First Principles of LO LO12069

Rol Fessenden (76234.3636@CompuServe.COM)
19 Jan 97 12:23:10 EST

Replying to LO11649 --

I like Rick's definition of a learning org, but for me an essential
element is that it not be about individuals but about organization. So I
would amend it to say "People are continually expanding their
_organization's_ capability to produce the results that they want to
create." As someone pointed out "continually" does not mean always
forward, as learning does not necessarily always take steps forward. some
things don't work as planned.

So, if that definition is ok with all of you, then there must be something
that holds that organization together. Everyone in the org knows what
results the organization wishes to create. This shared knowledge of the
goals of the org is, of course, my favorite topic -- the organization's
self-evident truths.

I read today that Thomas Jefferson knew that the new American Constitution
would not end hate and inequality. But he thought that the new
constitution was a very necessary first step. Thus, when he proclaimed
some "self-evident truths" (in the Declaration of Independence &
Constitution) , he had a long-term goal in mind of (in part) eliminating
hate and inequality. So my suggestion for a first principle of org
learning as I have defined it is that the individuals in the organization
understand and subscribe to the organization's truths.

There has also been some discussion of the "heart" progression which
Sherry brought up. In particular, many people mentioned fear of exposing
themselves if they spoke from the heart. Being vulnerable in front of
people who may misuse that information about you can expose you to
enormous pain. It is not only understandable, but absolutely necessary to
protect oneself from that abuse.

However, allowing for that circumstance, there must be room to learn and
grow without feeling threatened. That is what learning is about.
Learning leads to _emergent_ change. Thanks to Robert, I can define that
now. "Emergent" means we didn't predict it. However, in the context of
learning, we need to go further than that. A learner is able to put in
chain a series of actions that will lead to 'emergent' phenomena, and they
don't know what the change will be, but probably it will be good. I think
that is what Thomas Jefferson did. A learner, to do that, must be very
strong. Inner strength is an inevitable outcome of "personal mastery" in
Senge's terms. So, my proposed second principle for a learning org is that
the participants have attained the state of _Personal Mastery_.

In mathematics if something always leads inexorably to a certain outcome,
then that something is called 'necessary and sufficient' for the
inexorable development of that outcome. I suggest to anyone who wnats to
add anything, that these two principles -- shared self-evident truths and
individual Personal Mastery -- are _necessary_ preconditions for a
learning org as I defined it above. I don't know that they are necessary
and sufficient. That is, I don't know if other fctors need to be called
upon as well. But I think they are necessary preconditions.

Any thoughts?

Rol Fessenden


Rol Fessenden <76234.3636@CompuServe.COM>

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