Business Organizational Fitness to Compete: Toward a Causal Model of Organizational Change and Learning -- Russell Eisenstat and Michael Beer

Breaking the Code of Change II, Rotman School of Management, August 2-3, 2000

These participant's notes were created in real-time during the meeting, based on the speaker's presentation(s) and comments from the audience. These should not be viewed as official transcripts of the meeting, but only as an interpretation by a single individual. Lapses, grammatical errors, and typing mistakes may not have been corrected. Questions about content should be directed to the originator. These notes have been contributed by David Ing ( at the IBM Advanced Business Institute (

Michael Beer, Harvard Business School; and Russell Eisenstat, Center for Organizational Fitness

[David missed a lot of the presentation]

Task Force Training (1 day)

Task Force Interviewing (2-4 weeks)

Task Force Debriefing (1 day)

Feedback and Planning Meeting (1st of 3 days)

Reviews with Task Force & Upper Management (2 days)

Deploy, Implement and monitor (ongoing).

What did we learn by using these methods?


Emergent principles for building fit and fitness


Conditions for sustained change and learning

Need a social technology so that executives go through the fitness process: But how many want to go to the corporate dentist?

Discussant: Jim Phipps



Big quibble:

Responses: Agree.



Comment: The more you move into root causes, the less it's engineering and more science.

Comment: Compelling change, or strategic change?

Comment by Chris Argyris: More specific will result in a better engineering. They know more than they say.


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