Organization of a LO LO7646

Dr. Scott J. Simmerman (74170.1061@CompuServe.COM)
28 May 96 13:02:08 EDT

Replying to LO7637 --

In LO7637, Philip Capper raises some interesting points and makes some
solid conclusions about learning.

I like your ideas, but have thoughts to add.

One, who isn't operating these days in a world of "rapid and chronic
change." And who, (with the possible exception of myself), _isn't_
operating in an organization with a "complex adaptive system."

As Ted Forbes said in a phone conversation, the conversion from a
catrerpillar to a butterfly is marked by a state of change. In that
example, what you find is a yellow, sticky, gooey mess. Descriptive of
what goes on in most organizations as they metamorphize, eh?

While the leaders may see the beauty and breadth of their View From The
Front, they often get isolated from the reality of how things work at the
hands-on levels of the organization. This reality (my metaphor of Square
Wheels on the wagon) lends itself to mis-understandings,
mis-communications, mis-givings of direction and the development of
mis-trust and other mis-tresses and mis-takes of leading and learning.

A Desk is a Dangerous Place from which to View the World. Especially when
one has the power to make changes, with good intentions, that almost any
amount of information is not likely to mollify. It's often an issue of
ownership of ideas and others', no matter how good, are often rejected.

And this problem / issue with isolation and leaders is a real one. It is
not enough to merely provide information to the system. One must
continually scan for new ideas from the people actually doing the work
itself, blending them with the Benchmarks and NEW Ideas (round wheels) as
observed in other organizations or departments.

Otherwise, we go round and round in the rat cage, thinking we're making
progress by our ability to move the wagon faster and faster. All we do is
go round and round and stay in the same place.

Breakthroughs come from the ability to step back from what one has done
and look for alternatives, a process that can occur at every level of the
organization (and should!).

I believe, to use Philips' words, that this is the "form which optimally
produces the conditions required for effective adaptation to occur."

Why use Square Wheels when the round ones are already in the wagon?


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

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