Another marginal week for my team. This week has been characterized by a bit of frustration around some of our decisions we made as a team and the processes we went through to make these decisions. One of the key issues we faced we our production and capacity far exceeded what we required. This had a multitude of flow on effects for my team. We had too many bikes which meant storage costs, these bikes need selling in the next rollover, it also meant we were wasting a large amount of money. My goal for this week was to get back to how we were performing in the early weeks. Kinda similar to a throwback #tbt, #ThrowBackThursady, #yolo. We needed to get the buzz back in the team. We had a good roll on and now it seems like we have slumped a bit. To do this my team and I have implements a range of strategies relating to what we have learnt previously in this course.
This first of these to actively reflect on what made us so good in the first few rollovers. This involved going back to our good friend Daudelin and his reflection model. As ‘R&D guy’ I stepped back and looked at what decisions we made over the first few weeks. I tried to find a relationship between our decisions are our successes. I also looked back upon the process we went through as a team. What I realized was that we were more ambitious and risk taking in the early stages. Our recent cautiousness may be one of the reasons we are failing to continue on our successful trend. As well as this I did some deep reflection on what has gone wrong over the past few weeks. As a result, I have made some changes to plug some holes and fix some stuff ups.
Following this, me and a the marketing guy decided to go on a journey of double loop learning. We looked beyond the techniques we were employing to drive sales and improve everything and looked into our motivations behind these decisions. We came to some somewhat laughable realization. After the first few weeks we were on top of the world both in a figurative and literal sense. As a result we had cash to burn. We had a large margin of safety in terms of distance between us and the other firms in our market. We didn’t get cocky, but we got a little bit ‘cash happy’. This meant decisions were made purely because we could afford it even though it might not align its self with our real goal. Following this our motivations changed again. The turn of our motivations was based around our slight instability and our decreasing profit, this scared us. The double looping we did made us realize the reasons we were making our decisions was purely because we didn’t want to lose. Although we liked to think we were making positive and ambitious decisions, in reality we lost sight of the finished line and started looking at what those behind we doing. This resulted in some ugly pessimistic decisions that were not characteristic of our team. We planned to change these ideas and get back on the right track.
-----It is now 5:00 pm Thursday and I am checking the results, wish me luck.-------
I feel like all my hopes and dreams have been crushed haha. Our decline has unfortunately continued (to a lesser extent but still continued).
In terms of the Daudelins reflection model, my team and I have successfully learned from our errors. Learning though experience seems to be a lot easier when the experiences are negative. It is a lot easier to articulate what is going wrong. My reflection on why we were doing well was a lot harder and in some ways unsuccessful especially with such a dynamic, changeable context. I feel this is one of the limitations of learning through reflection. Although the learning is great, in some cases it looses relevance in a changing environment, and having an understanding before something might be more important. Another critique is how difficult it is to understand why things area going well, it is a lot easy to spot areas of weakness compared to areas of strength, especially wth the limited knowledge we have of the complexity of the decisions the teams around us are making.
In terms of double loop learning, I felt it was a very valuable process and extremely eye opening and interesting. However, knowing is great, knowing didn’t fix anything. I made an error to this that smiley having a new understanding of why things were happening the way they were would be sufficient enough for change to occur, in reality, I believe the team needed to come together and discuss what this means for us and how to implement this in future decisions and how we can avoid these flawed underlying assumptions.
Daudelin, M. W. 1996. Learning from experience through reflection. Organizational Dynamics 24(3): 36-48.
Synnott, M. (2013). Reflection and double loop learning: The case of HS2. Teaching Public Administration, 31(1), 124--134.