Background and History
The first StreamLearning session was conducted in the Spring of 1994. The StreamLearning concept was created to fill perceived technology voids among ODI consultants and members of their client systems.
1. An event was needed that would allow the participant learners to be in more control of the material covered -- learner driven rather than trainer driven.
2. An event was needed where members of a client system could meet and become familiar with consultants who could potentially be used in their system -- the client might become part of the selection process.
3. An event was needed that could keep consultants close to a actual dilemmas encountered in the application of our technology by live, ongoing clients.
4. An event was need to enable clients to meet with other clients.
Early StreamLearners used the stream as a metaphor for learning and learning conditions. The similarities were and remain rich indeed. Margaret Wheatley, in her landmark book, Leadership and the New Science, joined in with a connection of her own. She wrote, "Finally, I asked directly: What is it that streams can teach me about organizations? I am attracted to the diversity I see, to these swirling combinations of mud, silt, grass, water, rocks. This stream has an impressive ability to adapt, to shift the configurations, to let the power balance move, to create new structures. But driving this adaptability, making it all happen, I think, is the water's need to flow. Water answers to gravity, to downhill, to the call of ocean. The forms change, but the mission remains clear. Structures emerge, but only as temporary solutions that facilitate rather than interfere. There is none of the rigid reliance on single forms, on true answers, on past practices that I have learned in business. Streams have more than one response to rocks; otherwise, there'd be no Grand Canyon. Or else Grand Canyons everywhere. The Colorado realized that there were ways to get ahead other than by staying broad and expansive."
We've made a few attempts to change the name and the concept, but those who have
become true StreamLearners, both consultant and client, hold out for
keeping things just the way they are for the time being. We have developed a StreamLearning
Culture whose rules seem to be compatible with their learning needs.
StreamLearning is an integral element of the Organization Diagnostics Education mission.
The StreamLearning design is intended as a forum within which learning can take place with and among the following constituencies:
o Associates, and Affiliates of Organization Diagnostics.
o Members from Client Organizations.
o Prospective Associates, Affiliates, and members of prospective client organizations.
o Interns and guests.
The purpose of a StreamLearning event is simply LEARNING. If anything else positive happens, it's a bonus. Each participant is responsible for his or her own learning. There is no other accountability. With minor exceptions (introductions being one of them) people can participate or not as they choose. We will not judge one's learning preference or style. The reason we want to learn is to improve individual performance, team productivity, and organization profitability (or effectiveness and efficiency).
The StreamLearning culture supports learning from each other. The context for learning is normally any of the models authored by Leadagement Technologies and used by Organization Diagnostics, Inc. If things go well or poorly, we learn from that experience.
Attendees are always invited to "spotlight" a favorite piece of any technology they use. If possible, a link to our model system is desirable, but not essential. Topics are selected based on the need to learn more about a given area from among a preponderance of clients currently being served or based on anticipated needs. Client experience with selected topics is an imperative backdrop for the learning process.
Participants are asked to help defer the costs of the event, and help with the behind the scenes labor in producing the event.
Some handout materials are provided to add structure to the learning possibilities, but are not considered restrictive. Transcribed charts and other materials brought by participants will be mailed to participants following the event.
CommunityWare is a means of measuring used to validate or refute
intuition about organizational culture, assess style preferences and add structure
to remediation. We always have CommunityWare at StreamLearning
events for use with participants.
Technology Thread. We always use a piece of our own technology as a binding thread within each StreamLearning and between StreamLearning events. When possible, we try to connect this thread with pieces of technology that others in the group use regularly. For example, we connect our inventory system with popular technologies. We often quote popular contemporary authors in the organization development field and show connections between what they have to say and our own model system. Normally, we bring along thirty to fifty books from our extensive library for participants to browse. We want to provide a catalyst for learning that we believe to be universal among all participants. Day one is used to provide a "content/technology" load, while day two is more open-ended inquiry and product-creation oriented. Learnings are later incorporated into our technology for client and consultant use.
Experiential Methodology. Many of the learnings are preceded by an exercise from which people can draw implications about life in organizations. We play games, engage in interactive dialog, and enjoy both imported music and created music such as Reali-Syncho (a self-made percussion band composed by members of the group as a way to recall people from each break). If something spontaneous happens from which a learning can be extracted, so be it -- someone always calls attention to the incident for the purpose of extracting a learning.
Reflective Opportunities. When the group rejoins (following a break, lunch, or the first session on the second day) the check-in calls for reflections from anyone who has had them. Questions such as "So what?" punctuate the day. "Why is this important?" begs an answer from anyone who happens to know. Any question is best answered by the person who happens to know the answer, not necessarily the "discussion leader." Sidetracks are encouraged. In all of this, we try to respond well to those who need structure, and express an "itch" to get on with it.
Extra Sensory Phacilitation. In addition to the five physical senses, we call upon the extra senses as well to round out the full range of learning capabilities. For example, a sense of progress, inclusion, timing, confidence, comfort, optimism, and connectivity might be every bit as real to someone as the sense of touch. We are organization developers who Phacilitate cultural improvements in organizations by identifying the "rules" that need changing and help people change them to increase performance, productivity, and profitability.
Universal Applications. We learn about people in organizations. Our learning quest is about improving the quality of life in organizations of all kinds -- family, work, play, worship, health, neighborhood, etc. When people organize for a purpose, we believe fundamental attributes exist that, if learned, can be applied to similar conditions in other parts of one's life. We look for such universal applications as we learn at StreamLearning events.
Who Should Attend StreamLearning Events?
We are often asked: "Who should attend StreamLearning events?"
The answer varies somewhat from client to client. Use the following criteria as a
1. Interest. Anyone in the organization ought to be given the opportunity to attend a StreamLearning event based on general interest in realignment or in the specific topic being examined. We'd rather have interested and self-selected guests than "prisoners" who have been ordered to attend to fill a quota.
2. Volunteers for Realignment Teams or Other Realignment Assignments. People have reported to us that it helped to attend a StreamLearning event before they volunteered for assignments such as Cultural Facilitator or attendance at a Belief Set or Strategy Bridge event. It helps to be a part of an event to learn the distinctive and highly participative style required for accelerated Realignment programs.
3. Realignment Team Members. Once a person is assigned to a Realignment Team and begins participating, the topic being examined at a StreamLearning event may fit perfectly in the overall scheme. Those serving on Realignment Teams who need to study their subject area in greater depth or want to attend in the likelihood that they will meet others who have also been a member of a specific team will find attendance a must.
4. Leadership and Management. Those in positions of responsible leadership or management are expected to attend in reasonable numbers. We understand schedules do not always permit everyone in a management group to attend. We do think, however, that over the course of three StreamLearnings (approximately two calendar quarters) that a majority of the managers in a Division/Directorate will be able to attend.
5. The Realignment Coordinator and CommunityWare Administrator. Since these people eventually come in contact with everyone in the organization, they will be expected to attend as often as possible.
6. Use StreamLearning as a Recognition of Top Performance. Our StreamLearning guests are treated very well! If someone has done an outstanding job and needs recognition for their service, especially as it relates to enhanced alignment, they ought to be rewarded with a seat at the next StreamLearning event. It will be our pleasure to make their participation a special celebration.
Past StreamLearning Events
Facilitation in the Context of Cultural Change
March 20 & 21, 1994
Facilitating Organization Alignment
July 20 & 21, 1994
Langley AFB & Fort Eustis
The Paradox of Paradigms
October 18 & 19, 1994
Leadership and Management in the Chaos of Paradigm Change
May 16 & 17, 1995
Diagnosing Organizational Culture/Levering Effective Change
August 23 & 24, 1995
The Care & Feeding of Change Agents
November 1 & 2, 1995
Tools for Creating and Maintaining Teams with High-Yield Culture
Jan 31 & Feb 1, 1996
Cultural Phacilitation: Developing High-Yield ProZones
May 1 & 2, 1996
Integrating Cultural Measurements: A Unified Approach to Cultural Development
August 21 & 22, 1996
Optimizing Cultural Facilitation: Accelerating the Cultural Change Process
November 6 & 7, 1996
January 22 & 23, 1997
The Systemic Culture
April 30 & May 1, 1997
RGB: The Cultural Undercurrent
August 27 & 28, 1997
The New Culture - - Make It Happen
November 19 & 20, 1997
January 28 & 29, 1998
OMNI, Newport News
The Metrics of Culture
April 29 & 30, 1998
Holiday Inn, Hampton
August 19 & 20, 1998
Quality of WorkLife Center
High Performance Connections: Accelerated Decision Making
November 4 & 5, 1998
Quality of WorkLife Center
The Learning Organization and Celebrations!
January 27 and 28, 1999
Quality of WorkLife Center
The Leadership/Management Paradox
April 28 and 29, 1999
Quality of WorkLife Center
Auguast 25 and 26, 1999
Quality of WorkLife Center
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