Re: LO only half an answer? LO3935

Lyndon Silloway (
Wed, 29 Nov 95 12:03:30 EST

Replying to LO3921 --

Replying to LO3912 and LO3921 --

John Woods replied, "We have a bad habit of turning really good
insights and techniques into fads and then we trash them."

Kent Myers added, "That quotation is obnoxious." ... "Any idea that
is successful comes to be identified with its most degraded

When I read those, I felt a flash of shame; yes, part of the
attraction of the quote is its sensationalist trashing of a
widely-popular, much-bandied-about term. For those who understand the
term "learning organization" only as the subject of many books they've
seen and heard about but will never read, there's a feeling of
superiority in saying it's obsolete, therefore I'm justified in
dismissing it as a fad. I'm sorry to have contributed to that.

Replying to LO3911 --

Willard E. Jule said, among other things, "Do people still believe
that anybody can teach anyone else anything?"

Operationally speaking, John Woods "taught" me something by his
response to my message. If the only replies had been along the lines
of Rol Fessenden's...

"Personally, I think this is right on. It gets to the heart of
the essential problem with 'learning organizations,' in that
there is no implied responsibility to take action on the

...I would only have felt confirmed in the quotation, and made more
likely to repeat it verbatim, perhaps with still more brazen
enthusiasm. John "taught" me in the sense that his action changed my
behavior; I now feel differently and speak differently about the quote
than I would have without his "teaching."

That is what I still value about an idea behind quote, without the
inflammatory part about LO being obsolete: That the -popular
conception- of Learning with a capital L shouldn't be absorbed into
the popular conception of individualism, wherein Learning is superior
to Training or Teaching or Educating because I (again with a capital)
as the center of my own universe can Learn for my own selfish purposes
without respect to any training, teaching, or educating Authority.
The popular conception of Learning must include, as Rol reinforces,
responsibility to turn one's personal learning into action that
benefits the community, team, or organization.

In my work, I deal with people who at best "overhear" bits and pieces
of learning, change, and management theory by way of the popular
press; to them, the popular conception is the only reality, and shock
techniques are all-too-common-and-convenient change agents.

I value the "teaching" that happens in conversations in this group,
and I'm trying to encourage instructive conversations about learning
in my organization. In the future, I'll try to do so with more
respect and care for the ideas and people of which the popular
concepts are only dim shadows. I agree entirely that we need bright,
steady light for illumination, not the momentary and ultimately
destructive light of incendiary devices.

"Lyndon Silloway" <>