Conversational Paradigm LO5791
Thu, 22 Feb 1996 06:45:01 -0800

Replying to LO5597 --

In LO5597 our host wrote:

>On the more direct point, I'm very curious about how the language/action
>models are useful. They make sense to me looking backwards at
>conversations, and it does make sense to me to be clear about what is a
>request and to be clear in saying "OK, I'm satisfied with that" but in my
>limited attempts to apply them, they have always felt too rigid, too
>constraining, too inhibiting.

I passed on Rick's request to a consultant working in this field
( who wrote the following:

Conversations for action are just that, they are conversations. The
"conversational template" initially proposed is for the benefit of
comprehension and initial learning, and eventually we learn focus on the
intent and meaning that we put in the conversational act and not the
individual labels

To get stuff done we must make requests, be they "real and effective
requests" which will generate the action we need, or loose and ambiguous
requests, which won't necessarily but may have other purposes
(conversations for speculation, say). We should communicate the "meme",
what methods we choose to do so is a choice we make based on the situation
and players.

The benefit of using declarations of completion and declarations of
satisfaction is primarily that they are declarations, and therefore the
speaker of the declaration must be the person who has the authority to
make the declaration. We frequently assume our customers are satisfied
based on an assessment of what we think satisfaction is. The performer in
the "Conversation for Action Loop" has the authority to speak only the
"declaration of completion" and not "the declaration of satisfaction". The
act of returning to the customer to find out if they are really satisfied
is also a great learning opportunity for the performer and helps build
trust with the customer.

The realities of the "Conversation for Action" approach are basic, people
work to make things happen to satisfy the needs of other people
(customers). This approach encourages the design of organizations around
both the customer and the performer, and builds within the workforce real
embodied competence to design, own and redesign their own processes. To
learn is great, to learn and apply is really great! The Conversations for
Action model helps people recognize the contribution they make to the
successful execution of a process and therefore increases the level of
participation and confidence amongst the workforce and creates many
learning opportunites.


Roberto Reichard

Learning-org -- An Internet Dialog on Learning Organizations For info: <> -or- <>