[Paleopsych] Robust scientific dialog

Steve Hovland shovland at mindspring.com
Mon Feb 21 17:35:05 UTC 2005

Carly Fiorino's tenure was also flawed because
she was a manager, not a leader.

All she did was to call in the consultants and
go with their standard recommendation to make
a large acquisition.

All the genius in HP's patents was essentially

Steve Hovland

-----Original Message-----
From:	ldj [SMTP:ldj at mail.sisna.com]
Sent:	Monday, February 21, 2005 9:23 AM
To:	The new improved paleopsych list
Cc:	Steve Hovland
Subject:	RE: [Paleopsych] Robust scientific dialog

thanks for this reminder. Of course, you are right.

At the same time, the dilemma is why didn't mayors before Guilani do that? 
They were not leaders, they were managers. It comes down to vision and 
leadership. What the Mouse Cult book seems to argue (based on my reading of 
the reviews on Amazon) is that Eisner's leadership is fatally flawed. 
Eisner lacks the vision that Walt Disney had. Instead, he wants to simply 
maximize profit. So what he inspects is the wrong thing, namely how can we 
mazimize our profit? Walt seemed to have a vision of entertainng people, 
educating them via his nature films, entrancing them.

So a vital problem that David is raising is what about leadership? Someone 
once said that it is not that power corrupts, it is that power attracts 
corruptable people. Too often our organizations are run by people who 
simply want power for its own sake, that is, for the sake of their own ego, 
and not because they actually have a worthy vision that serves the 
customer/stakeholder/citizen. I ordered the In Search of Stupidity this 
mornng from Abebooks.com so I may speak too early, but it appears that the 
failures he documents originate from the top leadership, lack of vision.

This message goes to you because I am at work and I don't know how to make 
this mail program use my list name, ljohnson at solution-consulting.com. So 
paleo will bounce it. If you forward it, you have my appreciation.
working to celebrate presidents

---------- Original Message ----------------------------------
From: Steve Hovland <shovland at mindspring.com>
Reply-To: The new improved paleopsych list <paleopsych at paleopsych.org>
Date:  Mon, 21 Feb 2005 07:38:56 -0800

>"You get what you inspect" may also apply here.
>Rudy Giuliani dramatically changed the output
>of many agencies in New York by measuring
>progress toward the results he wanted.
>He probably didn't change the culture, which is
>very difficult, but he got a different result, which
>was enough.
>Steve Hovland
>-----Original Message-----
>From:	Lynn D. Johnson, Ph.D. [SMTP:ljohnson at solution-consulting.com]
>Sent:	Sunday, February 20, 2005 9:17 PM
>To:	W. David Schwaderer; The new improved paleopsych list
>Subject:	[Paleopsych] Robust scientific dialog
>Thank you for this inspiring question. I have been giving it some thought.
>My assumption is that we find true dialog threatening. Groups value
>stability. Stability comes from shared meanings, shared norms, shared
>values. We create meaning about the universe, and we are dismayed by
>data that undermines our creation.
>So we started that particular project with a focus on group culture.
>What is the norm about dialog? Clearly it had been to suppress debate.
>Back-channel communications were common.
>I used an Appreciative Inquiry / Solution-focused approach, looking for
>exceptions, times when dialog had worked. The idea behind that is that
>we can change a culture by seeking positive examples of what is desired.
>Fluctuations occur in all systems all the time. Even in a culture of
>defensiveness and non-sharing, I assume there will be examples of times
>when sharing did happen. If we discover those exceptions and talk about
>them, the group members begin to re-view their concepts of the group.
>New norms can be based on those exceptional times. Trust in the new
>norms is improved by further dialog about them, mroe examples.
>We asked scientists:
>"We all have experiences of direct, robust dialog, and we also have
>experiences when we do not talk directly to others. We want to study
>times when dialog was direct, to the point, and helpful. Please tell us
>a time when that happened. What was going on? Who was involved? What
>were you told? How did that help?"
>In retrospect, I should have trained three scientists to collect that
>data, and each of them training three more and so on. I did too much of
>the work. When the consultant does the interviews, it greatly reduces
>the impact on the system, since the consultant is an outsider. Insider
>collection of exceptional times is much more powerful.
>The senior scientist was quite pleased and felt that people were being
>more open. We didn't have any actual data, though. Not  long after, the
>VP of HR became ill and eventually died.
>I have much more to say. I wonder whether we ought to say this on list?
>Would the paleo group be interested in this dialog between you and me? I
>will forward this on to the group and see if we get interest. In the
>mean time, David, please write back and tell me if this kind of story is
>what you have in mind. I am interested in keeping this going.
>W. David Schwaderer wrote:
>>>I once consulted with a pharmaceutical research firm. ... but they
>>>would not challenge each other.
>>>Divergent opinions are generally felt as threatening to the group, and
>>>it takes sustained effort to legitimize divergent opinions. We came up
>>>with "Robust Scientific Dialog" as a title for an organizational
>>>intervention that had some positive impact.
>>Lynn, I am *extremely* interested in this phenomena - treatment of 
>>and divergent opinion.  This is a key human behavior....
>>=> If you have *any* other thoughts on this please let me know what they
>>are.  Please.
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