As Christmas approaches we get time to reflect upon what we have learned from 2009; here are a few things that come to my mind.
It has undoubtedly been a tough year with a global financial meltdown and H1N1 amongst the challenges we have all faced – so what have we learned?
Most people learn by feedback or single loop learning; we take action using existing strategies, get a result and if it isn’t what we want we adjust the action and or the strategy in the hope that we get a better result. The events of 2009 need us to question some of the assumptions we have made about the world and business.
Double Loop Learning
Argyris & Schon (1974) proposed double loop learning theory which promotes learning to change underlying values and assumptions. The following diagram explains it.
Personally I had assumed 2009 was going to be pretty much the same as 2008 and that our clients would just keep booking training and coaching – duh!
I soon realised that just because I believed that coaching and training improves engagement, effectiveness and productivity did not mean that my clients would continue to purchase these programs when they were offered the choice, “slash costs or slash head count.”
Now 2009 has not been all bad, as it has caused me to reflect how I can better serve my clients and build programs that deliver more return on investment and more organisational learning. I am happy to report that our earnings this year are equal to last year and we are already have significant bookings for 2010.
“So what!” I hear you cry, “but what about me?” Well here are some Action Learning questions to help you acheive some double loop learning:
- What am I trying to do?
- What is stopping me from doing it?
- What can I do about it
- Who knows what I am trying to do?
- Who else can do anthing to help?
Now if you have a coach or a trusted friend you can get them to ask you:
- How do you feel about what is going on?
- What questions does that raise?
- How would someone you most admire deal with this situation?
- Can you think of three options for action?
- What are the pros and cons of each of these options?
- What first steps are you going to take?
As adults we learn best when we reflect and question what we do and then take action- make sure you spend some time reflecting this holiday season so that you make a difference in 2010.