It's not just semantics LO6690

Dr. Scott J. Simmerman (74170.1061@CompuServe.COM)
14 Apr 96 22:21:25 EDT

Rol had said, in It's not just semantics LO6652:

>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.

Permit me to react to the issues of emotionality and pain as they relate
to organizational learning and change. I think they are quite closely

In the model we use when discussing change, one of the four factors that
will increase the likelihood of change is:

* The current level of discomfort with the way things are now.

(Others include shared vision, previous history and peer/team support).

And as it is explained, we discuss our belief that if people are
comfortable, change is less likely. But if people are made uncomfortable,
we can expect change to occur (simple examples include turning the
thermostat to 55 degrees F or to 85 degrees F -- behavior changes are
quite predictable).

And I often use the old "boiling frog*" metaphor linked to "killing the
frogs with too much heat!)

The S-C-A-R-Y reaction from managers gets into the shift from discomfort
into pain -- how pain is necessary for change to occur. The discussion
will often then shift to how much pain people are in now and how it is
paralyzing the organization's initiative now.

I'll often let this play out and then shift back to the difference between
discomfort with the present reality and the impetus it *can* give to
change versus the debilitating aspects of pain as perceived by the pain-ee

I know that Rol probably means the former more than the latter, given
his previous elegant postings and positive challenges. But when I see
that P-word in the context of organizational issues, I get this
knee-jerk reaction. I just can't help myself.

* If you drop a frog into hot water, it will jump out. But if you drop
a frog into cold water, you can slowly bring up the temperature and the
frog wil eventually boil without trying to jump. I've never actually
tried this.

(And if anyone uses the old "boiling frog" metaphor, I've got one in a
beaker over a bunsen burner (in my books, not in my office!). If you
want a copy, let me know and send a snail mail address. You can then
link this metaphor to the old joke about optimist - half full, pessimist
- half empty, and process re-engineer - too much glass.)

For the Fun of It!


Scott Simmerman Performance Management Company, 3 Old Oak Drive, Taylors SC USA 29687-6624

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