Consciousness LO6067
Sat, 9 Mar 1996 08:05:19 -0500

Replying to LO6048 --

John Wood, wrote
"I agree with Barry. Each of us does operate from our own sense of a
system and how it works, even if we are not fully conscious of this. Behind
our behaviors is a set of assumptions about how things and people relate to
one another and how these interrelationships work. We often do not have a
good sense of how to make the system work well to our mutual benefit, meaning
in a way that reduces wasted effort, reduces anxiety, creates more good for
the most folks, and so on.

I have often thought about this point. I do not know if one needs to have
insight first to see the rationale for doing the "right" things, or if one
can simply do the right things and by doing so, come eventually to see the
rationale from the good results such behaviors garner. Sometimes in family
therapy (I'm no expert here), I think the therapist will intervene to get
dysfunctional family members to simply change their behaviors, even if they
don't believe it will make a difference. Then it does a make a difference,
and they come to appreciate what's going on and why (the new behaviors focus
on getting along and supporting one another, which results in the world being
better for each individual at the same time--by looking out for the whole we
look out for ourselves. It's kind of amazing, huh?) So maybe we can
implement TQM and the systems view by just insisting on certain practices and
eventually people will come to an understanding and acceptance of the
foundation on which such practices are based. I would be interested to know
what others think about this and their experiences."

>From my perspective (at least for this moment today) leanring occurs through
thinking and interacting. When I am able to "surface in my mind" what has
been going on, I can identify, label, and understand the pattern or behavior.
When we institute new structures in organizations, people can sometimes
understand and accept the foundation or "theory" of those structures by
bringing to the conscious level their experiences. Assisted by interactions
with others, exposed to our mental models of the theory, and then reflecting
on their own experience and mental models, people can appreciate the value of
what they are doing. I have noticed on many occasions, people who were quite
resistent to a new structure at first, but then after experiencing work life
with that structure, began to understand why it was useful. Usually, this is
just a general understanding. I hope we can achieve more powerful learning
about the organization by building structures that allow us to reflect often
on our experiences and what we have done.

I don't think many of us are very good at structuring reflection into our
organizations We always want to move to the next solution before we have
defined the problem, let alone consciously identified what we have recently

David Wilkinson, School Improvement Specialist, email -
"Des Moines Public Schools - A Tradition of Excellence"


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