What kinds of resolutions are running around in
your head as one year comes to a close and another
approaches? If you're resolved to start with yourself
when it comes to creating the changes you most want
to see, you may find these stories and resources
|Facing Organizational Uncertainty by Learning How to Learn
Brian Hinken is the long-time
organizational development facilitator for Gerber
Memorial Health Services in Fremont, Michigan, and
the author of the recently published book, The
Learner's Path: Practices for Recovering Knowers.
In a recent conversation with Leverage
Points editor Vicky Schubert, Brian talked about the
personal and organizational benefits of moving from
being a "knower" to being a "learner."
LP: You talk about being a "recovering
knower." How did you come to identify yourself as a
knower and what was the downside of this behavior?
BH: As many people do, I
started "knowing" at a young age. I enjoyed the praise
and recognition I received for my strong performance
in various areas. But when I wasn't successful in
something, I found ways to blame others or to devalue
the activity. For example, when I went to college, I
really wanted to play on the basketball team. I had
done well in high school and went to college with the
expectation of making the team. But I played soccer in
the fall, and when I tried out for the basketball team, I
didn't make it. For years, I explained that
disappointment away with excuses: "Those dumb
coaches had these tryouts when I had a soccer game.
How did they expect me to make the team?"
This pattern continued through graduate school
and into my first few jobs. But as the stakes grew
higher, so did the internal pressure to always know
the right answer and to be the best at whatever I tried.
And this mindset also began to interfere with my ability
to be a leader. So, after a particularly stressful on-the-
job experience, I realized that I had to change--I had to
become a learner.
LP: So, you became more of a learner
when you accepted your limitations?
BH: Yes, but more than that,
acknowledged them publicly. As a knower you get
stuck. You get into a challenging situation in which you
can't possibly know everything and think, "What am I
going to do? How am I going to get past this without
anyone knowing that I'm scared and that I don't dare
admit it?" So you live with your fear, preferring to hide
what you can't do.
In the last 10 years or so, it has become clear to
me how powerful it is to publicly let go of old views you
have of yourself. It allows you to focus on what you can
do, to continually develop in those areas where you
really have strengths.
LP: As we continually develop, aren't we
always seeking knowledge? And as we attain that
knowledge, aren't we becoming knowers all over
BH: There's a big difference between
having knowledge and being a knower. Yes, we
become learners to have knowledge. But I would
define knowledge as an ability to produce your
desired results. You could say it's okay to be a
knower, but not okay to stay a knower. The
constantly changing, so the knowledge that helped
you yesterday may not actually get you the results you
want today. Your knowledge becomes obsolete. And
that's when the dynamic of the knower kicks in: when
we hold onto knowledge that isn't working anymore.
The key difference between having knowledge and
being a knower is a willingness to be influenced. A
learner is always willing to be influenced by new
information or perspectives.
|2008 Pegasus Conference Keynote Presenters
Betty Sue Flowers, Adam Kahane,
Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot, and Peter Senge will lead
the 18th Annual Pegasus
Register by December 31 to get the lowest
Join us at the centrally located Sheraton Hotel in
Boston, Massachusetts, November 17-19, 2008,
and help us build on the extraordinary energy of the
2007 conference experience.
Among those on hand to shape the conversation
will be four truly inspirational thought leaders:
Betty Sue Flowers, director of the
Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum and a
coauthor of Presence: An Exploration of Profound
Change in People, Organizations, and Society
Adam Kahane, a partner in Generon
Reos LLC, and author of Solving Tough
Problems: An Open Way of Talking, Listening, and
Creating New Realities
Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot, a professor
at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and
author of eight books including Respect: An
Exploration and The
Essential Conversation: What Parents and Teachers
Can Learn from Each Other
Peter Senge, author of The Fifth
Discipline, coauthor of Presence, and
founding chair of SoL, the Society for
Individuals register for just $950 through
Teams of 4 or more pay
Call for details at 1-800-272-
|Creative Disruption: A Foundation for Sustainable Change
by Mark Dillard
Contrary to popular opinion, most change
happens in small disruptive shifts, not through
overarching change management programs. A top-
down, structured approach can be useful for
implementing a specific initiative. However, real
transformation occurs when people from within the
organizational ranks open up new avenues of
perspective through their innate capacity for curiosity
and reinvention. "Creative disruption" is the initiation of
small movements that lead to sustainable
You have the capacity to initiate this kind of
change. Starting with yourself, begin to cut a path of
creative disruption. Inquiry and listening, done with
integrity, are contagious. Practice them with a passion
and intensity that will ignite a creative movement
forward across your organization. Here are some
strategies to consider in cutting a path:
Start with You.
Shift your orientation from one of constant reaction to
problems to one of creative possibilities. Ask
yourself, "What can I create from where I am
Look for Opportunities to
Notice dysfunctional processes or systems and step
forward with good intention to ask targeted questions.
Sometimes change takes hold when one person
initiates an exploration.
Build the Capability for Powerful
Design and deliver learning experiences based on
inquiry, listening, and other tools that facilitate the
disruption of systems. Increase awareness of how
our beliefs and assumptions impact our
Create space (literally and figuratively) for people to
have conversations about things that they care about.
Integrate reflective conversation into existing
development and learning programs.
Integrate the Tools of Creative Disruption
Existing Change Programs.
Ensure that key players involved in any large-scale
change are well versed in the skills and tools of
creative disruption. Inquiry will enhance the success
of the change and build organizational capability for
the long term.
Building a Learning Culture in Your Organization?
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by Brian Hinken
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beings ain't a
We're a gem
In the purse
Click here to view Tim's slam
poem from the 2007 Pegasus Conference on the
conference resources page.