Discussion forum for members of the Massachusetts Bay Organizational Development Learning Group

Friday, June 29, 2007

How can we be aware of our consulting stance and adapt it as indicated?

Our June 28 program was on “Structural Dynamics” and was led by Steve Ober of Chrysalis Executive Coaching and Consulting.

Steve led us through discussion and exercises on understanding human systems, our own role in them, and how to help them change. We learned about the three levels in human systems: face to face; larger social structure; and individual structures. We considered how to “map” our client systems and to understand how we react to it. We saw how understanding of our own role is necessary to the success of our change efforts.

Finally we considered our client stance. Are we working within the system? Are we outside? Or above it? How does our perspective affect our work? And can we change our stance to achieve different ends (such as promoting our own personal growth while fostering organizational change)? This very important but often unrecognized issue has been selected as our Question of the Month.

Jim Murphy

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Learning from Mistakes

Back in October 1995, Abby Yanow posted a question on the relationship between encouraging creativity and tolerating mistakes. I made a short answer and subsequently made another post on organizations that are famous for giving employees who make a mistake (including theft!) a second chance.

Years later, I would like to extend that discussion to the issue of how organizations actually learn from employees’ mistakes. We could probably all give personal examples of learning from out mistakes, but examples of organizations doing that presumably are harder to think of.

In that connection, I would cite two additional references available in our Library: David Dotlich and Peter Cairo’s Why CEO’s Fail and John Maxwell’s Falling Forward. But while both of these have some suggestive material, neither addresses organizational learning.

Jim Murphy