I had an interesting conversation (among many others) recently on a discussion group and it went
something like this:
John (not his real name): Hi Sheila, I'm very interested in how teams successfully align and learn.
I'm also a student of the effects that organizational culture (reward programs, values, mission,
vision, etc) impact teams. I'm a huge believer that culture, environment and alignment (common
mental models and same baseline understandings of systems) are key contributors to successful
outcomes in complex problem solving and innovation. So let the dialog begin.
Sheila: To begin with, when I use the word align (and for that matter when Peter talks about it in the
discipline of Team Learning), it means where two different minds meet and when the minds learn
from the other, they "morph and change their views" leading to beginning to include the others'
point of view and in that way both align to each other (not just one align to the other). Is this the
same for you?
Therefore, In my view, having common mental models and baseline view of systems is a mistake
and probably a misunderstood view of Peter's work. Acknowledging and learning from different
mental models is the key to learning and appreciating the "real" systemic inter-relations we are in
(not just the "realities" we make up in the walls of our offices) and using that to learn to turn around
any situation and creating the results that "the system" (which includes oneself) wishes to see.
John: I need to spend some more time to process this. It's causing an internal tension for me -- (a.) I
see the absolute wisdom in the "mistake" but (b.) I also see the need for practical application of
learning (that is sometimes configuration, fact or measure driven, hence the baseline comment) to
drive an outcome or result in a business setting. Measures / facts help to create a common
understanding that in turn can be used as you state in learning and learning systems.
I also believe in the diversity of thought, opinion and dialog. However given the tension I'm feeling
internally means I definitely need to go do some thinking on this. There is absolute validity and
wisdom in what you state... I need time to absorb it and explore my tension with it. :-) I fortunately
or unfortunately live in a very fast paced business environment. The application of learning systems
culture could be very beneficial to me and to our company.....
Sheila: This tension you are experiencing, I believe, is often the point of departure (make or break)
for many who passes by Peter's work. Do take your time. Love your reflections! Systemic inter-
relations (interdependencies) and their implications are always much bigger than the unilateral
goals that we drive / run after! It needs time and us. The latter needs neither!
Do you have thoughts like these and what has been your own reactions to the disciplines of mental
models, team learning and systems thinking and like John here, have you felt these tensions?
How then do you practice the disciplines in your life? Talk about it your communities and share your
reflections with us?
- Look out for brand new links on the LOPN website here!
- Display posters on tools covered in the workshops
- Sign-up here to be on the LOPN mailing list
2009 LOPN NEWS!
Check out the network's programmes in the coming months here.
Employment connections, click here.
2009 COMMUNITY EVENTS AND CONFERENCES:
2009 GLOBAL SOCIETY FOR ORGANIZATIONAL LEARNING (SoL) AND RELATED GROUPS
|SOCIETY FOR ORGANIZATIONAL LEARNING (SoL Global) DATES:|
"For a long time I had felt like a mouse on a corporate treadmill and I was curious to find out how the
programmes was going to provide me with some new insights and fresh perspectives. As the days
unfolded, I thought the program was pleasant, relaxing and a good opportunity to recharge the battery. It
wasn't until I came home, however, when it suddenly dawned on me that I had subtly changed. It was as if
in this moment of stillness in Vermont, I had changed a lens on my mental camera and was looking at the
world in a different way. As if in a moment of connection with life and the universe, I finally understood that
our greatest power to change the world lies in our power to see beyond the veil."
- Recent Participant
"Enhancing our capacity for generative conversation, especially in dealing with highly contentious issues,
is vital in building learning organizations. The work of Action Design is an essential foundation in building
- Peter Senge, Society for Organizational Learning.
The work of Action Design has grown out of their immersion in deeply rooted practice traditions that
combine intervention and scholarship. A distinctive feature of the approach they have built on these
foundations is that it integrates three domains: how people interact and form relationships, how
organizations function, and how individuals learn and develop. We believe that integrating these three
domains is essential to helping people create more effective organizations. The Action Design Institute
offers three-day and five-day open enrollment programs. A seminal work I find is the programme:
"Creating Productive Conversations with Chris Argyris"
"The Action Design Institute is among the most powerful developmental experiences I've had in my
career. I now have tools and approaches to help me understand dilemmas, appreciate the perspective of
others and know how to help when the conversation appears stuck. - Global Quality Manager, BP Solar.
.... "I really enjoyed the Action Design workshops when I took them but I also noticed that they had a 'time
release' quality in my life. It's been a gradual process but I have actually caught myself seeing things very
differently." - An Organizational Development Director.
Human Dynamics is the term given to new understanding of human functioning developed by Dr. Sandra
Seagal and her associates at Human Dynamics International in the course of continuing research since
1979. This investigation has involved more than 80,000 people from over twenty-five cultures.
Dr. Seagal and her team have explored the interaction in people of three universal principles - the mental,
the emotional (or relational) and the physical (or practical). In the human system, the mental principle is
related to the mind - to thinking values, structure, focus, objectivity, perspective. The emotional principle is
more subjective. It is concerned with relationships - with feelings, communication, organization, and
synthesis. The physical principle is pragmatic. It is the making, doing, operationalizing part of us.
Of the greatest significance is the discovery that the mental, emotional and physical principles combine in
a dynamic interplay in people in specific ways, to form distinct personality dynamics or ways of being, each
characterized by fundamentally different inner process and ways of functioning in the world. Five such
personality dynamics predominate in Western cultures, and three in Eastern cultures in relatively
consistent, although not equal, proportions.
The personality dynamics do not appear to be determined by culture, age or gender. They appear in
every culture; they characterize men and women in equal numbers; and they can be observed at every
age level. The distinctions are so fundamental that they can be identified even in babies.
Each personality dynamic constitutes a whole way of functioning. Members of one personality dynamic
differ distinctly from those of another personality dynamic in the way in which they process information,
learn, communicate, problem-solve, function on teams, and become stressed. Each personality dynamic
has specific requirements for learning, maturing and functioning optimally. Each has characteristic gifts
and affinities. And the path of development is different for each.
To know someone's personality dynamic, therefore is to know a great deal about that person. Each
person constitutes a whole system,.
It is important to note that each personality dynamic is of equal value. Anyone of any personality dynamic
may be more or less intelligent, compassionate, skilled or gifted. And every personality dynamic has an
unbounded capacity for maturation. But the way in which the members of each personality dynamic
function is completely different.
The lack of recognition of these differences in human functioning has led to much misunderstanding,
conflict, and wastage of individual and group potential - in the classroom, in the work-place, in the home.
Awareness of them, however, offers new opportunities: for greater individual self-understanding and
growth; for greater understanding of others; for improved communication and cooperation; for more
effective teaching and learning; and for the conscious development of balanced teams in which all of the
personality dynamics are represented, and in which the participants are able to work in creative synergy
through consciously respecting each other's inherent processes and utilizing each other's gifts.
For details of annual conference (Nov 2-4, 2009 (Mon-Wed)), click here.
Join Peter Senge, Linda Booth Sweeney and a diverse learning community who know why systems
thinking and systems action are now more important than ever.
|GREENLEAF 19TH ANNUAL INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE FOR SERVANT-LEADERS AND |
|ASPIRANTS OF SERVANT LEADERSHIP|
The phrase “Servant Leadership” was coined by Robert K. Greenleaf in The Servant as Leader, an essay
that he first published in 1970. In that essay, he said:
"The servant-leader is servant first… It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve
first. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead. That person is sharply different from one who is
leader first, perhaps because of the need to assuage an unusual power drive or to acquire material
possessions…The leader-first and the servant-first are two extreme types. Between them there are
shadings and blends that are part of the infinite variety of human nature."
"The difference manifests itself in the care taken by the servant-first to make sure that other people’s
highest priority needs are being served. The best test, and difficult to administer, is: Do those served grow
as persons? Do they, while being served, become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous, more likely
themselves to become servants? And, what is the effect on the least privileged in society? Will they benefit
or at least not be further deprived?"
|February 10, 2009 (Mon)