Learning Orgs & TQM LO5537

Mon, 12 Feb 1996 02:16:39 -0500

Replying to LO5414 --

Responding to Stewart Crick on Feb. 7, who asks:

>Do you view LO as an extension of TQM? As a retooled version of
>TQM? Are they two separate entities that shall never cross paths?
> Or, can they exist together? Another possibility, many TQM
>efforts fail because the organizational culture is not adequately
>addressed, or companies are not willing to wait for the long term
>investment a cultural change takes. The Learning Organization
>philosophy seems to focus more heavily on culture. Is this a
>"lessons learned" item from TQM?

We've observed a pattern of failure among many types of teams, where
expectations and, overall Vision for the organization are unclear, and
where leadership, exhibited by personal responsibility and Sponsorship are
lacking. Sponsorship means leaders are totally committed to the change
effort, giving it top priority, resources, training, full support. They
talk about it ad nauseum to everyone; their personal behaviors are
congruent with the change effort. Ultimately, the organization is
successful with their implementation over time. We look for the
opportunity to work with leaders and managers who are willing to develop
relationships and strategies for change on three different levels: In
building alliances with their supervisors, who need to understand what is
required to sponsor a change effort, and may themselves need some
coaching; amongst peers, who may not be sharing similar values, nor
willingness to take risks, and among staff who will naturally resist
change. This is paraphrasing Rick Ross, and reflects my experience: It
takes time and perseverance because barriers to organizational change are
created by individual's unchallenged beliefs and expectations.
Organizational or cultural beliefs are reinforced, and we take them for
granted. The premise that organizations are the product of their thinking
and interacting is a powerful one. Managers need excellent communication
skills to inquire about others' thinking or beliefs. And to channel
energy into new commitments toward fundamental changes in how we view our
business, work groups require clear direction. If we introduce TQM into
organizations that are unable to create shared vision, where Inquiry is
absent, where the culture runs on the same old assumptions and beliefs,
how can TQM or any change effort succeed?

My experience tells me that a learning Organization is the foundation on
which TQM is built. My bias is it's the necessary precedent.. Where we
see powerful results is among leaders who are willing to risk, speak their
truth, and learn from their experience.

Molly Gibbs
President, NorthWest Consortium

Learning-org -- An Internet Dialog on Learning Organizations For info: <rkarash@karash.com> -or- <http://world.std.com/~lo/>