For the past few weeks I have sat anxiously through my Thursday afternoon Marketing class waiting for the time to tick over 5pm so that I could jump online and see what impact our changes from the week just gone had made. After several weeks of continuous improvement, we had a SHV of around $25 which put us in second place in India. This meant that I turned on MikesBikes with a lot of enthusiasm, only for me to take one look at our new SHV and come crashing back down to Earth. Our SHV has almost halved down to $15.50… What shocked me even more was looking on the class Hall of Fame list and seeing groups with a SHV of $0.01 and 0.09! Seeing these SHV I am grateful we haven’t slipped too much and I know that we can bounce back as there were teams in our world originally at the bottom and in the space of one week are now at the top. Now I think these events have come at the perfect time for this weeks readings. In ‘Teaching Smart People How to Learn’ by Chris Argyris he argues that “any company that aspires to succeed…must first resolve a basic dilemma: success in the marketplace increasingly depends on learning, yet most people don’t know how to learn.” As I have just mentioned our problem this week has been success. We had been cruising and now we want it back. But this is also another problem. I’ve always just attempted to solve problems rather than learning.
After finishing reading Chris Argyris’ article I found that I have always considered learning to simply involve finding a problem and solving it. I would always “focus on identifying and correcting errors in the external environment” and believe I was learning, which to an extent I was learning some stuff, but Argyris says I need to do more – I need to “reflect critically on my own behavior, identify the ways I often inadvertently contribute to my group’s problems, and then change how I act” which is known as double-loop learning. Instead my idea of single-loop learning (finding a problem and solving it) was preventing my learning from expanding. Over the past few weeks my group had been successful and haven’t experienced failure meaning that we have not had the chance to learn how to learn from failure. Also when single-loop learning strategies go wrong, people become defensive, screen out criticism, and put the ‘‘blame’’ on anyone and everyone but themselves. I could kind of see this happening as I am in charge of R&D and to be truthfully honest, my role is small compared to others in the group. As a result I could have turned straight to my team and said “this is your fault for not calculating this. I did my part.” I didn’t say this as I know it is not an individual group members’ fault but I can certainly see how this situation could happen.
Being able to reflect critically on my own behaviour is something that I need to do more of in both good times and bad. Most people see reflection as something that needs to be done when times are bad, however, there are opportunities to be made on improving on the good times. These reflections could be done in a journal entry (such as our weekly journals) or a team meeting and simply going over the previous week.
I think as we are in a group the best method for my group to pick in terms of reflection is a weekly reflection period. Some groups may not like this as they may feel scared to share their ideas with the rest of the group, but my group members are all friends which allows us to share our thoughts easily. We already have to write weekly reflections on something we have learnt during the week which is also a good place to reflect critically about myself. I think I have been writing critically too much about the group as a whole and instead I need to incorporate more critical reflection about myself which I can start trying to do in the journal reflection next week.