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Pascal Dennis

Pascal Dennis: Our business & professional schools teach us to think in a way inimical to learning

By Pascal Dennis, - Last updated: Monday, April 9, 2012 - Save & Share - Leave a comment

Why Are Learning Organizations So Scarce?

A billion dollar question…

There are many root causes, which my Lean Edge colleagues will no doubt
explore at length.

Here’s one that I find compelling:

Our business & professional schools teach us to think in a way inimical to
learning.

Here are some of the mental models I picked up at engineering and business
schools:

1) We are very smart and successful

2) We can manage from a distance, by the numbers.

Corollary: What can front line people possibly teach us?

3) Everything wraps up nicely — just like an MBA case study.

4) Problems are bad things — smart, successful managers like us shouldn’t
have problems!

5) If there is a problem, we need to launch an INITIATIVE — the more
complex the better.

Sadly, the present “splitting” in society reinforces such thinking.

“I am very smart and successful — and I just received a massive bonus to
prove it!”

Effect?

Hubris, disconnection from the front line, apathy & cynicism in the
organization.

In other words, an environment that precludes learning.

Don’t want to be misunderstood.  People go to professional and business
schools with the best of intentions.

To develop their skills, advance their careers and so on.

But we often get more than we bargained for.

The interesting thing is that these mental models are never articulated.

They are in the atmosphere, invisible, accepted and unquestioned.

The great Henry Mintzberg has said that MBA graduates should have a skull &
crossbones tattooed to their foreheads.

I’ve been trying to remove mine for a couple of decades now…

Best regards,

Pascal

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