How it Works


We have a lot of tacid knowldege regarding the working of the L'Earning Lemnisacte model. We are in the process of sense making and codifcation of our knowledge. The paragraphs in this section gives our insights and lessons learned. Feel free to comment and add yours!

Interaction between the left and the right side

As shown in the picture below, the left side of the Lemniscate raise questions, give means (resources) and mandate (e.g. keeper of the  organisational best practice is the community) to the community. The community in its turn produces ideas, best practices and investment proposals.

This process can be hindered by an wrong worldview on both sides:

  • Communities stop producing their outcome due to the fact that the organisation is not adopting ideas, best practices and proposal. The right turning wheel slows down or stops. Often this is caused by an unclear left side (oreganisation ambition, plans, prioritisation, etc.). The assumption that the right wheel must stop or slow down is a limiting belief: there is no reason for slowing down your passion. Of course the spinn off risk is ther: not supported communities will be disconnected with the organisation; thus not delivering the benefis for this organisation.
  • Line management on the left side might see a hierarchical relation with the community and address it as a supplier. Disconnection happens if the comm

Level of Alignment

The more the organisational ambition is aligned with the personal ambitions of the community members, the more beneficial is the L'Earning Lemniscate. The occurs also between the collective and individual capabilities: the more personal capacilities and development plans are aligned with the collective capability the better the performance (be aware of the identity match: I am good in … and work for an organisation which is good in…).

Mind ownership

The development of collective capabilities must be aligned with the organisation ambition and the related mission, vision and urgency. It needs its ownership and  governance processes (such as a balanced score card) aligned .

Plan your work and work your plan

The left side of the Lemniscate must have the same attitude as regular development. Example given: Plan your work an Work your plan. Delivering results  are agreed upon and firm (taken adjustments into account).

Mind your language

Each side of the Lemniscate  has its own language. The left side language could be pretty directive: straight forward and top down (we agreed upon…). The right side language is reciprocal and mutual; its about bringen and getting form peers. Mixing this up (using the language of the other side) confues people and has negative impact.

The Senior Manager stating on a Community Meeting that  one has to meet and chat frequently forgot to mention the organisation ambition., resulting in a disappointed community.

Do not rob private time

Each side of the Lemniscate has its own resourcing principles. The left side is driven by Portfolio Management (or a process with a similar purpose to prioritise scarce resources). The right side is driven by non-obligatory energy. Do not mix themthem up!

Managers allocating in their expectations and budget private time of employees must be prepared upon the drwback: after a first acceptance the refusal is twice that big.

Is it coming from your toes…?

A common espoused value in Knoweldge Management and Learning Organisations is that one is going to develop collective capabilities, But as the Dutch says "is it coming from your toes?"  Is it espoused value combined with an underlying basic assumption that it (never) will work?

The Manager who owned a Knowledge Management Project, but was – deep in side –  convinced that it would not work, was in tisel a project time bomb and was building sustainable resistance for future projects.

It is not enough to  create urgency  and a communicated  vision. You must also remove the blocking thoughts and underlying assumptions (according to Kotter and Schein) . Portfolio Management, Programme Management and Project Management – all aligned with the organisation ambition – helps.

Is your intrinsic motivation hurt?

In consultancy firms it is a common fact that the primairy business model is time & material consultancy (billingconsultancy time). A lot of  senior consultant remember the idleness day (not working billable for a customer)  that he/she was focusing with all his/her energy on the development of a collective capability and….had to start a customer's assignment.

The next time the intrinsic motivation was not that high. The hypothesis is that consultants are protecting themselves for pain. Nobody want to say goodby to a passionated subject. Thus creating a negative spiral in which idleness productivy is low: the left flying wheel turns slowly.

Other firms with employees with consultancy experience migth still be hindered with this self protection of professionals.

How to deal with this? Make sure that crucial developments are protected from a motivation drain and/or create micro workpackages which reduces the risk.

Do not mix infrastrructures

Communities chooses their own infrastructure which is often exceeding the borders of an organisation. Do not force the environment if the culture isn't their to accept it.

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