

In doing exercises to get people more skilled in seeing systemic
considerations, I often ask people to find the humorous examples, "What
are Shifting the Burden examples around here? This is our chance to laugh
a bit at ourselves."

But, later, when we really are trying to understand what's happening, it
can be quite serious. I feel that solemn notetaking, outlines, etc. can
occur in a vision-driven organization and that it takes a vision-driven
organization to be ready for seriously unmasking the current reality
through such an examination.

We have also had the opposite experience: That in a non-vision-driven
organization, when examination of the systemic structure shows how the
current management has had a hand in creating the problems, this is just
pure bad news and the messenger gets the boot.

This is one of the lessons to be learned by anyone attempting serious
model building or structural analysis in the hope of changing actions. If
the other learning disciplines (or equivalent) are not present at a
reasonable level, it's hard to stimulate real change no matter how
insightful the analyst (or the anlysis).

Richard Karash ("Rick") | <>
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