20, 2001 Issue 10
thread that binds together the fabric of life
is called relationships. Relationships exist
to challenge us, to teach us, to inspire us,
to guide us and enable us to participate in
the splendor and beauty of life. They offer
us an opportunity to give."
Wendy Luhabe, South African entrepreneur
and keynote speaker at the 2001 Systems Thinking
in Action Conference
business leaders must eventually realize that
they do have a choice. They can choose to either
nurture or destroy humankind's place in the ecosystem.
Business leaders can choose to either fashion
organizations that trespass against nature's pattern
or create organizations that blend harmoniously
and constructively with the rest of nature, thus
enhancing all life."
H. Thomas Johnson and Anders Bröms
in "Profit Beyond Measure"
Register by April 27th and save $300!
year, the premier conference in systems thinking
and management innovation focuses on "Harnessing
the Power of Organizational Complexity." Featured
speakers include South African entrepreneur
Wendy Luhabe, who
in 1999 was honored as one of the 50 Leading
Women Entrepreneurs in the World;
Peter Senge, author of The Fifth Discipline;
conflict and stress management specialist Thomas
Crum; executive development coach Greg
H. Kim, cofounder of the former MIT Center
for Organizational Learning and Pegasus Communications;
Managers today, faced with information overload,
need to know which organizational processes
can help them sort through all the data and
to acquire the knowledge they need to guide
their actions. They need the skills to gather
human knowledge from all corners of an organization.
They need the wisdom to anticipate and defuse
unintended consequences before problems result.
The 11th Systems Thinking in Action Conference
will help you navigate through the potential
hazards of organizational complexity and realize
the rewards of harnessing its energy, depth,
and richness. Bringing together the best minds
in systems thinking, management innovation,
and organizational design and development, the
conference will break new ground in discovering
the ways organizations can power into the future.
Past participants have said, "After attending
this event for five years, I still find it an
exciting push for the next cutting edge."
For more information about this exciting event
or to register, visit the Conference
Web site or contact the Conference Department
at 1-800-272-0945 or 1-802-862-0095.
Team discounts are available.
11-12, Society for
Organizational Learning's Sustainability Core
Course, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Society for Organizational Learning (SoL) is offering
a new programthe Sustainability Core Coursein
partnership with Harley-Davidson Motor Company.
Open to the public, this program outlines principles
for developing a sustainable business coupled
with principles of the learning organization.
Faculty for the course include Joe Laur and Sara
Schley, founding partners of SEED Systems, and
Peter Senge. For more information, go to the SoL
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Points on the Web
To subscribe or unsubscribe, please go to our
Drastic Layoffs Don't Always Pay Off
What Are Some Tools to Help People Shift from a Short-Term to a
Long-Term Perspective? and Reader Response to Introducing Group Bonuses
Integrating Organizational Learning and Knowledge Management: From
an Interview with Peter Senge
Drastic Layoffs Don't Always Pay Off
to be a trend today for how companies handle the challenges of efficiency
and profitability. But according to Gary Chaison, professor of industrial
relations at Clark University's Graduate School of Management in
Worcester, MA, layoffs can have lasting negative consequences for
In the process of shedding workers, management eliminates valuable
assets. Chaison always reminds his students that a company invests
significant time and money to recruit, select, train, and motivate
workers. Given this level of investment, it makes little sense to
then let these workers go. In fact, a company's financial difficulties
seldom lie in excess staffing; success depends more often on a company's
competition, how it's marketing itself globally, and what business
models it's putting forward.
what companies hope to gain in short-term benefitslower
costs in anticipation of industry slowdowns or quick profits to
backfires over the long run. A company breaks its social contract
with workers by laying them off. Employees' feelings of betrayal,
resentment, and dislocation can affect their productivity. In addition,
those who remain are likely to be less loyal and innovative than
before and more likely to seek new employment opportunities.
How can we stop
the spiral of layoffs that has become part of today's management
strategy? Chaison says employers have to recognize the downside
that layoffs seldom save companies. To do so, they must ultimately
change their assumptions about how a company survives and thrives
in the new economy.
There a Downside to Downsizing? A Q&A with Professor Gary Chaison
on a New Corporate Trend," The MetroWest Daily News, Sunday,
February 11, 2001
Readers who wish to discuss this topic are invited to go to
Most of our organizations and societal structures are oriented
toward short-term fixes, without taking the long-term implications
into account. What are some specific tools or methods we can use to
help people shift their approach from a short-term to a long-term
Please take a minute to share your thoughts about this issue in the
Selected comments will be shared in a future issue of LEVERAGE POINTS.
FROM ISSUE #9
Team Bonus Program
I am a consultant in Zurich and currently in contact with a fairly
large hospital in Europe that wants to introduce a group-bonus program
to honor interdisciplinary team efforts (e.g., doctors, nurses, technical
personnel in operating rooms). Does anyone have field experience on
Consider giving 25% (or so) of a team bonus to an individual member
of a team who contributed most to fostering the team's dynamics. This
person will be chosen by members of the teamnot
by some management "outsider." They will determine not the individual
who "did more" or "produced more," but the one who, for this period
of time, fostered the team synergies more. Timing-wise, distribute
this "individualistic" bonus along with the team bonus. Encourage
the group, but recognize the catalysts in the group and those striving
to be catalysts.
David L. Hanson, Ph.D.
Synergistic Psychology Associates, P.A.
administrative director of the AIDS Center at Montefiore Medical Center
with a multidisciplinary team of over 50 healthcare professionals
serving over 1,700 adult HIV-infected patients, I have an interest
in your query. In our setting, however, we are constrained because
some of our team members are under union contract, which prohibits
bonuses. This contract does not apply to management or physicians.
What we have done is to offer team retreats (all expenses paid) and
provide a generous reimbursement policy regarding team members' professional
conference expenses. Obviously, this is not sufficient. I would welcome
Readers who wish to view the complete responses to this question or
to continue this discussion are invited to go to the Healthcare
Community Forum. Selected comments will be shared in a future
issue of LEVERAGE POINTS.
Integrating Organizational Learning and Knowledge Management:
From an Interview with Peter Senge
by Lauren Keller Johnson
business world, some observers claim that "knowledge management"
is the wave of the future; others think that it's an idea whose time
has passed. But there's been little discussion of how knowledge management
may coordinate with and support existing corporate initiatives, such
as organizational learning.
According to Peter
Senge, author of The Fifth Discipline, knowledge management
historically consisted of capturing, storing, and retrieving information.
But knowledge is less a thing than a process; it is "the capacity
for effective action." Senge says that knowledge is "generated"
when someone learns to do something better; when that person shares
these new learnings with others, who then also improve their effectiveness,
knowledge gets "diffused." These two processes occur most
frequently in informal settingsthrough the interactions of people
as they do their work. Thus, we can think of knowledge management
as ways in which we enable and enhance the generation and diffusion
of new learning, in other words, how working teams transform their
capabilities in order to produce desired outcomes.
How does organizational
learning fit in? Its emphasis on improving learning capabilities supports
internal networks where knowledge gets diffusedin functioning
effectively. It also helps managers overcome impediments to knowledge
management, such as cultural differences, competition, and information
hoarding. Knowledge management, in turn, can expand the focus of organizational
learning from small groups to larger networks. Integrated together,
the two have the potential to support large-scale change in our organizations.
Read the complete
source article or see LEVERAGE, No. 34, October 1999.
wish to discuss this topic are invited to the Knowledge
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