Change is Constant LO6745

John Woods (
Wed, 17 Apr 1996 06:50:42 -0500 (CDT)

Rol Fessenden, on the subject,It's not just semantics, LO6711, said:

>Scott is absolutely correct. Pain is not essential, but there must be
>enough discomfort to ablige us to re-examine our paradigms and values.

While it is true that pain or discomfort is an impetus in getting people
to look at the paradigms and values and the behaviors they engender are a
reason for the pain/discomfort, there is something else we need to
consider here. That something else is at the heart of the learning
organization paradigm. It has to do with a couple of issues: First,
change is constant (or our systems are dynamic, not static). To somehow
suggest that we are not changing through time is a false assumption in my
opinion. We and our organizations are either improving or deteriorating;
we never stand still. It may be that our behavior patterns are fairly
constant or only changing a little through time, but that of which we are
a part is constantly changing. And we have the ability to acknowledge that
and deal with it intelligently, a basic premise of the systems view and
the learning organization.

This leads to the second issue here, which is our self awareness. We can
appreciate that things are always getting better or worse. Given that, we
can make the conscious decision to work at preventing change that is
deterioration and promoting change that is improvement before really bad
change happens. In other words, we can consciously and proactively move
away from crisis management (the typical management approach,
unfortunately) and toward crisis prevention and continuous improvement.

This does not imply that we can avoid pain, but we can appreciate it as a
symptom of (1) that change is going on and perhaps we are not attending to
it as well we might, and (2) that this pain is a useful symptom that can
motivate us to look at the direction of change and take action that will
promote will promote improvement. Finally, we can recognize that getting
better may initially involve more pain (at least psychic pain that comes
from uncertainty), but we can endure it. In fact, we may even appreciate
that feeling and stop thinking of it as pain and start thinking of it as
an affirmation that we are going through an experience that will help us
learn and improve.

John Woods

-- (John Woods)

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