Archive for November, 2009

developing shared meaning

Consulting Skills – Post 5

dialogos… developing shared meaning through the means of the word.

The focus of the consulting skills class and the org learning class seem to be on parallel tracks, converging… In Org Learning we’re exploring org culture which seems to be built on the tacit, underlying assumptions that evolve over time in an organization. In Consulting Skills, we are exploring the essence of dialogue, which seems to me to also require a significant amount of reflection in which we examine our own personal assumptions. Here we go again… digging out our own erroneous ideas, concepts, thought processes and being willing to consider alternative perspectives. Oh, this learning stuff just doesn’t stop, does it ??!!  Yes, I know I have soooo much stuff hidden in the blind, concealed, and unknown self…  how to get it out?? Is it through the process of deliberate feedback, dialogue, self-introspection, meditation, bloggin, or… ? Don’t they have some quick-fix on the market for this yet?? “…take this and all biases and erroneous assumptions are gone.”  Hmmm… is this what adult learning is about? …that I don’t know anything (or rather a little or maybe even very little…) about my own self?

Well, I know so much stuff influences my daily actions – untested inferences… whoa! These are so significant. And, I’d like to change some of them at least, but I know I’m not always conscious of how they affect me until or unless I trip over them sometimes. And I guess this is a point where self-introspection can help – to look back at those situations where I’ve tripped and made a mess and see what my thinking was leading into the situation. And perhaps some of those lightning-fast reactions where I run up the ladder of inference could be mitigated.

The concept of dialogue that Schein puts forward where I suspend judgment and entertain what the speaker is saying and watch the process going on inside – watch my thinking and see if it is in accord with values… i do like the idea, but it’s the act of suspending that is quite the challenge to put into regular practice. And yes, it is very helpful to consider the possibilities, reflect on situations where it could have helped, and then…, try again next time.

Indeed, all of this learning is hard work, but harder still is to stay unaware of such influences on many aspects my daily life and work. I may travel slowly down this road of self-awareness and development, but I do feel it is ever so essential on the path to becoming more human…

To do, be, or 'be in becoming'…

Org Learning – Post 5

Get some culture! O, maybe it’s not so easy to know what I can do to get culture… shall I don some blue jeans, green jeans, or black/white suit… or perhaps it’s where I live, what kind of furniture I have in my living space, what kind of art I have on the walls or tables, or not at all… or is it what I tell my friends, family and associates the values and beliefs I have?? Or… is my culture perhaps those unspoken, tacit things that I base my actual actions on… I don’t know if these things meet a sociologist’s idea of culture. However, Schein suggests that artifacts, espoused values, and underlying assumptions can be used to gain insight into the culture of an organization.

There seems to be so much to reflect on about culture… are we (or is an organization) individualistic and competitive or communitarian and cooperative… Do I (or an organization) emphasize ‘doing’, ‘being’, or ‘being in becoming’…  Theory Y or Theory X… How do we relate to time?? How about intimacy??

Indeed the topic of culture is very complex. And yet, it’s also fascinating to consider some of the many different factors and elements. In regards to an organization, one of the things that really strikes me is how connected culture is with leadership. The actions and behavior (you could also include words too, I think) of leaders carry a huge weight in forming an organizations’ culture. It’s so evident from what we could see in story told in the Enron movie.


Everything is an intervention – a Hubble perspective

This makes me think that the more I am conscious of my values and underlying assumptions, the more I will be aware of the impact of all the stuff I say or do has on those I meet and in my environment as I walk through my day. Hmmm…. It seems like a tall order. However, the thing I find is that when I look back at my day(s) I see that there are so often consequences that I hadn’t intended. Sometimes these are painful or have a high cost of some sort or another. I don’t want to berate myself for whatever gaps I find in what I wish to do, be, or ‘be in becoming’ and what I actually do or am. However, I can see that it’s a learning process and if I can become more aware of the various elements at work in myself, perhaps I can recognize such factors or elements in an organization that I may be working with or in.