The Pain: Which of these drive you crazy?
- Too many fires to fight.
- Recurring problems defy solution.
- Long-term improvement doesn't get priority.
- We don't know if TQM provides the results it should.
- People go along, but don't participate wholeheartedly.
- Meetings are boring & start late.
- We tried "team building" ... but it didn't seem to work.
- Conflicts drag on.
- We avoid discussing the "real" issues.
- You know what to do; it's frustrating that others remain unconvinced.
- Too many projects are either delayed or overrun budget.
- We try to grow, but can't seem to make it happen.
- We don't know if our strategy is effective ... we need to know sooner.
- Change is "the pits" ... we're too slow to adapt.
The problem is that organizations don't have mere problems, they have messes! We can help.
The Remedy: How can we overcome them?
By learning. So why don't we learn?
We don't learn because we don't set up the needed feedback. Often we don't know it's missing, how to productively think about it, or how to set it up.
|Single- and Double-Loop Learning. We don't learn without feedback.|
The figure shows the feedback associated with single- and double-loop learning. Single-loop learning (R1) is the principle behind TQM and a narrow definition of continuous improvement: observe a process, take corrective action, and then observe some more to learn and adapt. Excellent work.
Double-loop learning (R2) is a higher level of learning. We examine our thinking (our mental models) to learn how to make better decisions, even with the same data. We don't just adapt, we create new ways of doing things. It's generative, creating a new reality.
Systems thinking is the appropriate approach to relieve these stresses. Using methods based on systems thinking we can improve processes, organizations and learning ... all of which are vital for success. Learning Requires Languages, Brains, & Skills
Specific Remedies: What You Can Do
For Short-Term Improvement
For Medium-Term Improvement
For Long-Term Improvement
More: Practical Systems Thinking (287K)