It's not just semantics LO6652

Rol Fessenden (76234.3636@CompuServe.COM)
12 Apr 96 21:12:32 EDT

Replying to LO6610 --

Replying to LO6550 --

>> In a recent situation, the "empowered staff" found out what that really
>> means: if you make the same decision that the boss would have made, then
>> you're empowered. If you don't make the same decision, then be prepared
>> to bear the consequences, even if you try to point out that you're
>> supervisors are somehow incorrect or inconsistent.

Keith responded:

> In a previous life, I encountered executives who used the approach quoted
> above. They believed that the pain of forcing people to try again and
> again until they got it right was a good learning experience. So I pose
> the question: "If the boss makes it easy for people to produce the desired
> outcome, is he reinforcing of eroding long- term organizational learning?"

> If he shows people how to get the result, it might not stick as long as if
> he forces them to figure it out themselves...

=== end quotes ===

Pain is certainly part of learning. As Keith says elsewhere, failure is
essential to learning. To my way of thinking, the executives Keith
describes, prevent learning by preventing failure.

A smart leader will create an opportunity for responsible experimentation
in which the outcomes are clear but limited. The learner can really fail,
but the cost is corralled. Allowing one failure -- followed by a
thorough, effective assessment -- is an effective way to replace dozens of
enforced "do it again until you get it right" iterations.

The other advantage of responsible experimentation is that the young
inexperienced "fool" may actually produce a better result. this is a rare
occurrence, but it happens from time to time.


Rol Fessenden LL Bean, Inc.

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