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Prototypes. Fall 2010. Contents. Recitation Chapter 13 –Openness Chapter 14 –Localness Chapter 15 –A Manager’s Time Chapter 16 –Ending the war between work and family Chapter 17 –Microworlds: Technology for the Learning Organization Chapter 18 –The Leader’s New Work. Recitation.

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Fall 2010

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  • Recitation

  • Chapter 13 –Openness

  • Chapter 14 –Localness

  • Chapter 15 –A Manager’s Time

  • Chapter 16 –Ending the war between work and family

  • Chapter 17 –Microworlds: Technology for the Learning Organization

  • Chapter 18 –The Leader’s New Work

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  • What is the role of the subconscious in personal mastery?

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  • Mental Models are important because…

  • Shared vision has the effect of…..

  • Team learning is supported by what other disciplines?

  • Inquiry and reflection are used by what discipline?

  • What two conversational techniques does Team Learning use?

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Part IV: Prototypes

Senge, Chapter 13--OPENNESS


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  • Are essential to discovering and solving key problems

  • We are in the prototyping stage

  • Significant innovation requires prototyping

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Where are we (in the Rawls COBA)?

  • Somewhere between invention and innovation

  • To what extent are we open to innovation?

  • To what extent are we willing to address

    • new curricula

    • new organizational structures

Prepared by James R. Burns

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What explicit innovations would we like to see prototyped?

  • Many of these will fail

  • Out of these failures workable structures will evolve

  • Sometimes this is the only way to learn and advance the state of practice

  • For some firms a culture that encourages trying new things even though they will fail fosters learning

  • To what extent do we provide a “laboratory” for research in organizational learning?

Prepared by James R. Burns

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Another Reality: Business Integration

  • Integrating themes

    • Information technology

    • Quality

    • Entrepreneurship

    • Leadership

    • Systems thinking/System dynamics

    • Projects and processes

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Business Integration






Information Technology



Systems Thinking/System Dynamics

Prepared by James R. Burns

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Back to prototyping

  • How to encourage openness

    • the elimination of politics and game playing

  • How to discourage localness (Ch 14)

    • the distribution of responsibility widely, while retaining coordination/control

  • How do managers create the time for learning (Ch 15)

  • How can the war between work and family be ended (Ch 16)

  • How can we learn from Microworlds (Ch17)

Prepared by James R. Burns

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Openness--Chapter 13--Outline

  • How to eliminate politics and game playing

  • Building an environment where self interest is not paramount

  • Participative Openness and Reflective Openness

  • Openness & Complexity

  • The Spirit of Openness

  • Freedom

Prepared by James R. Burns

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How to eliminate politics and game playing

  • A political environment is one in which “WHO” is more important than “WHAT”

    • Who proposes the idea is more important than the idea itself

  • Some individuals lose political power at the expense of others

    • The wielding of arbitrary power over others is the essence of authoritarianism

Prepared by James R. Burns

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Is there anything that can be done about org. politics??

  • In most orgs, no, Senge says, so don’t even dwell on it

  • Yet very few people want to live in organizations corrupted by internal politics and game playing

  • Challenging the grip of politics and game playing starts with building shared vision

Prepared by James R. Burns

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Shared vision

  • Galvanizes people beyond their personal agendas and self interest

  • We want an organizational climate dominated by merit rather than politics, where doing what is right predominates over who wants what done.

Prepared by James R. Burns

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  • The norm of speaking openly -- participative openness

  • The capacity to continually challenge one’s own thinking -- reflective openness

  • Openness is needed to break down the game playing that is deeply embedded in most organizations

Prepared by James R. Burns

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Building an environment where self interest is not paramount

  • Badaracco and Ellsworth in Leadership and the Quest for Integrity assume that practitioners believe that people are motivated by self-interest and by a search for power and wealth

  • The assumption can be self-fulfilling; assume this and you will have a very political org.

  • Really, people want to be part of something larger than themselves

  • Personal Mastery encourages people to look beyond themselves for personal vision

Prepared by James R. Burns

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Shared Visions

  • Draw forth this broader commitment and concern

  • Begins to establish a sense of trust that comes naturally

  • Start by getting people to talk about what is really important to them

  • When people hear each other’s visions, the political environment begins to crumble

Prepared by James R. Burns

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Honesty begins to Prevail

  • Honesty and forthrightness must pervade every relationship

  • Cannot sanction lying to anyone, administrators, students

Prepared by James R. Burns

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Unlearning the habits of politics and game playing

  • Shared vision, once it takes root, does not completely dissolve game playing

Prepared by James R. Burns

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Participative Openness and Reflective Openness

  • Most Common, Part. Openness-the freedom to speak one’s mind

  • Because participative management is widely espoused.

  • But total honesty does not prevail

  • There is little real learning

Prepared by James R. Burns

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Reflective Openness

  • While Part. Openness gets people speaking out, reflective openness gets people looking inward

  • Starts with the willingness to challenge our own thinking

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Reflective Openness, Continued

  • Requires that we test our views, assumptions against other peoples views, assumptions and revise them as necessary

  • Requires inquiry and reflection discussed in the mental models chapter

Prepared by James R. Burns

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Senge: Chapter 14


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How to achieve control without controlling

  • LOCALNESS--extending authority and power as far from the top or corporate center as possible

  • More akin to the word EMPOWERMENT

  • Learning organizations are ones in which thinking and acting are merged for every participant

  • Localness is especially needed in times of rapid change

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Two new challenges emerge

  • How to get senior managers to give up control to local managers

  • How to make local control work

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Giving up control:

  • Will this make senior managers dispensable?

  • Senior managers must assume responsibility for continually enhancing the organization’s capacity for learning--THEIR NEW ROLE

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Other questions about localness:

  • How can locally controlled organizations achieve coordination?

  • Synergy between business units?

  • Collaborative efforts toward common corporate-wide objectives?

  • How can the local organization be something other than just a holding company

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What experience has shown:

  • Rigid authoritarian hierarchies thwart learning

  • Hierarchies fail to harness the spirit, enthusiasm, and knowledge of people throughout the organization and to be responsible for shifting business conditions

  • Failure has sprung up from not being able to relinquish control

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Learning organizations:

  • do less controlling of people’s behavior

  • invest in improving the quality of people’s thinking

  • invest in improving the capacity for reflection and learning

  • develop shared visions

  • develop shared understandings

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The illusion of being in control

  • Most senior managers would rather give up anything than control

  • Senge illustrates the illusion of control from the top with roller skates connected by springs

  • Even though senior managers think they are in control, they are not

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  • When business is going well, localness prevails

  • When business is not going well, control gets returned to central management

  • Such vacillation is a testament to a deep lack of confidence

  • Is an example of a “shifting the burden” archetype

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  • Unless senior management believes:

    • that the quality of learning

    • the ability to adapt

    • the excitement and enthusiasm

    • the human growth

    • ARE WORTH THE RISK, they will never choose to build a locally controlled organization

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Today: Expediency

  • Many organizations are cutting management levels

  • Becoming more locally controlled, to cut costs

  • But these arrangements do not last a business downturn, usually

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Control without controlling

  • Local decision making may not be wise

  • Local decisions can be myopic, failing to appreciate the impacts of decisions

  • Just because no one is in control does not mean that there is no control

  • Central control is too slow and too unaware of what is happening locally

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The Tragedy of the Commons Archetype

  • What is right for each part is wrong for the whole

  • This is also called “suboptimization” in the context of quality management

  • Each individual focuses only on his own needs, not on the needs of the whole

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Tragedy of the Commons Archetype, Continued

  • Occur frequently in businesses where localness is valued

  • When several divisions share a common support group

Prepared by James R. Burns

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Corporations’ Depletable Commons

  • financial capital, productive capital, technology

  • community reputation, good-will of customers and suppliers, morale of employees

  • When a company decentralizes, local divisions compete with each other for those limited resources

  • Andersen…

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The experience

  • Breaking business into smaller pieces is supposed to encourage local initiative and risk taking


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The experience, Continued

  • Divisionalization and autonomy has created more short-term oriented managers, managers who are more driven by the bottom line

  • These aggressive division managers are driven by short-term profits only

Prepared by James R. Burns

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Managing COMMONS structures

  • Who will manage the commons?

  • Depletion of the commons will work to everyone’s disadvantage

  • Establish signals that will alert local actors that a commons is in danger

  • Do not take “below the waterline risks” as was the case for the Titanic

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The new role of central management

  • Identifying and managing the COMMONS

  • Become a researcher and designer

    • Test new structures in a simulative environment, and recommend those that succeed

  • Encourage organizational learning

  • Encourage risk-taking

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  • Localness must encourage risk taking

  • To do so is to practice forgiveness

  • “If you are making mistakes, that means you are making decisions and taking risks--and we won’t grow unless you take risks

  • “Making the mistake is punishment enough”

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A Manager’s Time

Senge: Chapter 15


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How do manager’s create the time for learning?

  • How do we expect people to learn when they have little time to think and reflect, individually and collaboratively?

  • Even when there is time to reflect,…...

    • Most managers do not consider the impact their actions have had carefully

    • Managers are too busy contemplating their next move to consider why their previous policy did not pan out

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What do American Managers do?

  • They adopt a strategy

  • When it runs into problems, they switch to another strategy

  • Then to another and another

  • Possibly to 4 or 6 different strategies, without once examining why a strategy seems to be failing

  • Senge calls this the READY, FIRE, AIM atmosphere of American Corporations

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Learning takes time

  • When managing mental models, it takes considerable time to surface assumptions, examine their consistency, their accuracy, and see how different models can be knit together into more systemic perspectives

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The example of Hanover’s O’Brien

  • Doesn’t schedule short meetings

  • Only considers complex, dilemma-like “divergent” issues

  • Only makes 12 decisions a year

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Hanover’s O’Brien, Continued

  • If a manager is making 20 decisions a day, the manager is looking at convergent issues that should be dealt with more locally or is giving insufficient time to complex problems

  • Either way its a sign that management work is being handled poorly

Prepared by James R. Burns

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For top level managers

  • Their job should be consumed with identifying important issues the organization must address and helping others sort through decisions they must make

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In the future, Senge suggests

  • High-level managers will spend more time reflecting, modeling and designing learner processes

  • Because reflection and inquiry are integral to the development of valid mental models

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Managers must set aside time for thinking

  • The way each of us go about managing our time will say a good deal about our commitment to learning

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Ending the War Between Work and Family

Senge, Chapter 16


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  • Finding a balance between work and family--number one issue

  • Learning organizations will, Senge believes, end the imbalance between work and family

  • Personal visions are multifaceted--personal, professional and family lives

  • The boundary between work and family is anathema to system thinkers

Prepared by James R. Burns

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The Structure of Work/Family Imbalance

  • Success to the Successful Archetype, page 308

Prepared by James R. Burns

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Success to the Successful

Prepared by James R. Burns

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This is very unstable

  • Once it starts to drift one way or another, it will tend to continue to drift

  • There are several reasons why it tends to drift toward more and more time at work

    • Income

    • pushing ahead at work becomes a convenient excuse for avoiding the anguish of going home to an unhappy spouse

  • The imbalance is not self-correcting--it gets worse over time

Prepared by James R. Burns

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The Futility of Managing your Life Within this Structure

  • One-time improvements in family tend to get overwhelmed by escalating pressures at work

  • Eventually, people realize that the structure itself must get changed

Prepared by James R. Burns

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The Individual’s Role in changing the structure

  • Is it really your vision to have a balance between work and family?

  • Making a conscious choice will entail setting clear personal goals for time at home.

    • being home for dinner, giving up weekends for family, reduce evening business meetings

  • Be willing to pay a price for taking a stand for a vision of balance between work and family

Prepared by James R. Burns

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The Organization’s Role

  • By fostering such conflict, orgs. distract and un-empower their members

  • By fostering such conflict, orgs. fail to exploit a potential synergy that can exist between learning orgs, learning individuals, learning families

  • Bill O’Brien says the skills of leadership in a learning organization are the skills of effective parenting.

Prepared by James R. Burns

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What does Leading involve in a Learning Organization?

  • Supporting people in clarifying and pursuing their own visions

  • Helping people discover underlying causes of problems, and empowering them to make choices

  • Looking for synergy between productive family and productive work life

Prepared by James R. Burns

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Senge believes

  • these changes will lead more organizations to undo divisive pressures and demands that create family/work imbalances

  • orgs will acknowledge that strong companies cannot be built on a foundation of broken homes and strained personal relationships

Prepared by James R. Burns

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Steps Orgs. can Take

  • Provide day care for single parents

  • Support personal mastery as a part of the org’s philosophy and strategy

  • Make it acceptable for people to acknowledge family issues

  • Where needed, help people obtain counseling and guidance for how to make effective use of their family time

Prepared by James R. Burns

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The conflict of work and home is ...

  • a conflict of time

  • a conflict of values

  • but can be perceived as something else entirely

Prepared by James R. Burns

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What the parent learns at home….

  • can be used at work

  • how to build self-esteem works in both contexts, for example

Prepared by James R. Burns

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Let’s take a break

  • Stand up

  • Walk around the room—in single file

    • Bet its been a few years since you’ve been asked to do that

  • Now return to your chair

  • Now, touch the top of your head with your left hand

  • Now sit down

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Microworlds: The Technology of the Learning Organization

Senge, Chapter 17


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How can we rediscover the child learner within us?

  • Human beings learn best through firsthand experience.

  • Learning by doing only works so long as the feedback from our actions is rapid and unambiguous

  • But learning from experience is neither rapid nor unambiguous because the consequences of our actions are separated from us in time and space

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How then can we learn? Microworlds (MW)

  • MWs enable managers and management teams to begin “learning by doing”

  • MWs are nothing more or less than interactive simulations

  • MWs compress time and space so that it becomes possible to experiment and to learn when the consequences are in the distant future and in distant parts of the organization

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Transitional objects: the way children learn

  • Children have a rate of learning that is truly astounding

  • They rehearse with transitional objects: dolls, blocks, play-houses, etc..

  • Managers too have their transitional objects: MWs

  • When teams go white-water rafting, participate in a role playing exercise, participate in a dialogue practice session, they are engaging in a microworld.

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Transitional objects: Are they the best?

  • A white-water rafting trip doesn’t produce powerful insights into strategic business issues

  • Role-playing exercises do not show us whether our personnel policies are aligned with our manufacturing and marketing policies

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What about computer simulations?

  • PC is ubiquitous and getting more powerful every month

  • These simulations will prove to be a critical technology for implementing the disciplines of the learning organization

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How Does Organizational Learning Occur?

  • According to Shell’s Arie de Geus, by

  • Changing the rules of the game (through openness and localness)

  • Through play

  • Microworlds are places for relevant play

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MWs allow for….

  • issues and dynamics of complex business situations to be explored through trying out new strategies and policies and seeing what might happen

  • Costs of failed experiments disappear

  • Organizational sanctions against experimentation are nonexistent

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MWs are being used today by managers….

  • for managing growth

  • for product development

  • for improving quality in both service and manufacturing business

  • and they build upon the system archetypes

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MW1: Future Learning: Discovering Internal Contradictions in a Strategy

  • Lying behind all strategies are assumptions, which remain implicit and untested

  • These assumptions have internal contradictions

  • Such internal contradictions cause the strategy to also have internal contradictions

  • Such internal contradictions make the strategy difficult to implement

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The Business Plan of Index Computer Company in a Strategy

  • GOAL: reach 2 billion in sales in four years

  • Reqd. James Sawyer, vice pres. of sales, to double his sales force

  • Other top managers were unsympathetic saying “you will work it out”

  • While uncomfortable, Mr. Sawyer did not want to become a “nay sayer.”

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Executives split into 3-person microworld teams to play out the consequences of the sales plan

  • They constructed an explicit model of the assumptions behind the plan

  • 20% annual sales growth

  • Hire 20% more salespeople and you make 20% more sales

  • Sawyer says “wait a minute...not all salespeople are equal…there is much they have to learn…before they can sell a single system

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Sawyer continues... the consequences of the sales plan

  • we got most of our sales people originally by hiring away from competitors

  • today 20% is so many people that we cannot possibly get experienced people from our competitors

  • assumptions were changed to show inexperienced sales people to be only 1/3 to 1/4 as productive as experienced salespeople

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Consequences the consequences of the sales plan

  • could not reach goal of $2 billion in sales in four years

  • could only get to $1.5 billion

  • Attempts to get to $2 billion resulted in having to double the sales force in the fourth year alone

  • This would wreak havoc on the sales organization and the personnel budget

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Sawyer’s assessment the consequences of the sales plan

  • There would be a lot of pressure on our veterans

  • And, our veterans would have to train the new salespeople

  • This wold result in more veterans leaving

  • This would create a vicious cycle

  • Many of our veterans came to us to escape this kind of situation somewhere else

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Then Susan Willis, Director of Human Resources had her say the consequences of the sales plan

  • sales people resist any call to invest their time in training and developing new salespeople

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Further, Susan Willis said: the consequences of the sales plan

  • Sawyer said this was because of hiring the most aggressive salespeople who get their kicks and their commissions from closing a sale in the field

    • There are no incentives or commissions for helping newcomers

    • The proposed strategic plan would simply reinforce this problem

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Conclusions of the MW session at Index the consequences of the sales plan

  • Train new sales people more quickly

  • Establish new rewards for sales managers to develop their staffs

  • Get more support to help senior sales people mentor and train new sales people

  • Create a MW for training new sales people

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MW2: Seeing Hidden Strategic Opportunities: How our Beliefs Influence our Customer’s Preferences

  • Here again MWs are helpful in surfacing different assumptions and discovering how they can be related in a larger understanding

  • Bill Seaver and John Henry are president and VP for Meadowlands Shelving Company

  • They have reached an impasse in the way they saw their customers and their market

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Seaver believes... Influence our Customer’s Preferences

  • That the key to success in the market place lays in having good products priced competitively

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Henry agrees but... Influence our Customer’s Preferences

  • Also felt service quality could play a big part in whether or not customers chose Meadowlands

  • Believed the company should invest in upgrading its service through training Meadowlands dealers in performing a wide range of services from better account management to office design and troubleshooting customers problems

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Seaver’s response was... Influence our Customer’s Preferences

  • These are good ideas but he didn’t support spending significantly more on dealer support because he was convinced that it would not have significant impact on Meadowlands’ sales.

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Sales people said... Influence our Customer’s Preferences

  • “Our competitors are discounting like mad and we can only hold our own if we match or better them”

  • When Henry himself talked with customers, frequently they said they would rather have 5% off on their sales order than have better service after the sale

  • Still he held onto his belief that there must be a way to gain competitive advantage through better service

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What the MW showed... Influence our Customer’s Preferences

  • Continual discounts in the face of poor service quality became a vicious circle

  • Efforts to maintain customers with better service quality lacked credibility because they had experienced poor service for so long

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Further, the MW showed… Influence our Customer’s Preferences

  • Investing in service quality took a long time to exhibit its effects because

    • customers have to experience improved service before they take it seriously

    • the repurchasing delay in the shelving industry took two-to-four years

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Both Seaver and Henry were right…. Influence our Customer’s Preferences

  • Seaver was right in the short run

  • Henry, in the long

  • Both learned a lot about the way the company interacted with its customers and within itself.MW3: Discovering Untapped Leverage: The Drift to Low Quality in Service Businesses

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The Leader’s New Work Influence our Customer’s Preferences

Peter Senge, THE FIFTH DISCIPLINE, Chapter 18

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Self-directed teams require a new leadership style Influence our Customer’s Preferences

  • The traditional style of clear directions and well-intentioned manipulation doesn’t work

  • People with a sense of their own vision and commitment would naturally reject efforts of a leader to get them committed.

  • One leader did not know what to do, now that he had a self-directed team

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Our view of leaders…. Influence our Customer’s Preferences

  • Is wrong

  • Especially in the West, leaders are heros--great men who rise to the occasion

  • This view reinforces a focus on events and charismatic control of those events rather than on systemic forces and collective learning

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Our view of leaders, continued Influence our Customer’s Preferences

  • At its heart, the traditional view of leadership is based on assumptions of people’s powerlessness, their lack of personal vision and inability to master the forces of change

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The new view of leadership in learning organizations Influence our Customer’s Preferences

  • Leaders are designers, stewards, and teachers

  • Leaders build organizations where people continually expand their capacity to understand complexity, clarify vision, and improve shared mental models

  • That is, leaders are responsible for creating a culture where learning is rewarded

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Leader as ….. Influence our Customer’s Preferences

  • Suppose your org is an ocean liner and you are the leader. What is your role?

    • The commonest answer, not surprisingly, is “the captain.”

    • Other less common answers include the helmsman, the navigator, the social director (making sure everybody is involved, and communicating)

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The neglected leadership role is … Influence our Customer’s Preferences

  • the designer of the ship.

  • No one has a more sweeping influence than the designer.

  • It does no good for the captain of the ship to say turn starboard 30 deg. when the designer only allowed for 15 deg.

  • Yet NO ONE thinks of the designer when they think of the leader’s new role!!

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Why did no one think of the designer Influence our Customer’s Preferences

  • Lao-tzu: little credit goes to the designer

  • The functions of design are rarely visible

  • Consequences today are the result of work done long ago in the past

  • Design work today will show its consequences long in the future

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What must leaders design? Influence our Customer’s Preferences

  • Policies, strategies, “systems,” organizations, specifically

  • Selection policies

  • Vision strategies

  • Value systems

  • Culture systems

  • Measurement systems

  • Rewards systems

  • Criteria by which excellence will be determined

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And what of Design? Influence our Customer’s Preferences

  • It is an integrative initiative

    • All of the parts must fit together and work well together as a whole under a variety of circumstances

  • The leader must view the firm as a “system” -- Ray Strata

  • Corporate executives must become organizational architects -- Ed Simon

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Gives rise to a new discipline: Business Design Influence our Customer’s Preferences

  • Must loose focus on the P&L statement

  • Look at the long term, instead

  • Have to get away from piecemeal reactions to problems

  • Have to integrate the five component technologies

  • Must integrate vision, values, purpose, systems thinking, and mental models

  • The synergy of the disciplines can propel an organization to major breakthroughs

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First tasks of Business Design Influence our Customer’s Preferences

  • Design the governing ideas--purpose, vision, and core values

  • Building shared vision is important because it fosters a longer-term orientation and an imperative for learning

  • Get the systems thinking going early on

  • Get the concept of mental models and surfacing underlying assumptions going early as well

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Subsequent tasks of Business Design Influence our Customer’s Preferences

  • Design the learning processes

  • Get personal mastery going

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The Leader as Steward Influence our Customer’s Preferences

  • Leaders have a purpose story

    • This is an overarching explanation of why they do what they do

    • how their organizations need to evolve

    • how that evolution is part of something larger

  • Most gifted leaders have a “larger story”

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The Leader as Teacher Influence our Customer’s Preferences

  • First job of leader is to define reality

  • Leader must help people achieve more accurate, more insightful and more empowering views of reality

  • Must view reality at four levels: events, patterns, structures and ultimately a “purpose story”

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Creative Tension Influence our Customer’s Preferences

  • What role does it play in leadership?

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How can such Leaders be Developed?? Influence our Customer’s Preferences

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Time to Choose Influence our Customer’s Preferences

  • Learning or not

  • Systems thinking or not

  • PM or not

  • MM or not

  • SV or not

  • TL or not

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THE END Influence our Customer’s Preferences

That is all, Folks

See you tomorrow