June 10, 2011
Compression Thinking involves more than techniques. It shifts the values, and the valuation system, used to guide all kinds of working organizations, not just commercial ones. Bending our ideas of the criteria that represent success is apt to be emotional learning as well as intellectual. To be effective, everyone involved in an organization’s guidance and governance needs to grasp that shift, if not every detailed technique. Senior governing leadership will find this transformation to be challenging, but if unsupported by senior leaders, Compression Thinking subordinates will soon hit a wall.
Therefore Compression Thinking groups must differ from most existing learning groups. Most of them do well, and most of them continuously improve performance as that is now interpreted. They don’t try to transform basic business models. Compression Thinking may start with continuous improvement, but as changes dig deeper, it migrates toward transformation of business models – and perhaps technology and much else.
A Compression Group has to bridge the enormous gap between big global issues and actions that a local working organization can take. That’s an intellectual exercise in stretching the scope of concerns, and often emotionally confusing as well. A group could form inside a company. One can consist of leaders from different organizations helping each other sort out how to proceed. One might be a local community improvement group. Dedication to Compression Thinking is the common thread.
Helpful ideas from other learning groups’ experience are welcome, but Compression Thinking groups appear to be unique. Forming them will also be a unique learning experience. Just trying to apply the best learning approaches that we have seen to the functioning of these groups is a stretch, but we think it is “doable.”
Techniques are helpful for development. We learn to think differently, applying different values to our work by actually using a different approach until it becomes habitual. (Those who adopt quality and lean techniques may later find that their basic values and attitudes have shifted, even if they were not conscious of doing this at the time.)
Although this will modify with experience, here’s a wordy concept of what Compression Thinking Groups are:
“Compression Thinking Groups are dedicated to think long-term, devise better mutual learning processes, shift values criteria, and help each member transform the processes they influence to create better long-term effectiveness using far fewer natural resources.”
If you are scratching your head decoding what that implies, you’re off to a good start.