From the Archives...
The Modern Attitude
[Matt Taylor Journal page 680, January 5, 1985, 7:24AM]
Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C.
There is a modern attitude. This is made up of several parts. Chief among
- Only the material exists
- One must be practical versus idealistic
- The purpose of education is to get a job
- Power over others is necessary to accomplish anything
- That a CEO should get paid more than a librarian
- That making money is the major measure of worth
- That there is a scarcity of wealth, and some just cannot "make
- That is it someone else's fault (or responsibility, etc.) and I cannot
make a difference
- That great precision & craft is not necessary in most things;
"you have to compromise"
- That spiritual is weak, soft; that physical is strong, hard, effective
- That practical means short term expediency
This list could go on. These statements represent a set of ideas and
perceptions. A set that acts as the hidden design assumption of our work
and life. Assumptions that become self-fulfilling. All these assumptions
become "true," all are false.
It is not the assumptions themselves--nor their truth or untruth--that
is my concern here, but the "modern" attitude that gives rise
to these assumptions, and in turn results from these assumptions. It is
the self-perpetuating "closed loop" nature of this attitude
on which I turn my focus. (see p 671, 29DEC84). The loop is self-reinforcing,
that is: new events and ideas are interpreted from this old framework.
It results in managers who think they have to make things happen rather
than get out of the way and facilitate things happening. It results in
the self-fulfilling prophecy of the U.S. and U.S.S.R called World War
We have discovered a way in a DesignShop® event to suspend and sometimes
break this "closed loop." This allows a group to "think
new"--sometimes for the first time. We--as yet--have not established
a practice that does this in the everyday work environment. We must do
this in 1985 with our client if our client is to successfully complete
its transition. We have to understand that we are in a 365 day DesignShop
process now--one that we cannot control but must learn to facilitate.
We must understand the whole of the client and us our part wisely to facilitate
needed change. We must attract the organization to our project management
methods. But, above all, we must loosen the death grip that the industrial
paradigm has on our client's corporate mind.
To do this we will have to manage the information through the circuit
just as is done in a DesignShop process. We will have to build a black
box, test it, and use it with feedback correcting our aim. We will have
to build a shift paper point by point showing the specific shifts from
the old paradigm to the new. We will have to model and test the assumptions
on ourselves as we implement change.
Our input to and contact with the client's associates is very small compared
to all the messages they get 24 hours a day--messages that reinforce the
old paradigm. For us to be effective we must get our message(s) laser-like
and aimed accurately at the key points. This includes yet goes beyond
the intellectual content of our material; it goes beyond our facilitation
& documentation of their work. This includes the total message of
all of these function plus what we are. We must show them a high-performance
organization of grounded, idealistic, practical, successful, happy individuals.
copyright © 1985, MG Taylor Corporation.
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