Empowered entrepreneurs

Some entrepreneurs are empowered learners. They learn from their customers and changing market. They make sense of their rivals' maneuvers and what's being written about them. They exhibit a sense of adventure and gamesmanship that plays with happenstance. This outlook enables them to take things in stride, utilize their setbacks as lessons and enjoy the challenges they are facing. Venture capitalists are reportedly thrilled when they encounter proposals with these obvious signs of continual learning by the founders.

Most entrepreneurs are not empowered learners. They assume they know enough about their customers and market. They ignore valuable lessons, disregard their rivals and get devastated by setbacks. They exhibit signs of powerlessness in spite of having gone into business for themselves. By thinking "I can't" and failing to learn from what happens, they contribute to the staggering failure rate of start-ups.

Yesterday I was a guest blogger on Joe Hauckes' Working at Home on the Internet. I explored how blogging makes it much easier to learn from customers than small businesses that are relying on complaints and feedback forms. With the right tools making the job easier, it seems likely that more entrepreneurs will act like empowered learners. Their start-ups will thrive and their customers will be satisfied.

In most cases, the better tools are not enough of a change for entrepreneurs to start acting empowered. Powerlessness is usually addicting and self perpetuating. Self sabotage is deeply subconscious and defiant of mentors, rescuers and counselors. The victim stories poison personal ambitions and optimism. Learning is prohibited by their deep-seated strategy for finding safety, staying out of danger and avoiding reenactments of previous traumatic incidents.

At this subconscious level, powerlessness is a solution, not a problem. When mistreated by a pathological diagnosis, the powerlessness persists. The resistance to change is a form of cooperation that signals the immediate need to understand, allow and accept the solution in use. The resistance tells us to stop negating the powerlessness.

Trauma is stored in the body and the amygdaloidal portion of the brain. Our neurophysiology is imprinted to be hypervigilant about that kind of danger we've encountered. We live in the past so we don't mistake the enemy for an ally again, and don't foolishly fall in the same trap of false promises. This part of our mind is like a seismic recorder. It remembers personal history like it just happened -- in order to improve our chances for survival. It overrides rational thinking with strong urges, self-sabotaging reactions and panic attacks.

When all this subconscious trauma is understood, immediate dangers can be reassessed. Paranoia and suspicions can be reality tested. Crippling fears can be put in the enlivening context of more recent experiences with success, efficacy, admiration and respect. New and old solutions can be compared for finding safety, avoiding danger, and preventing reenactments of trauma. Choices get considered that were previously inconceivable. The victim story finds closure. The facts of life about limitations, dangers and cruel fate -- get revised. A preferred narrative replaces the chronic tale of woe and persecution.

When seen this way, we don't really empower other people. We help them find their own power, freedom and choices. When we see their powerlessness as a solution, we help their self-sabotage feel understood. That creates a far-from-equilibrium situation where personal transformation and renewal occur


Content for our consideration

The content of this blog is offered for your consideration. The blog feeds I choose to subscribe to are there for my consideration. All blogs are offering content for our consideration. We consider what we read as giving us more to consider, not telling us what to think or submit to.

What we are reading in blogs is miscellaneous, as David Weinberger uses the term. We know it's a point of view that considers us all having varied viewpoints. We are not purporting to announce "one right answer", "my way or the highway" or "my expertise overrules all your clueless contradictions".

This consideration of our context allows for the content we offer getting tagged in many different ways, linked inside of all kinds of postings and found via a vast variety of searches. By being considerate of this context for our content, what we say in our blogs enters into our collective wisdom. It's filed under miscellaneous and accessed by each person's reasons to consider it. We enrich each other's understanding by putting it out there. Instead of each of us getting it right from books, we are collectively getting it appreciated from outlooks.

This is a big change from offering inconsiderate content. Official truths, policies and categories are not offered for our consideration. There is no discussion that can alter the facts. The structure is provided for acceptance without question, adoption without whining, and adherence without critiques. "Rocks are hard; water is wet. Any questions?"

This change to offering considerate content is deep. We are changing the premises for educating, employing and entertaining us. We are developing contexts for mutual benefit instead of delivering inconsiderate content.


Learning to be effective

After proposing an eventual M.Ed in Informal Learning last month, I created a new category on this blog: affecting learners to explore one facet of this competency. Since then I've explored four facets of pedagogical effects on learners:
Having effects on others can only be learned by feedback. We can only answer the question "How did I do?" if the people "we did it to" will tell us how we did. Knowing about the effect is almost entirely unrelated to having the actual effect. Trying to be effective with good intentions, clear concepts and articulate explanations "puts the cart before the horse".

We can learn by discovering what effect we're having, what change in effect occurs when we change our approach and what different effects occur among different learners. One way to learn from feedback is a scorecard that gets annotated by the learners we are affecting. Electronic voting systems can be polled with these scales also.

To use these metrics, the learners need to become "informed consumers". Power needs to be given to them to judge the effects on them precisely. We need to accept the increased accountability implied by measuring up to these standards.

We have an Academic Effect on learners when we make them dependent on our power, controls or authority. They will feel damaged in the ways I described in Asking to be kidnapped. When we have a Pedagogical Effect, the learners will be more curious, self confident, self motivated and creative.

We have a Hypocritical Effect when we contradict what we say with how we act, react or decide to respond. We lose our credibility as it becomes obvious that we cannot be taken at our word or trusted to provide an example worthy of imitation. When we have a Productive Effect, the learners have followed our example, tried out what they saw us do and now get the same results we produce.

We have a Controlling Effect when we trash the relationships with the learners. We may complain about them or blame them as if we have no effect on them. We may criticize, bribe or disgrace them in order to subdue their adversarial tactics. When we have a Relationship Effect, we are getting everyone understood. We are speaking their minds.

We have an Isolating Effect when we disregard the glaring disconnects. We fail to tie things together or develop context of their uses for the learning. The educational experience appears to have no relevant connections and we appear unrelated to the learners. When we have a Network Effect, the vast number of connections bring about emergent outcomes. Small efforts are amplified into big repercussions and the results we want fall into place easily.

By making ourselves accountable in these ways, the learners will show more respect to us, get more value from us and do more learning on their own in the future.


Resistance is a form of cooperation

When it's our intention to get everyone understood, we're on the right track. People will buy-in to the change we're promoting without a big sales pitch. The "tough sell" will become easy. The people who are feeling understood will sell themselves on following through on the change. It make sense to them on their own terms. They will tag the change we want as: "useful", "in my favor", "good for us" or "needed improvement".

Instead of overcoming the resistance, we see the resistance as a sign of what is misunderstood or not-yet-understood. It helps us get everyone understood when people start whining, complaining, objecting and opposing the change. We see what other issues to address or reconsider.

When it's our intention to get everyone understood, we are coming from a place of inclusion. We're acting like "we're all in this together". We represent the idea that there is no winning at other's expense; only everybody wins or everybody loses in this. We convince people with our actions and act on our principle of mutual respect.

When people feel understood, they do not need to get attention in hopes of getting understood. There's no need for further whining. When there's no need to get attention, there's also no urge to get even for not getting enough attention. The use of resistance as retaliation vanishes. Meanwhile, when people feel understood, they feel inclined to understand others. They open up to other viewpoints. The change they opposed becomes understandable.

Lots of people cannot adopt the intention to get everyone understood. They appear to have high control needs, low tolerance of ambiguity and lots of fears. They experience a crisis when someone else is right. They cannot handle contradictions gracefully. They have the effect on other's of making them feel misunderstood, wronged, blamed or stupid.

When Steve de Shazer first proposed that "resistance is a form of cooperation", his idea met resistance. The idea appeared to not understand therapists, social workers and change agents who take resistance literally. It made those people wrong who make other people wrong. It handed out "a taste of their medicine" to those who cannot intend to get everyone understood.

The resistance to seeing resistance as a form of cooperation taught me a big lesson. No amount of refining the intended change will get it right. Only getting everyone understood works. Misunderstand people and we miss out on changes falling into place. Get the message in the resistance and we get the change accepted easily.


Two kinds of experts

Roger McPherson left a wonderful comment on Experts will fade away yesterday. First he challenges the proposition that improved information access is the determining factor in the decline of our reliance on experts:

But I do not agree that access to information solely made or makes an expert. The world is vast and the body of human knowledge grows exponentially. History is expanding in both directions, as we become able to peer deeper into our past and more extensively document our present. Scientific knowledge has exploded. Our understanding of the very small and the very big is expanding in both directions.

I agree the information explosion makes us more reliant on someone who is willing to focus his/her curiosity, time and energies into one facet of this enlarging expanse of knowledge. People with a cursory understanding are of little use to us. We need to rely on others' depth of understanding as well as our collective breadth of insights.

Yet this explosion of information also renders experts obsolete, clueless and unreliable. A physician cannot keep current in all the developments in each disease s/he treats. A managing editor cannot make wise choices about the content of every story in the magazine or newspaper under her/his privileged eye. The experts contributing to a encyclopedia cannot keep up with the staggering rate of innovation in our world.

It's the long tail of unique contributors, users, gamers and participants that get the job done right. The patient with the disease can research the latest research as well as the archive of past solutions created by experts. The citizen journalist can aggregate the RSS feeds and searches on a particular story of interest. The encyclopedia can emerge from a mass collaboration, argumentation and dispute resolution dynamic. The experts cannot provide the best choice at the right time for each vested interest, only the stuff that becomes useful when it's found, aggregated and put to the test of actual deployment.

Roger continues:

Experts are individuals with certain talents, which they have developed, that dedicate their lives to gaining a deep understanding of a particular subject area. The more unfettered access to information has made it easier for a person with the requisite talents and development to become and maintain expertise in a given field, but it does not facilitate an individual, lacking those requisite talents and development, to become expert in that field.

I think there will always be individuals who are driven to gain a deep understanding of a subject area, and when they do so, others will rely on them because they do not have another lifetime to become as knowledgeable as the expert.
The same is true in art. The virtuoso performer is an expert that has dedicated his life to the mastery of his art.

It takes something, that we don't all have, to succeed in starting a business, designing effective instruction, performing a violin solo or healing a chronic health condition. It's very possible to fail, merely go through the motions or make a condition worse. It takes experimentation and experience, combined with concepts and models to understand and reformulate solutions. As Roger is saying, it depends on a commitment that remains sufficiently focused and productive.

This is helping me discern two kinds of experts:

  • grandiose or humbled
  • in silos or networked
  • controlling us or contributing to us
Some experts are having lots of trouble with our increasingly unlimited access to digitized information. They fear a sharp decline in quality brought on by amateurs, dilettantes, wanna-be's and hypocrites. They idealize their own exclusivity and demonize the citizenry as "superficial snackers". Other experts "float all the boats", share their expertise, and welcome the unforeseen diversity of uses. They value the end use, look through the eyes of their customers and develop context for their specialized content. In this light, only the grandiose, controlling experts will fade away.

Technorati tags: , ,


Experts will fade away

David Weinberger's new book: Everything is Miscellaneous is choc full of great ideas. Weinberger has wonderful insights and background stories into the development of taxonomies. We've been forced up until now to categorize the world based on physical limitations. We are now becoming free to lump everything together as "miscellaneous".

There are numerous advantages to dropping our familiar labels, distinctions and rules for sorting stuff.When we stored information on paper, the physical limitations of paper necessitated some of us becoming experts. We relied on their eyeballs to see the pieces of paper with the right information on it. We also relied on their brains to make sense of what they read, to apply the information to problems and to function effectively in our world. The well-read experts became authorities by the particular pieces of paper their eyeballs scanned. They held power over us because we could not find, access and utilize those same pieces of paper without taking huge amounts of time and incurring great expense. Command and control structures arose to cultivate and maintain the power that was centralized by information being stored on paper.

We're now storing information in bits. What we need to know is everywhere all the time. Instead of needing to know where to find it, we can locate it easily. It's filed under "miscellaneous". Each location has countless cross references, tags and links that create more ways to find it.

Our need for experts is fading away. Centralized command and control systems are losing buy-in from their markets or citizenry. The information that was so difficult to find, access and utilize -- is becoming ubiquitous. The category of "expert" is losing its meaning. The need to pay for "privileged access" is losing commercial viability. We're becoming a free information society all over the globe.


Gravitating toward change

Every situation has an underlying structure. We speak of this as "the gravity of the situation". We get a feeling for the convex or concave shape of things beneath the superficial evidence. We get sense of what is called for in a situation from this underlying structure.

There are two purposes that any underlying structure pursues. One is to maintain and replicate itself by stabilizing the situation. This occurs when the structure is concave and near equilibrium. The other is to reinvent and transform itself by disrupting the situation. This spontaneity happens when the structure is convex and far from equilibrium.

Lasting change is always aligned with the gravity of the situation. When change efforts go against the gravity in the structure, the situation regresses to it's previous condition -- once our ambitious struggling stops. Change efforts are like our pushing a ball uphill, swinging a pendulum or stretching a rubber band. The temporary movement is only proportionate to our change efforts. The attempt at change amounts to a mere oscillation: "plus le change, plus le meme chose".

When change efforts go with the gravity of the structure, the situation self-organizes into a new condition. It's like pushing a ball downhill, releasing a flock of pigeons or offering a free Web 2.0 tool online. The change is disproportionate to the small initial effort. A little push creates a landslide or avalanche of change. The aftermath is a whole new ball game.

Making change happen is doomed to failure. Letting change happen is destined to succeed. The gravity of the situation determines the outcome and does almost all the work.

The underlying structure of a situation morphs from concave to convex with an increase in shared understanding. It takes very little understanding to maintain a stable situation. The shortage of understanding keeps any change coming back to "the way it's always been done around here". A surplus of understanding evokes the self-organizing potential of the situation.

Understanding in situation is increased by social networking and blogging. It's built up by participation in communities, conversations and collaborations. Understanding adds up when someone else speaks our mind or pulls for our learning. A surplus of understanding is created by giving everyone change models to comprehend their situation -- like I'm doing right now.


Conducive for changing

Have you ever worked for a small start-up that changed every day as it attracted new customers and hired on new staff? Can you contrast that with big organizations that defies needed changes? Have you ever dated someone that often changed to make you happy and then one day decided to stop accommodating you? Have you ever changed your own conduct with ease when you were mentored by someone who really cared about you? Have you also become stuck in your ways when told in some training class or policy memo that "you have to change or face the consequences"?

The differences between changing easily and no changes can be explained by the atmosphere created. It depends on the people with power and influence, what they are doing and where they are coming from. The atmosphere can be conducive for changing or make desired changes almost impossible. Change the atmosphere, and the desired changes will fall into place more easily.

The atmosphere around creatives, artists and inventors is very conducive for changing. Their playing with options, solutions and scenarios supports the consideration of a change. Thinking outside the box and asking what-if questions makes it easier to go out on the skinny branches.

The atmosphere around prosecutors, spies and vigilantes works against changing. People are put on the defensive and guarded against costly exposure. Thinking about penalties, retribution or termination extinguishes the necessary optimism for changing.

Experimenters, explorers and pilot programs create a supportive atmosphere for changing. Finding out what works, trying different approaches and discovering unforeseen alternatives -- nurtures others' personal exploration of their proposed change.

Manufacturers, distributors and protectors of industries eviscerate the possibilities of changing. Too much is already a given, "business as usual" and a "cost of doing business" to seriously explore alternatives. "If it's not broken, don't fix it" overrules changing.

Subjective interpretations, playful metaphors and post modern critiques encourage changing. The rampant valuing of diversity and cultural expressions creates an atmosphere conducive for breaking out of the mold.

Objective measures, scientific analyses and normative evaluations undermine desired changes. The mood created by one right answer, by-the-book interpretations and "bad mistakes" makes changing appear foolhardy.

Empathy, diplomatic efforts and shows of concern create conducive atmospheres. The sensitivity to other agendas, outlooks and constraints opens the dialogue about a desired change.

Battles, arguments and attacks on other's positions weakens the chances for changing. Under siege, we naturally dig in our heels, antagonize our opponents and defy their pressures to change us.

When thinking about getting teachers to adopt technologies in their classrooms,(see Pete Reilly's Logic Does Not Apply) -- consideration of the atmosphere suggests several alternatives:

  1. Start out with a fun collaboration that creates the conducive atmosphere among the people who are facing the change
  2. Start small so the conducive atmosphere comes from the intimate conversations among the few people involved
  3. Start with free-thinkers who bring the atmosphere with them and set the right tone from the start
  4. Start with a session to have each participant aware of contrasting atmospheres and the effects on changing that occur, in order to troubleshoot flare-ups in resistance to change and breakdowns in change efforts.

Changing comfort zones

When we picture a personal change as "leaving our comfort zone", we feel threatened. We want to hole up in our tree, stick to our routines and justify our reliable habits. We may appear obstinate, neglectful or clueless to others. We don't care. When others are against us and forcing us to change, the safest place to hide is our very secure, comfort zone. Hmm!

When we are out of our comfort zone, we are out of our tree. Oops! We've lost our grip. We're blushing with embarrassment, stammering when we try to speak and going blank in our minds. Nothing works like it should. We're making fools of ourselves. We cannot stop making mistakes, feeling insecure, or causing problems. We get back in our tree -- ASAP.

After enough episodes of falling out of our tree, we get comfortable with what we cannot do. We accept our shortcomings, know our weaknesses and live with our limitations. Getting holed up in our tree does not feel confining, it seems realistic. We face the facts we have learned from vivid experiences of being out of our comfort zone.

At this point in our adventure, we cannot see the forest for the trees. Our narrow perspective disregards our next comfort zone. We only know about our safety and how it feels to be out of our tree. We are staying out of trouble, avoiding mistakes and succeeding as best we we know how.

Sometimes the weather changes in the forest. We get the feeling it's safe to go out on those skinny branches. It appears we can learn from our mistakes without embarrassing ourselves. We find we can take risks and learn from our awkward experiences. The situation has changed to a supportive environment that nurtures growth and experimentation. We start venturing out, exploring and discovering new territory.

We get into some trouble. Oh-oh! We back off and try again. We see how far we can go. We get good at testing our limits and discovering our new abilities. Out on one of those skinny branches, we discover another skinny branch below. We make the leap and land in another tree. Hee-Haw!

We learn our way around this new tree. We develop new routines and ways to succeed here. We find our way to a new comfort zone. We get holed up in the comfy new tree. Hmm! Some say we're transformed. We think we're just trying new things and learning as we go.


More creativity in your presence

If you're learning from this, you're being creative. Making sense of new information is creating links, frameworks or containers in your own mind. You may have been given this information, but you are fabricating how it ties it into to your own network of memorable experiences.

If you wonder where creative ideas and inspired actions come from, you're being creative. With a picture of being open to receive what comes to you, you are in a frame of mind to get more creative. More experiences of vast possibilities and "freedom right now" will fall into place.

If you're thinking this experience is like something else, you're being creative. It will occur to you to use a metaphor to describe this. You will compare how this happens to other processes and see parallels between different ways this functions for you.

If you see learning happening to you, you're being creative. When you notice how insights dawn on your mind or come as sudden realizations, you'll experience this more often. You'll stop trying so hard to learn something and simply let it occur to you.

If you're feeling fluid, you're being creative. You will see others providing openings to pour yourself into. You will get more ways to express yourself, respond to others and share your gifts for other's benefit.

If you're moved by what shows up in your world, you're being creative. You will observe synchronicities that are showing you what's missing, overlooked or excluded by you. You'll receive better ideas, questions and hypotheses to explore when you're idle, daydreaming or awakening from sleep.

If you're grateful for what you're given to say, see and think about, you're being creative. You will find yourself basking in the flow of happenstance. One good thing after another will occur to you easily.

When you are being creative like this, others will become creative too. You will be affecting learners to learn more informally by amplifying their creative resources to freely explore, relate, discover and collaborate.


Changing the change agents

An aerospace client of mine asked me to meet with their internal change agents. I asked them lots of questions and sought their troubled perspectives. The change agents told me they felt like "punching bags". They were caught in the middle between higher ups who wanted to change the culture and the rank & file who resisted getting changed by management. The change agents caught flak for not making the changes happen faster and for trying to make the changes happen at all.

Michelle Martin recently experienced a similar situation in her training session with change agents showing signs of learned helplessness:

I think what bothers me the most is that I'm sitting in a room with people who are supposed to be helping the disempowered and disenfranchised, yet they are just as disempowered as the people they're trying to help! They don't even really pretend that there's something they can do. They just feel defeated from the get-go.

Most disempowered professionals I've coached don't consciously realize how they lost their sense of "can-do" and "can-make-a-difference". They are doing the best they can in their own minds. Once they are aware of how they are getting disempowered in their relationships, they can make the necessary changes for themselves. Meanwhile they are caught up in a spiral, going nowhere quickly and becoming more convinced that no change is possible.

One way I make disempowerment conscious is to prescribe it. People realize what they are caught up inside of when I make it clear how to keep it going intentionally. It's helpful to prescribe everything that is going wrong in their jobs, outcome measures and meetings. It's more powerful to prescribe the breakdowns in their relationships. Here's an example:

First consider the vast panorama of all your relationships. You have relationships with family members (spouse, children, parents, siblings). You're in relationships at work (higher ups, colleagues, subordinates, customers, suppliers, etc). You've developed some other relationships (friends, mentors, neighbors, community members, professionals).

Next think of how these relationships differ. Some are superficial and others are very significant. Some have little effect on you and others touch you deeply. Most can be allowed to have their ups and downs and a few devastate you when they breakdown.

Lastly, consider how the significant relationships in your life can convince you that you cannot change what happens to you or help others change their lives. Which of the following are you telling yourself based on your irrefutable experiences?

  1. I cannot get understood, get people to see my side of things, get others to grasp my concerns.
  2. I cannot close the distance between us, find some common ground, get on the same page about some crucial issues.
  3. I cannot strike a fair deal, share the sacrifices, benefit equally and avoid getting ripped off or exploited.
  4. I cannot speak my mind without getting in trouble, getting told to stop thinking that way, or getting micromanaged.
  5. I cannot escape getting blamed, labeled as a traitor, guilt-tripped or falsely accused of neglect, indifference and malicious intentions.
  6. I cannot get out of this mess, make progress toward my goals, get unstuck from this constant crisis.
  7. I cannot stop getting persecuted, kicked around, stepped on or bullied.
  8. I cannot get evaluated fairly, receive balanced appraisals, or get my strengths appreciated as well as pointing out my weaknesses.
  9. I cannot get others to follow through, honor their commitments, take me seriously.
  10. I cannot earn respect, gain credibility, get trusted or receive validation.
In order to continue getting disempowered, keep telling yourself these things. Keep your significant relationships in a broken state where this happens most of the time. Keep giving others this experience in exchange for receiving this treatment from them. Continue manufacturing convincing evidence that you cannot make a difference and you cannot make changes happen.


Enticing emergent solutions

Most of the solutions to problems with education, governance and the environment can only come about emergently. We cannot make these solutions happen or manufacture remedies that function effectively. The problems are systemic, widespread and multi-leveled. The solutions need to be equally complex and "in network".

Most "make-it-happen" solutions backfire. They do more harm than good by disregarding repercussions. The solutions turn out to be more of a problem than the original problem. The solutions try to make a change happen and make many things worse instead. The solution ends up being too much of a good thing or a good thing gone bad.

Imposed solutions start from a premise of getting someone or something to stop. These solutions are a by-product of binary thinking about problems and solutions. They ignore the fact that the problem has a life of its own. The system that maintains and perpetuates the problem's functionality pushes back to preserve itself whenever we try to make solutions happen.

Emergent solutions fall into place. We only make the space for the solution to come about easily. When we let go of controlling the system, we can trust the inherent processes at work. We do things that defy our rules for staying out of danger. We work with the system that "wants the problem" as it evolves into less desperate means of survival.

Emergent solutions start from a premise of giving "go messages". They give permission to "do your thing", "take your time" and "continue causing trouble". They complicate the binary thinking about problems and solutions. They act as if the problem is a "solution in use" and the imposed solution is a worse problem for the time being. Emergent solutions make paradoxical sense that come about when distinctions vanish.

Don't apply this to any problem you're currently trying to solve. You already know there are countless advantages to making changes happen and getting others to stop what they are doing. You're a clever person who knows how to stay out of trouble. You'll only get into trouble if you merely provide the space for solutions to come about emergently.

Technorati tags: , ,


Cultivating self motivation

Why bother? What's in it for you? How do you find this to be valuable? What difference does it make to you? How do you find the time and energy to pursue this? What does this do for you? What is worthwhile about this for you? How does this satisfy you or fulfill an ambition of yours? What are you getting out of this regardless of the recognition and rewards?

These are questions of intrinsic motivation. When we have great answers to these questions, we experience lots of self-motivation. I suspect that intrinsic motivation is contagious. When we obviously are fulfilled by what we are doing, others catch on and find their inner satisfactions too.

Numerous studies have shown that we lose intrinsic motivation around external rewards. Getting grades cheapens our inspired effort, creative outpouring or personal expression. Getting paid weakens our subsequent initiative to "go the extra mile". Getting gold stars downgrades our exuberance into people pleasing tactics.

I've proposed that cultivating more informal learning will affect learners' self motivation:

Effect on self motivation: The way we come across can free people from seeking approval or make them more needy, dependent and reactive to disapproval. We can restore their intrinsic motivation or dismiss their need to be inspired. They will show signs of doing their own thing with satisfaction or playing our game out of desperation.

One way to cultivate self motivation is to keep the questions of personal satisfaction on each learner's mind. Being allowed to question the value of experiences is rewarding. Being expected to find answers to questions of self motivation disrupts "playing our game out of desperation".

We also cultivate self motivation when we give learner viable choices. They can only make up their mind by going within or second-guessing the authority figure who dispenses external rewards. They can either do what they feel like or what they should choose according to someone else's expectations. As they become familiar with the choice between pleasing themselves and pleasing others, they can realize their intrinsic value.

When we expect others to come to these realizations, becoming self motivated happens faster and more easily. Yet we can only take others as far as we have journeyed ourselves. It takes self-motivation to induce self motivation in others. Cultivating self motivation in learners begins with having your own great answers to the questions at the top of this post.


Underlying relationship problems

Last week, two Colorado entrepreneurs asked me to develop a business model that would utilize their talents (and my own). I've been immersed in the design process and enjoying it immensely. One of the design themes that emerged is the following:

Any obvious problem (with business, education, communication, etc) is the symptom of an underlying relationship problem.

Rather than create an enterprise to fix problems, we are developing a way for relationships to get repaired or restored. When relationships are broken, there are countless opportunities to learn about oneself and the others. There are ways to outgrow past outlooks. We will use processes that change patterns of reacting and interacting.

When the underlying relationship problem is resolved -- the obvious problem vanishes without any expenditure of time, effort or money. An example from the discussion of last's week's Excellent Cheating may be helpful to grasp how problems easily disappear.

When classroom teachers "ask for plagiarism", they maintain broken relationships with their students. The teachers cannot relate to the students' points of view, look through the students' eyes, or support their intentions. The teachers attempt to control perceived misbehavior. Teachers close their minds, misdiagnose the problem, escalate the tensions, and learn nothing in the process. Cheat is not excellent, it's despicable.

Students then feel blamed, criticized, misunderstood and manipulated. The situation provides incentives to retaliate, create difficulties, oppose the power structure and sacrifice shared goals. Problems with plagiarism abound.

When the underlying relationship is restored, plagiarism vanishes. Teachers look through the students' eyes and see how plagiarism has been requested and rewarded. The teachers relate to the students' desires for "games worth playing". Teachers learn to stop assigning submittals that can be outsourced and plagiarized. Teachers open their minds to ways learning really happens. Students are engaged in expressing their own viewpoint, making decisions that have consequences, and experimenting with their own actions to discover the best approach. Their submittals are unique, heartfelt and records of personal experiences.

Students then feel valued, nurtured, guided and understood. The situation provides incentives to relate, create common ground, collaborate with authority figures and work toward common goals. Cheating makes no sense. Plagiarism vanishes.

When relationships are healthy, learning occurs. Differences become lessons. Changes occur to support the relationship. Everyone involved says they are growing from the experience. Solutions are found that abandon the obvious problems.

Technorati tags: , ,


The effects of blogging on communities

In my experience, blogging is "delightfully disruptive". The bloggers I read regularly disturb what I was already thinking, raise new questions in my mind and send me off pondering in unforeseen directions. There are days where this abundance of great thinkers is like "drinking from a fire hose". Since last February, I've been emailing myself posts to contemplate at a later date. That strategy works great to manage the flow and "drink from a garden hose" instead.

My own writing for my blogs is equally disruptive. I'm saying things I never said before, discovering new outlooks in the process of formulating what to write and how to express it. Yesterday Tony Karrer got me thinking about the effects of blogging on communities. Of course I considered this in terms of a taxonomy of four kinds of communities. I also made sense of the different effects I see in terms of my own experience of blogging being delightfully disruptive.

Communities of collusion: In "The Different Drum - Community Making and Peace", M. Scott Peck described a phase of community building he called "pseudocommunity". This is the most common kind of community I see inside corporations, institutions and academia. These "communities of collusion" practice "thought control" and " enforced collusion". They function like brainwashed cults that think alike and stifle dissent. They maintain a policy enforcement context I described previously. These communities admire the "Emperor's non-existent new clothes" and shoot the messenger who says otherwise. The higher ups would likely shut down blogs among pseudocommunity members. Blogs would appear to be a "waste of time" or a "deviation from teamwork". The "powers that be" don't know what they're missing -- literally!

Communities of practice: Gatherings of practitioners bring out the "unconscious competence" and "tacit knowledge" of its members. The discovery of their own viable shortcuts, useful heuristics and valuable "tricks of the trade" need to be captured for others to use. Blogging could bring out the expertise of its members like listservs and F2F meetings have done for years. Blogs could also serve as archives of the emergent best practices, but a wiki does this better. Blogs are not this focused by their very nature. Forcing blogs to benefit CoP's makes only partial sense.

Communities of ideas: Blogging is ideally suited for communities of ideas. The exuberant diversity of bloggers fuels the emergence of better possibilities, questions, strategies and collaborations. Visionaries come together with others "in the trenches", synthesizing pragmatic upgrades to current practices. Rethinking, reframing, and renewing are the stock in trade of these robust combinations of RSS feed subscriptions, comments and trackbacks utilized.

Communities of process: There are countless group processes that elicit the contributions of each member: open space, future search, world cafe, etc. The personal realizations that occur by convening biases together need to be "harvested" as Chris Corrigan calls it. Blogging seems ideal to me for capturing the thoughts and changed outlooks of each participant. The expectation that each blogger be unique, share her/his perspective and contribute to the whole -- fits the nature of blogging. The ability to combine the feeds and digitally reconvene the group allows for maintaining contact, delayed realizations and continuing dialogues after the members have returned home.

In short, the type of community has a significant impact on the range of beneficial effects from blogging that can be realized.


Transforming other professionals

What do the following professionals have in common?

  • Classroom teachers going through a textbook chapter by chapter

  • Trainers going through a lengthy handout before the break for phone calls and snacks

  • Conference presenters going thought their large file of Powerpoint slides in a darkened meeting room

  • CLO's (Chief Learning Officers) going though long usage reports from their LMS (Learning Management System) to identify employees "out of compliance" with mandatory requirements
a) Allegiance to "old school" paradigms and the "comand and control" delivery of content

b) Professional stagnation necessitated by their acting over or under responsible -- as a defense against getting blamed by others

c) Defensive reactions to perceived threats from advocates for systemic change, technology integration and learner empowerment

d) Loss of credibility among learners empowered by their rapid adoption of new technologies, immersion in game play experiences, and social networking with Web 2.0 technologies

e) None of the above

f) All of the above

Which change interventions will backfire and make their situation worse?

a) Making enemies of the professionals and demonizing their conduct

b) Taking issue with their effects on learners and lack of responsibility for the long term outcomes of their instructional strategies

c) Giving the professionals memorable experiences of being wrong, stupid, incompetent and misguided

d) Playing games with them where they can only lose, get disoriented and feel inadequate

e) None of the above

f) All of the above

Which change interventions will transform the professionals' outlook, conduct and effects on other learners?

a) Speaking their minds or playing "peek a boo" with their intentions, ambitions and priorities

b) Giving them "permission to persist" with their own stabilized beliefs until a different alternative makes more sense

c) Prescribing their hidden assumptions until they realize where they are coming from and what messages they are sending

d) Get in their corner and help them serve their customers, make a bigger difference and get more respect

e) None of the above

f) All of the above


Excellent cheating

Will Richardson recently revealed how many educators consider technology to be the devil:
Recently, in the middle of a presentation to about 500 teachers, one woman raised her hand and said something along the lines of "Look, I'm not the most technologically savvy, but I have to tell you that in a lot of ways I think all this technology is the devil. I mean my kids plagiarize stuff left and right, they don't learn how to spell because of spell check, and I just think we'd be better off without it." And a number of people applauded.
Jennifer Wagner wrote an antidote to the widespread demonizing of iPods in classroom education. Patrick Higgins provided context to the "Liverpool High School 1:1 laptop failure" reported in the New York Times. All these anti-technology teachers' fears of students cheating, plagiarizing and shortchanging their own educations -- are coming true.
These teachers are misreading their situations. They don't see how they appear to their students. These teachers don't realize the subtext of what they are saying when they give out assignments, oppose technologies and define problems with students "cheating".
Students have become sophisticated consumers of meaningful challenges. They welcome an authentic hurdle that makes them think, problem solve or experiment. It's obvious to them when a challenge is bogus, derivative or menial. The obstacle lacks meaning, significance or a narrative context. Students have a low tolerance for "going through the motions" because their technology-saturated lives are filled with real challenges and successes.
Students recognize "the game being played" in new situations. They figure out the rules of the game by messing around and then realize ways to win. They also know a "stupid game" when they see one. The rules don't make sense, the rewards are unfair and the tasks are absurd. The smart thing to do with a stupid game is cheat or bail - not play by the rules for no good reason.
Students expect grown-ups to provide great challenges and games to explore. They rely on older people to be clever, ingenious and slightly devious. Students want to be misled, set-up and ambushed. The challenges become more intriguing and engaging when they are far from obvious. Trying to cheat the game inspires designers to out-think the gamers, not frame the gamers as "missing the point" or "lacking aptitudes".
Teacher still assign research papers and oppose copying from the Web. Classroom instructors continue to give closed-book tests of perishable, short-term memory. Teachers still expect students to learn "because I said so" or "because it's required".
This sends a loud, subtext message to these sophisticated consumers of meaningful challenges. It's as-if the teacher is saying:
  1. This is a bogus challenge that's designed to diminish your curiosity and creativity. Please don't think about the pseudo-value of this challenge to you. Don't approach the useless exercise or flawed course design as the actual problem to solve. Don't see through this scam or find solutions among yourselves that I'll be clueless to comprehend.
  2. I'm pretending the web does not exist. I'm assuming you do not have successes every day where you easily find what you're looking for online. I expect you to experience information as a scarce resource that's difficult to find and disconnected from other sources. You are required to play along with me.
  3. This is a stupid game to play that deserves your contempt. I'm cheating you out of an authentic learning experience so please return the favor and cheat your way out of this stupid game.
  4. I'm a pathetic game designer. I have no idea how to add a narrative dimension to the challenges. I can only be blatantly obvious and boring. It's left to you to show me how to be devious, ingenious and clever in hopes I might learn what you know.
Cheating will be the ruin of bogus exercises. Cheating will force learning to become game like. Karl Kapp is showing us way to respond to these challenges posed by plagiarism, hacking and social networking by students. Learning will become a fulfilling adventure as it already is outside of classrooms.
Technorati tags: , ,


Speak their minds

Those of us with a passion for change inadvertently create conflicts. We oppose those who want stability. Our opposition appears stagnant to us and we appear disruptive to them. It does not matter if we care about technology integration, transformed pedagogies or empowered learners, we are making enemies and starting wars.

Sun Tzu, in "The Art of War", advises us to "know the enemy and know ourselves". Merely knowing the desirable change, favored selling points, or features and benefits of new approaches -- knows neither the enemy or ourselves. We have set ourselves up for "winning the battle and losing the war". We can only push against, antagonize and intimidate the other side. We appear arrogant, dangerous and unresponsive to our opposition. We are easily baited, deceived and defeated with our own insensitivity.

When we don't know ourselves, we also don't realize we are projecting an inner conflict onto others. We have idealized half of the whole truth and strut of our side of the story with pride. We have demonized, awfulized or catastrophized the other side of issue and excluded it from our identity. We are acting out an unresolved issue, instead of acting strategically, diplomatically or creatively.

When we truly know ourselves, we can see the stance we are taking -- as it appears to others. We get where we are coming from, in addition to what we're pushing for. We take our own premises tentatively and allow for other points of view. We've gotten off our high horse and come down to see things "eye to eye".

When we also know our enemy, we see their point of view. We can walk in their moccasins and look through their eyes. We speak their mind and acknowledge their concerns. We "get in their corner" and serve their long range interests.

This practice of empathy disarms their vengeance toward us. They know that no real threat can play "peek a boo" with them. We must not be the real enemy they assumed us to be. When we give them "permission to persist" or "prescribe their symptom", we foil their plot of war. We win without a battle by being empty of our warring intentions, outlooks and endeavors. Change and stability are joined into a virtuous cycle, healthy balance and whole truth. We get our way by giving them a way to feel understood, accepted and respected.


How to be professionally stagnant

Teachers, trainers and instructors are all under siege. There are ubiquitous pressures to adopt technologies in the classroom, to change pedagogies and relate better to the learners. If you choose to teach the way you were taught, none of this is acceptable or useful. Yet avoiding change is not enough. Professional development must be avoided at all cost. Concerted efforts must be made to maintain your own pride, confidence and comfort zone. Here are some guidelines to guard against getting changed.

Do not read blogs or write your own. If at all possible, stay away from conferences that deal with "how you teach". Distance yourselves from "tech support", "change consultant" and "curriculum advisor" types in your school district, university or corporate setting.

Face your students with fear. Imagine the worst that can happen. Picture the class being bored, out of control, unmotivated or whatever image sends you into a panic. Lower your brain function from "emotional intelligence" to a "limbic hijacking". Consider your "flight or fight" options while freezing like "a deer in headlights" as you react in favor of your tenuous survival.

Think through how you could be blamed. Consider unfounded criticisms, false accusations and outright guilt trips -- laid at your feet. Imagine people pointing their fingers at you, shooting down your good intentions and dismissing your valuable contributions. Anticipate who can make you look bad, question your integrity and expose your shortcomings in public. Develop a guarded demeanor around those threats.

Next develop a viable defense against getting blamed. There are two basic strategies to protect yourself from accusations. One is to blame yourself before anyone else can. This pre-emptive strategy makes it obvious to others that you will be devastated by put downs. You are already "on your own case so severely" that no one can expect you to handle anymore blame.

The other strategy has you become over-responsible to defend against blame. Simply overload your plate with too many obligations -- so that no one can fault you for willful negligence. Do everything possible to over-sell, over-commit and over-extend yourself. Make it obvious that you are already "bending over backwards" and cannot bend any further.

Finally learn to accept the consequences of: facing your learners with fear, anticipating getting blamed and defending yourself against accusations:

  1. Your fears will come true. A closed system will emerge with no escape from the apparent facts of life. Your students will appear to be enemies, class problems will seem real, and new technologies will be used to cheat.

  2. Expecting blame will get you blamed. Advocates of change will accuse you of obstructing progress. Advocates of technology utilization will demonize you for failing to adopt and integrate new tools. Advocates of learner empowerment will denigrate your insistence on your methods.

  3. Blaming yourself will eviscerate your initiative. You will feel too defeated, insecure and self-critical to contribute to team efforts. Your acting irresponsible will evoke the ire of those given to heroics. You will appear very worthy of getting blamed while you already blame yourself extensively.

  4. Acting over-responsible will make enemies without trying. Over-extending yourself will exhaust you everyday and lead to severe burnout. You will panic when anyone mentions "taking responsibility" since you've already gone overboard on that score. Your over-filled plate will drop balls and fall short of demanding expectations. You will get blamed for not being super-human.
If you do all this without hesitation, you will succeed at being professionally stagnant. No one will change you. No pressure will be able to manipulate your priorities or trick you into compliance. Your ability to guard against abuses will prove extremely reliable. You can remain the same as you have been.

Technorati tags: , ,


Subversives wanted - must love growing

An underground movement is recruiting subversives to replace the massive machine for the manufacture of controlled content. Must see learning as a growth process. Must demonstrate the envisioning of a botanical process of planting of seeds that blossom into flowers. Insights into ecological cycles, successions and transformations -- a plus.

Must have experience with industrial models of schooling. Evidence of switching from pushing content to pulling for the learners is a requirement. Context creators preferred over content developers. Must be able to win without a battle and not make enemies of power trippers who think they can make learning happen with "command and control" requirements.

An M.Ed in informal learning optional. Must show the abilities to have nurturing effects on learners, to act like a learner oneself and to approach life as an endeavor of continual learning. Evidence of significant personal growth given precedence over stagnant or composting developments. Contact with educational aliens taken into consideration.

(Thanks to Pete Reilly for his comment here and post to his own blog yesterday!)

Technorati tags: ,


What's going on here?

I'm from a different planet. We don't do this back home. We don't even have people who call themselves SME's, instructional designers, classroom teachers or professors. Why don't you stop this?

Don't you realize the harm you're doing? Can't you see that you're messing up learners severely when you do this thing you call "instructing". I realize it looks harmless to be well informed and sharing expertise. It also looks harmless to fill your planet's upper atmosphere with carbon. We'll just see about that!

Where I come from, learners have a wonderful process cycling inside themselves. We call it "learning". We all do it. No one is excluded or judged to be inferior at it. This process gets stronger and more resilient whenever it's trusted, valued and supported. We care for this process in everyone of us. Learning is precious to our thriving and essential to our surviving.

Each of us is learning from everything that happens to us. We come to our own realizations about anything we've puzzled about. We formulate better questions to ask from what we've already figured out. We change our minds and unlearn half truths "at the drop of a hat". We're told we have open minds because we are so receptive to things that don't make sense to us yet.

When any of us visit another planet, we come back home very disoriented. We've been through experiences of "not learning". We've had this wonderful process inside us get disregarded and belittled. We've been pictured like we don't learn from everything that happens to us. We've been treated like we couldn't come to our own realizations if we tried.

We return to our planet with our learning process damaged, fragile and unreliable. We have trouble formulating better questions or unlearning whatever half truths we've picked up. We start to experience strange maladies that other planets call "motivation problems", "a lack of self confidence", "learning disabilities" or "a lack of aptitude". We feel like we've come down with some kind of disease while visiting other so-called civilizations.

As we debrief our voyagers on their return, we learn what happened to them and how they got so disoriented. In every case, they've had a run in with some SME, instructor, teacher or professor. They sat in a classroom or through a multimedia presentation where content was delivered. They all got controlled by someone who thought he or she was no longer a learner. They got mistreated by someone with no clue about the wonderful process going on inside her or him. They all got taught.

Our Council of Elders met last night. We've banned further travel to Planet Earth until you've ceased this aberration of continual learning you call "formal instruction". You'll be amazed at how many problems with your educational system will disappear when you stop this insanity. We'll wait for you to come to your senses before we return.

Runyon Albacran, Starfleet Commander

Technorati tags: ,


No new change required

Does an acorn need to be different in order for an oak tree to appear in several years? Does the moon need to change its gravitational field for the tide to come back in tomorrow morning? Do the hens need to stop sitting on their eggs to give them a chance to hatch? I'm seeing processes to trust without changing. Stephen is seeing a need for reforms as if the changes are not in motion:

But "education reform," more generally, is of the utmost importance, and at the core of this reform must be the enabling of freedoms in networks. This will give our students the capacities they need to change the structure of government and industry.

What if students are gaining the capacities to change government and industry by playing games, social networking and uploading videos? What if the constant immersion and interactivity in their young lives will replicate itself in the world of work and politics? What if students are getting the sense to make their future adult experiences interactive, participative and collaborative? What if the situation calls for trusting, validating and protecting this change process -- rather than initiating new changes?

People change clothes, subscriptions and vacation plans -- as if change is painless. People resist being changed, coerced and imposed upon. If we act like the change in education, government and industry is already in motion, there's no "new change" to force people to accept. Stephen says something similar:

And - as always - I think that the best way to educate our students in this is to model and demonstrate this reality, to conduct ourselves as though we already *have* such network freedoms: preserving our autonomy, having our conversations, sharing our ideas, working cooperatively.

We see us acting as if we are this free, this networked and this capable of changing societal structures. I see all this in the bounty of Web 2.0 activity. It's evident in all the online gaming. It's apparent in all the cell phone traffic of tunes, pix and text messages all around the globe. We are demonstrating the behaviors, being the change, acting as-if it's true. The likelihood of it going viral is very great. It will spread into government and industry contagiously. Education will be reformed to make sense -- once our current models appear senseless. Trust the process.


Conflicting educations

Kids nowadays are getting two educations: one from the culture and one from school. The two are at odds and the students are caught in the middle. This has always been the case, but I believe today's "education from culture" is more profound than in anytime since the start of the industrial revolution.

Every generation learns from friends, shopping, socializing, playing or watching sports and participating in family functions. Recent generations have received a second education from movies, TV, radio programs, recorded music (LP's cassette tapes, CD's) and games. What's different for this latest generation is the immersion and interactivity.

Text messaging and picture phones intensify superficial interactions. Computer games and online shopping heighten involvement, choices and consequences. The ability to customize one's list of friends, playlist of tunes and tags of favorite finds online -- give the current students more power at their fingertips than any previous. The adoption rate of new technologies (iPods, camera phones, Tivo, etc) have soared beyond any previous changeover to new tools and toys. Outside of the classroom, kids are in control of many experiences, getting worshiped as consumers and learning by making choices everyday.

Meanwhile classroom education is changing at a snail's pace. There is a perpetuation of the existing social order by means of schooling. Stephen Downes sees clearly how this occurs:

Perhaps it makes more sense to direct our efforts toward the reform of government and industry, content to allow school to follow. But there is a risk in this. The conflict between new and old is being waged at the level of information: who creates it, who controls it, who distributes it. It is a conflict not of machines and ammunition, but of people and ideas.

Schools - or more generally, education - is the 'ground zero' of any conflict involving people and ideas. If people grow up believing society should be ordered a certain way, it becomes very difficult to change that view. That is why such change takes generations.

Students are now caught between incessant stagnation and rampant innovation -- slow change in school and fast adoption rates for new technologies. Schools and advertisers are both battling for their hearts and minds. Experiences of captivity and freedom are both making lasting impressions. Contradictions abound and questions multiply about which education to value more. Stephen continues:

You write, "The ways industrialized democracies have governed and educated their citizens will not make sense to children raised in the freedoms of vast networks." But if they do not actually have such freedoms, then they will not come to such views.

I'm seeing the children having these freedoms in abundance already. They will come to these innovative and resourceful views naturally, unimpeded by their controlled classroom experiences. I'm expecting cultural learning is winning out over the classroom induction into "asking to be kidnapped".

The freedoms outside the classroom are giving credibility problems to instructor led teaching, content delivery systems and push marketing models. It appears like spin and hype to media-savvy kids. It calls into question what is being taught, how its being sold and the value that can be extracted from it.

We are naturally convinced by what we learn from our experience, especially if it contradicts what we are being told. When in doubt, we follow the feet of the two-faced leader, not his/her flapping lips. Actions speak louder than spin, as if our immediate experiences never lie. The kids are in good hands when they see through the games played out by classroom command and control systems.


Winning without a battle

When faced with a potential battle like those in Educational reform, I've found it helpful to ask "does this opposition need to be opposed by a new enemy or are they already their own worst enemy?" The Art of War by Sun Tzu suggests that most hostilities can be won without a battle because the enemy is reliably "full of themselves". By practicing "emptiness" instead of concerted opposition, the fullness self destructs. The opposing confidence, vengeance and conceit sabotages its own leverage, advantages and resources. Non-resistance was used successfully by Gandhi to spawn the evacuation of British rule from India. Ben and Jerry's ice cream overtook Hagen Daaz's market dominance with similar "emptiness" and non-aggression.

Opposing the opposition usually forms a vicious cycle. The antagonism escalates into a stalemate that drains the energies of everyone involved. The cycle gets maintained by reacting to the opponent's reactions. "What we resist, persists". Most proactive and pre-emptive strikes merely play into this chronic drama of hostilities. Attempts to win by battling result in no winners. Tactical skirmishes are futile.

Active pursuit of victory succeeds if the tactics are indirect and well timed. When dolphins kill a shark, they swim in circles around the shark avoiding it's jaws. They take turns bludgeoning the cartilage in the shark's flanks until the rib cage fractures. They then watch the shark sink as it hemorrhages internally. The dolphins' role in taking out the shark is very active and strategic. Stephen suggests a similar level of activity to bring about educational reform:

While I agree with most of this, I don't agree that things will "change naturally" as "systems and premises of capitalism change." ... Nothing about a transition into a new order is inevitable. And if it occurs at all, it will occur, not naturally, but as the result of very deliberate rebellion and reform against this established order.

I suspect that the industrialized, corporate opposition to educational reform is not like sharks. We are not faced with predator instincts and insatiable appetites. Rather we are facing obsolete institutions that are already acting like their own worst enemies. All we need to do is to make it easy for them to follow their own inclinations and "fall on their own sword".

When a business drives itself out of business, it solves the wrong problems. It labels its best people as traitors and saboteurs. It shoots the loyal messengers who forewarn of the pending demise. It insulates itself from reality with an entourage of clueless, suck-ups who reassure the leadership with their unfounded optimism. The business dwells on external threats and denies the dissension within its ranks. It weakens morale, drains motivation and kills creativity throughout the organization by tightening controls, enforcing conformity and demanding a show of enthusiasm. The talent quits and deadwood fills in the gaps. The enterprise can no longer make effective decisions, follow through on commitments or reconfigure itself to respond to changes in its customers. The doors are closed once the market realizes how the previous value is no longer offered or needed.

None of this requires a deliberate rebellion by those of us seeking changes. These enterprises fall by the wayside as if they are making way for much better replacements. The changes occur naturally, like my compost theory of learning.

Technorati tags: ,