Jeffrey Saltzman's Blog

Enhancing Organizational Performance

Out of Our Experience

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“Information is not knowledge, knowledge is not wisdom, and wisdom is not foresight.” Arthur C. Clarke

If you were a one dimensional creature you would exist along a line. You would have no width, no height, just length. If a two dimensional creature came along, consisting of both length and width, and tried to interact with the one dimensional creature, the one dimensional creature would only see the length of the other fellow for it would not be possible for it to see or comprehend its width.

If the two dimensional creature were to run into a three dimensional creature it would see and comprehend only those things about the 3 dimensional creature that existed within its 2 dimensional space. The classic example is a round globe or sphere would appear as a circle to a 2 dimensional observer, as the observer would not be able to peer into the 3rd dimension to see the sphere in its complete form, it would only see horizontal slices, appearing as circles, through the sphere based on its understanding and ability or short-comings (depending on your point of view) on how it perceives and comprehends its world.

If we, as 3 dimensional creatures, were to interact with a creature that existed in 4 dimensions, say a creature that was independent of time, that creature would exist to us only for the briefest of moments as that creature flashed though, or chose to exist in our current instant. If the creature were truly a creature living independently of time or fully able to embrace time, again depending on your point of view, with all of time to wander through how often do you think we would run into such a creature? To us, unable to comprehend or see its movements through time, its existence to us may appear only as long as the briefest of flashes, no more than a passing moment.

M-Theory at the cutting edge of describing how our universe is structured suggests that there are 11 dimensions. So far we are able to comprehend, other than in mathematical equations, only a few of them.


If I may stretch an analogy, employees are multi-dimensional creatures as well. Organizations will have a tendency to see employees to comprehend them only on the dimensions upon which they interact, namely with limited exceptions, the work environment or even more limited the slice of the work environment in which the individual employee functions. What richness are we missing, what are we overlooking by not being able to see or comprehend employees in all the dimensions in which they exist or could exist?  When we try to see employees as they exist outside of the organizational experience, is it truly possible to comprehend what you are seeing or perhaps not seeing?

Written by Jeffrey M. Saltzman

November 9, 2009 at 7:58 am

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