Bateson

These days this is my favorite book. I have blogged previously on one of Bateson’s “Metalogues” – look here to review. Bateson’s metalogues are styled as father daughter conversations. Here’s another one I would like to consider – this is a short extract from the opening: Mealaogue: About games and being serious Daughter: Daddy, are these conversations serious?Father: Certainly they are.D: They’re not a sort of game you play with me?F: God forbid … but they are a sort of game we play together.D: Then they’re not serious! Through this conversation Bateson goes on to introduce many ideas about how we “play” together.  The core of this idea is not new – there are always unspoken rules associated with how we communicate. For me, the most useful question is: “What’s going on here?”.  Ask yourself this question when attending meetings, participating in decisions or even writing (as I am now).  Frequently, we interpret a situation at an immediate and shallow level.  Often, what’s really going on can only be appreciated by interpreting what’s being said along with the unspoken rules of the encounter. posted by Leo Casey

Can we measure learning?

Somewhere in recent conversations someone came up with the line “if we can’t measure it we can’t manage it”. I have heard this many times before and I’m not sure of its origin – if I was asked in a pub quiz I would suggest Jack Welsh of GE but I could be wrong.Anyhow, the axiom is part of everyday management speak and is often cited as a core principle used in change management and strategic planning.We’ve had a good example of this recently where financial systems and governments appear unable to ‘measure’ the extent of the bad bank loans (aka toxic debt) and, so the argument goes, we need to get these bad loans out of the system not because they are ‘bad’ as such but because they are unmeasurable.The Irish Government plan is to establish a new agency – the National Asset Management Agency (NAMA) – this will take all the bad loans out of the banking system in order to free up the regular banks to continue to do business in the normal way.I can see how all this will be used in case studies to further reinforce the axiom of ‘can’t measure can’t manage’. The problematisation Read More …