Friday, April 10, 2009

Wisdom is personal

Ron Weisenburger says wisdom is personal.

This is not the normal reaction of a dog to an intruder at his dinner bowl.

Could this dog teach this behaviour to another dog? Not unless the other dog was a little bit wise to the intruder too. Not unless the other dog trusted the wisdom of the "wise old dog".

Wisdom cannot be taught to the unexperienced. You have to be a little bit wise to want to listen to wise people's stories. But wisdom is shared through stories.

So, if we want to learn wisdom, we listen to wise people's stories.

There is some acceptance that knowledge organizations that employ knowledge workers exist. Consulting engineering, accounting firms and law offices could legitimately argue that they are knowledge organizations.

And there are some that argue that wise organizations need to emerge (See "From learning organization to practically wise organization"). With every collapse of the American stock market, there are calls for more ethical banks, stock brokerages, etc.

I am venturing into philosophical territory that I am not competent to talk about.

So, I offer a practical observation. I have only ever seen one wise organization.

If a wise organization has a well defined path of learning and service for its members, a clear set of operational principles for the organization, mentorship, a clear, simple (hard work to get to simple) purpose, then you might to look at Alcoholics Anonymous as a model of a wise organization.

Surprised? Take a look at the Twelve Steps, the Twelve Traditions, the role of the sponsor and "The Big Book". And purpose? Check this out: Information on A.A.

I think that if you are thinking of a wise organization, your challenge is to model A.A.

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