Challenging our own thinking LO11836

Scott Simmerman (
Sun, 12 Jan 1997 12:36:23 -0500

Michael McMaster, in LO11812, said,

>"Your experience suggests what is possible to me. It never tells me what
>is impossible or what must be.

>This suggests to me a learning point regarding the attitudes (or maybe
>even "first principles") of a learning organisation. That is, shifting to
>a view that is looking for what might be possible and challenging all
>constructions of "must be".

... and I agree. The world for me is all about possibilties and much less
about certainties. What turned me off most in my education were the
teachers who had all the answers. Multiple choice tests, where there were
multiple interpretations of the problem and many idfferent possibilities
drove me crazy, not because I didn't know the materials but mostly because
I couldn't figure out one answer among many.

When it comes to thinking, I use the metaphor,

"Throwing mud at the wire fence"

a LOT when discussing what to do or what to change, believing that some
chaos is needed and some randomness will occur. So being persistent and
throwing lots of mud is part of the discovery process. The key is to
observe the impact and "go with the flow," keeping results under constant

Now I begin to read some things about Action Learning. And Lewin's early
work. And LO materials. And get some confirmation. And some questions.

But I guess what I appreciate most is the constant learning focus.

As soon as someone begins to tell me (face-to-face, on video, or in email)
that they have THE Answer, I begin to tune out. I do not think THE Answer
exists, because why haven't we found it by now with millions of people
studying the problem for thousands of years. I think lots of people have
lots of good stuff to say, but the answer?

Situational Leadership. Performative Perspective. Continuous Continuous
Improvement. Action Learning.

These are the approaches that tend to make the most sense to me in this
world of dynamic ahange and possibility.

So thanks to Michael and Rol and Gordon and Roxanne and all the rest for
some stimulating dialog, discussion and controversy. And I hope that some
of my more "off-the-fence" contributions are of at least some impact.


Scott Simmerman

"We cannot become what we want to be by remaining what we are." Max DePree, Leadership is an Art, 1993

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