We Value

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We Value:

1

 Intrinsic Motivation

Research in the 1940s recognised that motivation is internal or intrinsic. It is something deep inside us that experiences satisfaction from a task well done, be that at work, or in the garden, or from hitting a good golf shot. We also love learning, just listen to our children or grandchildren and the perpetual “why.” We love to test our knowledge – consider the popularity of quiz shows. It was Douglas McGregor that replied to the question how do you motivate people – with the simple answer “You Don’t.” At work you enable our intrinsic motivation by giving them an interesting and challenging job.

All of this course challenges the Behaviorists concept of motivation. They consider that we are purely reactive. We do things in response to an extenal stimuli  – an extension of Pavlov’s dogs. We study at school or university because we will recieve a “qualification” if we are successful. We are diligent at work because of the promise of a bonus, etc. We refer to this as extrinsic motivation. The prominent thinkers in this school of thought were  B F Skinner and John B Watson. Their thinking could be encapsulated in the phrase – do this and you will get that” –  The Law of Effect,” which states that behaviour leading to a postive consequence will be repeated. But what has been  recognised for a long time is that we, as humans, are much much more then simple reactors to stimuli. Alfie Kohn whose extensive research in this area used to describe behavourists as basing their work on experiments on starved, caged animals and transposing the findings onto free, well fed, intelligent human beings. The fundamantal problem with Behaviourist (or Conditioning) concepts is that it is manipulative.  The provider of the reward is manipulating the subject to do what he/she wants. None of us are comfortable with being manipulated

The research into intrinsic motivation has continued and developed for the past 60 years. See Dan Pink’s videos in the “Learning” section. where he shows conclusively that offering a reward damages our intrinsic motivation.

Our current problem is that the dominat thinking in our society is still underpinned by reward thinking. The massive sums the bankers award themselves is the current high profile example. In Alfie Kohn’s words extrinsic motivation is popular because it requires no thought, no investigation, no empathy with people, no understanding of systems or the working environment etc. It is a simple technique  – that is why it is so popular.
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2

Structured Learning

It is surely very important that our learning is based on sound research. We really want to avoid simple expressions of opinion. Our modern world has been transformed since the days of the enlightenment because of our acceptance of science. Scientific method is the process by which a hypothesis is proposed, experiments are conducted and then  a theory is developed only when the evidence supports that theory. In medcine there was a time when patients were treated on suposition and dogma – the particioners were called “quacks.” The pratice of medicine was transformed when it based the development of its knowledge on sound scientific principles. The management of people and organisations has still to develop a comparable discipline. Obvious evidence is ignored. The damage done by “Targets” in the public sector is a high profile example. The underlying theme of this site is to respect sound knowledge. This theme is expanded in the section “Why Wisdom matters to You,” And in the pages of “The Importance of Knowledge”
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3

Systems Perspectives

We have been taught since school to break complex problems down into its constituent parts. On the assumption that the whole is the sum of the parts. In fact the whole is the sum of the parts plus the inter-realtionship between the parts. Consideration of the whole is reffered to as Systems Thinking. The development of our understanding of systems has been ongoing since before the Second World War. A fundamantal finding is that the design of the system in which we work is the major contributor to the quality and quantity of the outcomes. J M Juran considered that 85% of outcomes was dependant on the design of the system, W Edwards Deming thought it was in the region of 97%, Peter Senge talks about us being “priosners of the system.”

 The initiative recognises that the working of our modern society is largely founded on the division of labour and specialisation. With increased specialisation and division comes fragmentation, so that the different sectors in our organisations and society often lack the support and therefore the will to work effectively together for the benefit of the organisation or society as a whole.

Experience has shown that our desire for “joined-up thinking” has proved more difficult to achieve than first thought.  We find that the complexity of our systems are not mastered by good intentions or off-the-shelf solutions.  Such ‘system’ problems require a different approach. 
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4
  

The Many Forward Thinkers

There is no one right answer. We live in a complex world. None of us can provide ready answers. But what we aim to promote is a unique way of enabling individuals and groups to learn from each other and from different sectors of our society.

Might we make reference to Edward de Bono’s book “Parallel Thinking.” de Bono argues against our current form of learning is based on criticism and judgement. A proposition is made and then it is open to criticism, and so a debate ensues and if the proposition survives the process then it can continue to the next stage. It is a process of thesis – anthesis – synthesis. The debating chambers of UK parliament is a good example.

In contrast de Bono proposes “Parallel Thinking” where contradictory ideas are explored, their value recognised and are allowed to exist in parallel. The opportunity arises in designing a way forward from these apparentley contradictory propositions.

The Unreasonabloe Learners value differing perspectives.

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5

Connections through the Internet

The tool that is available to us in todays world that was not available in the past is of course the Internet. Not only is it allowing us to connect on a world wide basis it enables voluntary contributions.

A book, exploring this modern phenom-um is “We Think” by Charles Leadbetter. As he explains, his own book is written by himself and 257 other voluntary contributors

Prominent examples of joint and voluntary development are of course Wikipedia, which has developed into a world wide highly respected enclyopdeia. Another example is Linux, an open source software community, which was set in motion by Linus Torvads, a student in Helsinki. Leadbetter describes the Linux community as the most impressive example of sustained We-Think, with ideas shared among a very large community over more than 15 years, to develop a highly sophisticated but reliabe product. This site is on WordPress which is a full content management system that is continually being improved by its millions of users.

Please note how these developments reflect our intrinsic motivation to contribute, without the need for monetary rewards.

We value the internet and its ability to bring together diverse people to develop knowledge and to facilitate progress.
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6

The Need for Learning

We value learning and the discipline of identifying  our underpinning assumptions and being prepared to challenge them in light of modern research and objective evidence.

We recognise that individuals learn but so do organisations and society itself. Society learns by challenging and continually improving the design of the systems that characterise that society – their education system for example. To quote Margaret Wheatley in her book “A Simpler Way” – “organisations are living systems. They too are intelligent, creative, adaptive, self organising, meaning seeking”

We will tend to be critical of those who are unwilling to learn despite the available evidence. On the other hand we would recognise the barrier of our paradigms, and how difficult it is to break down our deeply established perceptions of how the world works.
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7

The Need to Apply Learning

Theory and learning without application is simply an academic exercise. Application without theory is fraught with danger, it is rudderless. It is suspectible to drift pushed by the prevailing “Quick Fix” of the day.

How we structure our organisations, and how we coordinate the willing efforts of our people – i.e. “management” –  is an applied science. (See The importance of Knowledge)

Applied sciences are infinitely more complex that pure science
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