Length of contributions LO12001

Michael N. Erickson (sysengr@bcstec.ca.boeing.com)
Thu, 16 Jan 1997 14:54:18 -0800 (PST)

Replying to LO11928 --

Hello all

Re: Ben Comptons post asking "can anyone explain these dynamics"...

I'm one of the occasional contributers to the LO list, and for myself I
find my ability to "talk" to the group is governed a lot by my stress
level. I also do my fair share of what ever passes for innovation in my
arena of influence. Sometimes I'm so thourally engaged in work that I
can't really participate in the LO discussions. Other times I'm burned
out for lack of sleep and sensory overload that I have a hard time making
any kind of coherent reading, much less posting. Once in a while I post
something that Rick sends back-and I discovered I was so far off the
subject that it's embarrassing.

And then once in a great while, I write something that causes a ripple of
discussion, and I breath a sigh of relief and tell myself to relax, I'm
not so confused or ignorant as I might have thought.

I'm finding that genuine independant thinking is fairly rare-yes,
especially in my thick head. When we are beset with tasks, it requires
something out of the ordinary for us to see the world differently enough
to make the mental connections that innovation requires. (At least I find
it true in myself). I purposely seek out the "out of the ordinary", and
try to jar myself out of the norm in hopes of learning some new thing-or
make some new connection. I'm occasionally successful, but often not, and
my writing to the LO group reflects that eratikness.

I'm finding independant action to be even more rare. It's one thing to
know something about innovation or how to make a connection, and it's
another to actually go and make the connection or instigate the
innovation. I guess I'm kind of dumb, because I believe a lot of the
organizational retoric that my upper management give us, and I act on it.
I get credited with being so innovative when all I do is DO the thing I'm
directed to do. If I'm questioned, I say, "well this tactic or decision
just follows what <the name of some top manager> says we should do... Am I
wrong"? Usually the questioner backs off and I go on my way, but I'm
always being warned to "watch my back", innovators get into trouble sooner
or later.

I wish we could simply just relax and do what we know. I wish that those
who don't speak up, would stop worrying and just begin to express
themselves. Worrying about the few who believe in their freedom of
expression and speak up easily-thinking that they are some select
"controlling" group seems to me to reflect a lack in belief in ones self.

I personally enjoy the writings of those who speak up often, but I don't
use their offerings as an obstical against, or a reason for adding my own
two bits-as inspiration directs me. I appreciate a clearly thought out
and presented piece, particularly if it is based on experience and sound
theoretic foundation. I feel clumsy very often because I don't have the
academic education, but I also know that if I let my intuition guide me,
and be willing to face my ignorance, then someone will speak up, and
correct my misguided assumption, and I will learn. OK so I won't get
college credit but does that really matter?

It really comes down to belief.

How strongly do you believe in the ability of the individual to make a
difference? Does that difference have to be large in order for the
difference to matter? Do you believe that you matter?

I value the small "differences", and revel in the big ones. If I can help
them happen, all the better. I hope to make a living, and enjoy my time
on the planet, but my belief in the need to make a difference overpowers
it all.

If there are mental models to tear apart, it's the ones that govern how we
feel about ourselves, and our inherent value. On the one hand we are
small atoms extant in a huge universe. On the other hand, we communicate
and effect each other in unexpected and amazing ways. You don't have to
be someone or something BIG and Important to do this. (hang around little
children for any length of time-and you will find your life will be
changed by what they will teach you).

Become a little child-in heart. Speak your mind, explore the
possibilities, be too nieve to fear. Learn, Grow, and talk to us.

Michael Erickson

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"Michael N. Erickson" <sysengr@bcstec.ca.boeing.com>

Learning-org -- An Internet Dialog on Learning Organizations For info: <rkarash@karash.com> -or- <http://world.std.com/~lo/>