Judgement, Evaluation, Feedback, etc. LO10137

Kerr, Donald (Donald.Kerr@alliedsignal.com)
Mon, 23 Sep 1996 14:59:00 -0700

>[Host's Note: I find the exchange below pretty confusing, but I think
>there are important points in here. I hope Donald, Bill and others will
>stick with this... Donald, I'm wondering whether you agree with the
>Gingrich and Steindl-Rast comments that you quoted below? Or whether your
>questions arise from wondering how people can think that way? And, I
>wonder if Donald and Bill are using the word "judgment" with the same
>meaning in the exchange below. ...Rick]

I hope I can clear up some of the confusion...if I make it worse let me
know and I'll try again.

I don't agree with Gingrich that judgment is necessary for civilization.
(I admit I may not have the same intent as Newt did, but it has raised
questions for me). I do believe that the belonginess Steindl-Rast speaks
of is a practical alternative foundation for civilization.

I also believe Bill and I are using different interpretations of the word
judgment. When I use the word judgement, I am referring to the practice
of classifying people and putting them into slots. In my definition,
Judgement=separation=alienation=sin. For example, Let me use John 8 (my
interpretation), the story of how Jesus dealt with this issue. The
Pharisees (religious rulers) had stones in hand and wanted to stone a
woman caught in adultery, because that was the accepted rule of the time.
They put her into a slot [wrong, bad, sleezy, worthless, sinner] and
separated her from them [right, good, better, smarter, gifted, God-like].
They judged her. Jesus did not. He did not separate the so-called "good"
from the so-called "evil." He said "Let he who is without sin cast the
first stone" and the Pharisees walked away realizing they were no
different from the adultress. I believe Jesus showed them belonginess as
an alternative to judgement for social organization. All she had to do
was say "yes" to the belonging (love) Jesus extended. The Pharisees
"sinned" because their "civilization" was based on
alienation=separation=judgement. Jesus' new kingdom, or civilization, was
based on belonginess (salvation.)

Bill asked:
>How do you arrive at the conclusion that our civilization's existence
>depends on alienation. IMO more and more our local and global communities
>are coalescing. One of the few places I see alienation is along the lines
>of religious differences.

I arrive at the conclusion that our current system or civilization's
existence depends on alienation, because it depends on systems that
separate. We need a new civiliation that depends on unity for its

Scott Cypher's inputs have helped me with this:

>Judgement (Is it right/wrong, I have
>concluded my way is right, yours is wrong)
>Evaluation (What is the utility of A, vs. What is the utility of B. what I
>find useful you may not)
>Unity (everything is the same, what others see as parts, I see as a
>whole/system/one piece that can't be separated).

>98% of us live in judgement, 1.9% live somewhere between unity and judgement,
>and the .1% live in unity.

I like thinking of judgement as the opposite pole of unity because it
requires a major paradigm shift. Unity is a very difficult alternative
because it requires a radically different mental model. Jesus said,
narrow is the gate and few (.1%) find it. The religious differences Bill
referred to puts the fragmented religious groups in the 98% or 1.9% slot.,
because their system is based on judgement=separation=alienation. How do
you shift this paradigm is the question?

My theory is, the existing system is based on the "sin" that took place in
the" fall" of man in the Garden of Eden metaphor. Adam and Eve ate from
the tree of the KNOWLEDGE OF Good and Evil, and received the Knowledge or
capacity to judge=alienation=sin. (oh no I'm naked) This "sin" that
entered the world was not evil itself, but judgement itself. Before they
didn't know be naked was "bad." Jesus was the Second-Adam who returned us
to the Tree of Life, love, belonginess, and salvation. He redefined a
civilization, free from the knowledge of good and evil, that is possible
here and now...assuming we don't get nailed to the cross trying!

So what does all this have to do with business, government, and education?
Well, I see structures in society which exist because of the fall of man
from grace (belonginess) into judgement (alienation). These structures
assume an artifical scarcity of good, intrinsically motivated, gifted
people. They alienate and separate us and convice us we all must fit the
same mold and have the same gifts.

Bill asked:
>Where is the alienation in placing some children in 'gifted and talented'
>programs? It is a way our society tries to recognize and encourage
>advancement. Throughout history people with special talents and gifts have
>been individually recognized and received special attention. Mozart,
>Einstein, Carter, from the Western tradition and I regret my grasp of the
>history of the East for not having other names. These are not aliens --
>they are people who were nurtured to afford the whole society greater

I used the Gifted and Talented Programs in our school system as an example
of one of those structures. Students are put into slots. This labels and
alienates the ones who don't pass the test and doesn't help make friends
for those who got in either. Separation is the result. The ones who are
gifted enough to do well on the test, get extra privledges in the form of
getting out of regular class and going on field trips, etc. This system
assumes an artifical scarcity of "Gifted" students and that this artifical
scarcity is required to motivate advancement. It also assumes that if we
nurture a select few everybody will win. What makes one persons talents
more valuable to society? After all who would Mozart be without his gifted
teachers,gifted piano maker, or gifted violin maker? In the new system,
each persons individual gifts, talents, and abilities would be optimized
within the system so that everybody wins. These individual gifts would
not be put into slots of worth over another. ( In the body, is the eye any
better than the ear?). Educators would not asked who is "gifted and
talented based on our definition?" They would ask, "What gifts does each
student have and how can we all work together to serve and advance one
another to achieve our fullest capacity to create the future?

I said:
> Many of the existing organizational structures
>(judgment, evaluation, unsolicited feedback, false feedback, performance
>appraisals, grades in school, salary grades, classifications, exclusive
>hierarchy, rating, ranking, etc.) all influence fragmentation,
>competition, reactiveness...that is alienation.

Bill said:
>And many others influence collaboration and compassion.

Yes, I agree things are starting to move in that direction. Most attempts
to do this however, only work on the surface and are patchwork to the
existing system. They attempt to pour new wine into an old wineskin, and
it explodes. (popular versions of TQM, better ways of Performance
Appraisals, rewarding teams instead of individuals, peer reviews, etc.).
They are all avoiding changing the fundamental asumptions stated above,
because they are hard. For example, a company has a clear goal to improve
cooperation. They train everyone on how to do it. The company also has a
clear goal to rank employees against each other to promote interanl
competition for future advancement. One goal is based on belonginess and
the other is based on alienation. They are conflicting goals. It is easy
to teach a class on cooperation. It is another thing to ask "are our
existing structures creating the very behaviors we are teaching against?"

Bill said:
>We need good judgment that guide us to our
>goals, evaluation that determines the best next steps, appraisal of
>performance to assist improving performance and feedback solicited and

I agree if we are talking about improving the system:

Rol Fessenden proposed a new mental model that is consistent with what I
said above and is consistent with Dr. Deming. Rol said:

>There have been a number of discussions of judgement, evaluation, and
>feedback. I want to propose an a new mental model that may be more

>This mental model begins with the perspective that we can learn about life
>through concepts or approaches like action research. Thus, as events
>happen, and as we participate in them, we can struggle to learn from those
>events the germs of value that may have relevance in other situations.

>As a consequence, my direct reports meet with me periodically, and we have
>conversations about things they are struggling with. These conversations
>sometimes result in a mutual agreement to pursue some course of action,
>and attempt to learn from the consequences. We call these responsible
>experiments, and we track them like little projects. Later, we try to
>reach agreement on what we have learned if anything, and frequently we
>share the learnings with others.

>Is this evaluation, judgement, and feedback? I guess so. I think of it
>as applying the scientific method to 'life'. It's actually fun, and it is
>a success as long as people are willing to think, analyze, learn, and try.
>The key thing to understand is that for people of normal intelligence and
>capability, they cannot help but succeed and become more effective in
>their work if they pursue this path. Interestingly, these people are
>willing to identify the flaws in the system and fix them. Thus, they
>eliminate the distinction between the people and the system.

This structure is free from judgement as I have defined it (separation and
alienation). It influences belonginess because it focuses on improvement
of the system as a whole. Judgement as defined as reasoning for
decision-making is appropriate when improving the system as a whole, with
the recognition that experience does not equal knowledge. Applying the
scientific method (Theory, prediction, Deming's PDSA) or action research
to life as a system, where the aim is win/win, promotes belonginess.
Anything based on win/lose bases itself on the separation or alienation.

With all that said: I have to ask the following question:

What would a civilization look like if it shifted from judgement
(separation) to unity (belonginness)?

If artifical scarcity, separation, judgement, win/lose, and alienation are
the assumptions our current organizations depends on, how can we promote
cooperation (belonginess=win/win) in a these smaller systems to improve
competitiveness (alienation=win/lose) in the larger economic system and
civilization? What economic system is required to promote
belongingness,unity, and systems thinking, and the capacity for ALL
individuals to create their future,achieve their purpose, and use their
given gifts and talents to the fullest?

I don't know. How can we avoid asking this question? Why are we afraid
to go there? Senge and Deming avoided the issue. Why? To me they were
non-systemic to promote cooperation to improve competitiveness? Am I

Have a Great Adventure!
Don Kerr


"Kerr, Donald" <Donald.Kerr@alliedsignal.com>

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