Have LO, will travel LO9969

Malcolm Burson (mooney@MAINE.MAINE.EDU)
Sat, 14 Sep 1996 15:01:10 -0500

[I've tried to think of a better thread title, but this keeps
sticking in my mind; if someone wants to re-name it, so much the

At the risk of grotesque over-simplification, it seems to me that our
company here could be divided into three sorts of participants:

(a) those connected to academic settings;
(b) Practitioners who operate primarily as independent consultants;
(c) Practitioners who work within organizations in a variety of
roles/positions, some clearly connected to LO interventions (quality,
training, internal OD, etc.), and others in less immediately
connected jobs in which they seek to apply LO theory and practice.
(Apologies to anyone who doesn't "fit" here or resents being

Persons in the last group (which includes me) may from time to time
find themselves frustrated with the challenges of putting LO beliefs
and principles into action; or changes in the organization may make
it apparent to them that that organization is not open to change; or
for any of a number of reasons, it may be time for a practitioner to
shake the dust off her/his feet and move on. So the LO "paladin"
updates the resume, starts networking, etc.

My questions for this thread are as follows:

(1) How would someone who considered him/her self a Learning
Organization practitioner identify a new organization (and potential
position therein) where their LO skills and principles are likely to
be valued: that is, what would the practitioner look for? how would
one identify the possibility of alignment from outside? what would
be the "key indicators" of a potentially good match?

(2) From the POV of the five disciplines, what would be the
critical tasks for our paladin in preparation for the search? to put
it another way, in what ways would the disciplines help the
practitioner attend to her/his own learning along the way?

(3) Finally, remembering a conversation here a few months ago on
the ethics of naming one's self as committed to LO ideas and
convictions at the risk of "turning off" the potential employer (or
alternatively, say what they want to hear instead of telling the
truth, in the hopes of being able to effect change later), how would
a practitioner/paladin, particularly at lower than CEO level,
present him/her self to the identified and potential employer? I
start from the assumption that one would follow Deming's advice
about slogans and fads, and NOT use the "LO phrase" often if at all.

If it sounds as if I might be considering these questions from the
stance of one who might need them, I admit it, although not on the
basis of any immediate need. And in case anybody wonders, I'm NOT
angling in the pond of this group in the hopes of a lead. But I
believe there are others here who, like myself, would benefit from
the collective wisdom in the hopes of learning how to offer to a
new organization the skills and values that have become important
to us.

Any takers?

Malcolm Burson<mooney@maine.maine.edu
Community Health & Counseling
Bangor, Maine


"Malcolm Burson" <mooney@MAINE.MAINE.EDU>

Learning-org -- An Internet Dialog on Learning Organizations For info: <rkarash@karash.com> -or- <http://world.std.com/~lo/>