Drastic drops and double loop learning.
The main focus of my journal in week six paid a lot of thought to the fact that my team’s SHV had dropped for the first time and that this misgiving may be due to unclear communication between members. Based on the reflections I made in that journal I tried my best to make sure I was on the same page as the other members of my team. I felt like I had done well, that my intentions were clear and that they lined up well with my team members’. Sometimes liberties had to be taken and decisions were put into Mike’s Bikes without unanimous consent of the group, and compromises had to be made, but this is merely something I have come to learn is unavoidable in this simulation (and perhaps in my future career, I have little doubt I will look back on this course and realise many of the lessons I am learning have stayed with me for years).
Point being, we talked more than we have been in the past weeks. The six of us brainstormed separately what we saw as the most important things to focus upon, and then we worked on solutions together. In the hours before the rollover I felt confident that we were on the right track, the dog at the corner of the screen would get back on the bike and we would be in the clear, with rollover #2’s failure just a small bump in an overall successful journey.
I was wrong. Now the issue that faces me is much the same as weeks; a decrease, once again, in SHV, however the underlying cause of the problem is different. Miscommunication was not at fault here, perhaps the fact that our group merely employed single loop learning is. Chris Argyris defined one issue of single loop learning as that people see learning as mere problem solving, which does not go down to the roots of problems and provide room for adequate self-reflection and growth (Argyris, 1991). In his article he likens single loop learning to a thermostat turning off and on based on a pre-programmed temperature, merely doing as it is told. I feel that this may be where my group currently sits at – we identify a problem, determine how this problem may have come to be, brainstorm solutions, then put our solutions to use in order to hopefully see improved results as per we inferred we were meant to do from certain experiences and readings from the semester. However this may not be the best thing, or perhaps there is a hybrid process which we can employ.
From the second reading this week there is a particularly poignant example. As a team we need to consciously make and effort to move towards double loop learning, whilst still adequately reflection on our behaviour and experiences. The ‘on the balcony’ metaphor resonates because it is something my teammates and I must consciously keep in mind in order for this to happen (Synott, 2013). There are many distractions that surround us in (and out of) the simulation; other teams’ decisions, other classes, conflicting schedules and the like, but we must remove ourselves from the situation enough as for us to see what is happening in the big picture and identify the key trends, hence ‘on the balcony’ (Snynott, 2013). We must find the market trends – perhaps conduct a more up-to-date Porter’s examination – we must make guesses based on industry information about what kind of strategies others are making, we must look outside of our business as well as inside in order to gain a well rounded understanding of what is happening.
Mistakes happen, my group has not fallen in line with the consultants examined by Argyris who seem to not be able to see fault within themselves (Argyris, 1991). Our group members understand human nature and do not hide mistakes, nor place blame. Two bad weeks does not mean that we are bound for failure. With double loop learning and new, well-rounded reflections hopefully success in the simulation will come.
Argyris, C. (1991). Teaching smart people how to learn. Reflections, 4(2), 4—15
Synnott, M. (2013). Reflection and double loop learning: The case of HS2. Teaching Public Administration, 31(1), 124--134. doi:10.1177/0144739413479950