Re: Resistant Fiefdoms, Zealots, etc. LO2957

Tobin Quereau (
Wed, 27 Sep 1995 09:37:29 -0500 (CDT)

Replying to LO2948 --

Welcome aboard, Daved. As one who has had some experience in the
"not-for-profit" area and mental health treatment, my thoughts are that
the system you find in place will be a reflection of the type of service
provided and the "customers" to whom it is provided. One thing about
seriously disturbed people is that any change can be quite
disruptive--more so than would be expected by one who is not in that
condition. So the people who provide service in that situation will be
likely to reflect some of that "resistance" to change as part of taking
care of their clients _and_ themselves (it is not a pleasant experience to
deal with unwanted change when the normal boundaries of expression are

My sense is, however, that providers in that situation can be quite
motivated to help their clients and that when they see an opportunity to
do a better job for those in need, they will move to take advantage of it.

The key that I can see is to get to know the providers and clients well
enough to understand the constraints they feel and the goals that they
have so that they can find some positive reasons to incorporate changes to
"the way things have to be".

Keep me posted,I'd be interested to hear how this new situation develops.

On Wed, 27 Sep 1995 wrote:

> Thank you for the opportunity to learn more about learning organizations.

> I do have a request for advice or a paradigm to conceptualize how to
> handle a potential issue I will have: as the COO, I have 3 divisions
> ireporting to me - each with very different cultures - the latest division
> to come under operations is a joint venture with two not-for-profit
> community mental health centers serving the seriously mentally ill
> (commonly referred to as chronically mentally ill). These folks take
> their jobs/mission very seriously, not unlike religious zealots; there is
> much self-righteousness. They are fairly rigid in thinking their
> model/program is the only way to do things. They resist change. They
> have never had 'to make a buck'; they lobbied the state and got grants.
> Their systems are subdivided into 'fiefdoms' that are defensively guarded
> from change. Their systems are very inefficient and expensive due to
> overstaffing and low productivity and high salary costs.
> Daved Frerker

Good learning!

Tobin Quereau