Left-hand Column Tool LO5746

Tue, 20 Feb 1996 11:43:54 -0500

Replying to LO5725 --

Magnus Larsson asks:
>Does anybody else have any enlightening experiences of this instrument?
(Left hand column) I'd be very interested!!

A very simple technique I first used personally (as an individual) and
have sinced asked groups that I work with to use is the following:

During the course of our meeting/deliberations each person keeps a
'left-hand' column'. First, s/he is to become aware of their own "things
left unsaid" (undisussed). things s/he thought but didn't say. Second,
as the participants at the meeting become more accustomed to doing this,
thsy begin to keep left hand column about others in the group. (Things
they believe are thought by other but left unsaid.

As we continue our meetings/deliberations we try (at first) to react to
our LHC's at the end of the meeting. (time is set aside) What have I left
unsaid that before we leave, should be discussed or shared?

In at least on on-going work group we have begun to stop action to address
some (here-to-fore) undiscussables in 'real time'. The group has begun to
change its shape and productivity.

My thoughts were to give people an opportunity to become aware of their
own thoughts. Once those were brought to the conscious level, s/he ould
decide whether or not to share. It seemingly gave people an opportunity
to deal with the discomfort as an individual before s/he went on to take
the risk of sharing it at the end of the meeting (and then in real time).

Hope this experience helps.

Host's Note: Joe, I have no quibble with what you've described, but just
to be sure we don't confuse anyone, Argyris' LHC exercise is a little
different from your method.

In particular, Argyris' method is effective in becoming conscious of one's
*own* mental models that are semi-conscous or unconscious. It's pretty
well documented in several of his writings, I'm thinking particularly of
Argyris, Chris _Overcoming Organizational Defenses_, Prentice-Hall, Inc.,

Yes, the term "left hand column" is now used for whatever one is thinking
but not saying, e.g., "What's in your left-hand column?"

-- Rick Karash, rkarash@karash.com, host for learning-org

Joe DiVincenzo


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