Social futures LO7607

Susan Starr (
Sat, 25 May 1996 14:01:59 -0600

Replying to LO7574 --

At 10:19 23/05/96 EDT, Rol Fessenden wrote:

>Just yesterday I met a friend who said that he realized he could not sell
>the idea of learning organizations within his company until people could
>see that these ideas substantially changed his behavior. His decision was
>to quit. There are probably other choices, but Michael has hit on the key
>Any thoughts on how to change ourselves?

An introduction first: - I'm Sue Starr, Yellowknife, NWT, Canada. I was
Senior quality advisor (1982 - 1985) for a northern Telephone Company
(small in size, but large in territory) in Canada during the initial
introduction of Quality Improvement, particularly following W.E. Deming's
philosophy. I'll be leaving the Company at the end of this year, by my own
choice, after what seems to be the standard restructuring process in North
America. We (the company) are now beginning to apply the principles of
LO, using our application of Deming's theories as a foundation. I've been
lurking for a couple of weeks and now feel a need to respond to the idea
of personal change.

Now to the issue: - The consultant who worked with us used the
addictions/12-step model for personal change (one generally agreed to be
effective) to help us, the company's Leaders, change ourselves in order to
lead the change in the Company. It was a very painful, growth-full,
effective process for all of us, i.e. there was significant personal
change in the senior people involved, and subsequently in pockets
throughout the company as the change effort progressed. Five years later,
the change has produced mostly internal process- and interpersonal-related
improvements. The external Customer has yet to be significantly impacted.
I need to keep reminding myself that fundamental change is not a speedy

I agree with Rol's friend that it's critical to be able to model the way
of life we profess. I wonder if his decision to leave came because he
wasn't willing to take those steps (means challenging our own systems of
belief/behaviour), or because he was discouraged at the monumental size of
the task. I know that often the need to be a role model was what kept me
taking risks, and also what occasionally wore me out. One of the concepts
I've found helpful is a simple model for personal change - awareness (of
the need for change), acceptance (that I really have this ugly personal
behaviour that I don't particularly admire - usually a strong emotional
component, grieving - here), willingness (invite feedback from others when
the behaviour occurs - requires some humility) and action (discipline,
persistence, courage).

The extent of my own personal change has now led me to leave the
bureaucracy in order to discover who I am outside this company where I've
worked for 15 years.

I believe that unless we can encourage (includes modelling), influence
personal change as a foundation for creating LOs, WE WON'T SUCCEED.

I'd be interested in hearing how others relate personal change to LO
leadership. Sue Starr Yellowknife, NT Canada


Susan Starr <>

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