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Attention to small failures as trigger for learning

I really like these “weekend morning readings” – I have time to read, to think and (more important) to write it down.

The first one is about synchronicity. Today, I had two printouts to read: [1] Jim McGee’s review of Managing the Unexpected (book by Karl Weick, Kathleeb Sutcliffe and Robert Quinn) and [2] Chapter 8: Storytelling to share knowledge by Steve Denning (advance text of a forthcoming book THE SQUIRREL: The Seven Highest Value Forms of Orgninizational Storytelling).


Damn. I just found that Denning’s chapter comes with “not for quotation or citation without written permission”. Now I can’t write more about it. I just hope that providing the link is ok.


Back. I was going to write about the idea in both texts about the need to pay attention to small failures. Now you have to read [2] yourself. [1] says:

Small failures (weak signals) are sought out and treated as opportunities to learn instead of anomalies to be explained away.

Weick et al. write that an organisation needs to operate mindfully and suggest two objectives and five charactiristics focused on them [Note: this is my comment on Jim McGee’s review of the book. Not good as a reference.]

  • Objective 1. – Anticipating the unexpected. Contributing characteristics: preoccupation with failure, reluctance to simplify interpretations, and sensitivity to operations
  • Objective 2. – Containing the unexpected. Contributing characteristics: a commitment to resilience and a deference to expertise

Archived version of this entry is available at http://blog.mathemagenic.com/2002/10/20.html#a289; comments are here.

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