bottom up introduction of learning
Vadeboncoeur Helene (vadebonh@ERE.UMontreal.CA)
Thu, 26 Jan 1995 21:04:16 -0500 (EST)
This stream of conversation hits a sensitive spot for me. My consulting
practice is built around working with managers who attempt to introduce
change from where they sit in the middle levels of their organisations.
We often have a long row to hoe before the contact the possibilities that
are within their reach. I was brought up in the school < true change only
works when it's top down>. By definition, this "forced" my interventions
to be large system efforts, some of which worked, most which didn't.
There was also the "thrill" of being hooked up whith the big boss and his
cronies. Once the thrill wore off, and I recognized how exhausted and
somewhat cynical I had become, I "lowered" my sights in order to work with
middle managers willing to explore how to generate sufficient personal
power and collective momentum in order to bring about learning and change
in their teams. We work over long periods of time, three to four years,
and slowly but surely, the results begin to happen. We spend a lot of time
working on how to "be true to yourself" and still survive in unfriendly
and un supportive environments. We invest lots of energy in assisting them
to connect up in meaningfull ways with significant players of the
surrounding systems. One of the tools we use is third party intervention,
where we sit down with unfriendly representatives of neighbouring systems
and support both sides in opening up a dialogue, and generating some trust.
And miracles happen. And, from where I sit,it seems to be my clients' deep
and strong commitment to learn that is the driving force in creating
movement. I sometimes sit in awe as I observe the creative and
constructive waves that a desire to learn can produce.
So, as you can see, I am a firm believer in the possibility of creating
learning "oasis" in the middle of large systems <deserts- excuse the
I would sure be interested in reading about other experiences, successfull
or not, around these questions.
Thank you all for stimulating my reflections and discovering how strongly
I feel about this.
Ma devise: Fie toi a toi