Re: bottom up introduction of learning LO2

Keith Cowan (
Fri, 3 Feb 1995 12:14:26 -0500 (EST)

> 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
> metaphor>.
> I would sure be interested in reading about other experiences, successfull
> or not, around these questions.
> Steve Gildersleeve

I did this oasis at IBM over a period of three years. Having mastered
the command and control hierarchy, especially in the corporate business
planning function, I decided to turn my new department "upside down",
putting the clients on top and me on the bottom.

After about 9 months of being very insecure, it started to work.
Rather than people comming to me to tell me what they were doing, they
started to seek my support when they were working at the boundaries of
their knowledge. I kept on top of the leading edge and added value on
every encounter. It was mentoring, leadership and empowerment.

The department become much more effective (by several factors) and after
two years, my direct involvement dropped to 2.5 days/week. I spent the
free time on cross-functional BPR projects. Turnover dropped in half and I
had to boot people out for their own good to even make the half (for their
career development). All-in-all a very positive success. When I left to
become and independent, the oasis disappeared over about a year. I still
get calls from members of the group in its heyday asking for work...

Keith Cowan       Phone: (416)565-6253           FAX: (905)858-7131
Toronto        Internet:  Compuserve: 72212,51