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Team Learning Senge: Chapter 12 THE FIFTH DISCIPLINE.

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Presentation on theme: "Team Learning Senge: Chapter 12 THE FIFTH DISCIPLINE."— Presentation transcript:

1 Team Learning Senge: Chapter 12 THE FIFTH DISCIPLINE

2 19 February, 2000Prepared by James R. Burns The Potential of Wisdom Teams n Bill Russell’s Experience of Alignment and Synergism –His play would rise to a new level –He would be in the white heat of competition, yet not feel competitive –Every fake, cut and pass would be surprising, yet nothing could surprise me –Like we were playing in slow motion

3 19 February, 2000Prepared by James R. Burns Alignment n A necessary condition for EMPOWERMENT –Empowering non-aligned individuals worsens the chaos and makes managing the team even more difficult n For Jazz musicians, it is called “being in the groove”

4 19 February, 2000Prepared by James R. Burns Alignment and Synergism n Meetings will last for hours, yet fly by n No one remembers who said what, but knowing we had really come to a shared understanding n Of never having to vote

5 19 February, 2000Prepared by James R. Burns Team Learning: A definition n The process of aligning and developing the capacity of a team to create the results its members truly desire n It builds on the capacity of shared vision n It also builds on personal mastery n Knowing how to play together n Teams are the key learning unit in organizations

6 19 February, 2000Prepared by James R. Burns The Discipline of Team Learning n The team’s accomplishments can set the tone and establish a standard for learning together for the larger organization n Has three critical dimensions

7 19 February, 2000Prepared by James R. Burns Three critical dimensions n First, there is a need to think insightfully about complex issues –Teams must learn how to tap the potential for many minds to be more intelligent than one mind n Second, there is a need for innovative, coordinated action n Third, there is the role of team members on other teams –A learning team fosters other learning teams through inculcating the practices and skills of team learning

8 19 February, 2000Prepared by James R. Burns The discipline of team learning n Is a collective one n It is meaningless to say that “I,” as an individual, am mastering the discipline of team learning –In the same sense that it is meaningless to say “I am mastering the practice of being a great jazz ensemble.” n Involves mastering the practices of dialogue and discussion

9 19 February, 2000Prepared by James R. Burns Dialogue and Discussion n Are potentially complementary, but most teams lack the ability to distinguish between the two n Teams must learn how to deal creatively with the powerful forces opposing productive dialogue and discussion –Argyris: defensive routines--ways of interacting that protect us from threat or embarrassment, but which also prevent us from learning

10 19 February, 2000Prepared by James R. Burns Skills!! Inquiry Reflection DialogueDiscussion

11 19 February, 2000Prepared by James R. Burns Defensive postures n Systems thinking is especially prone to evoking defensiveness because of its central message, that our actions create our reality n The problems we perceive are caused by our actions, not by external, exogenous forces outside of us

12 19 February, 2000Prepared by James R. Burns Practice n The discipline of team learning requires practice n Teams do not practice enough, generally n A great play or great orchestra does not happen without practice n Neither does a great sports team n Such teams learn by continual movement between performance and practice

13 19 February, 2000Prepared by James R. Burns The State of Team Learning n TL is poorly understood n We cannot describe the phenomenon well--no measures n There are no overarching theories n We cannot distinguish team learning from groupthink n There are few reliable methods for building team learning

14 19 February, 2000Prepared by James R. Burns Need for Team Learning n Has never been greater n Complexity of today’s problems demands it n Actions of teams must be innovative and coordinated

15 19 February, 2000Prepared by James R. Burns Skills Underlying Team Learning Team Learning Personal Mastery Shared Vision Systems Thinking

16 19 February, 2000Prepared by James R. Burns Werner Heisenberg n Science is rooted in conversations n Cooperation of different people may culminate in scientific results of the utmost importance n Collectively, we can be more insightful, more intelligent than we can possibly be individually

17 19 February, 2000Prepared by James R. Burns David Bohm n A leading quantum theorist n Developed a theory and method of “dialogue” when a group “becomes open to the flow of a larger intelligence n Quantum theory implies that the universe is basically an indivisible whole

18 19 February, 2000Prepared by James R. Burns Bohm’s recent research on dialogue n A unique synthesis of the two major intellectual currents –systems or holistic view of nature –interactions between our internal models and our perceptions and actions n Reminiscent of systems thinking which calls attention to how behavior is often the consequence of our own actions as guided by our perceptions

19 19 February, 2000Prepared by James R. Burns Bohm on the PURPOSE OF SCIENCE n not the accumulation of knowledge, since all scientific theories are eventually proved false n Rather, the creation of mental maps that guide and shape our perception and action, bringing about a constant “mutual participation between nature and consciousness”

20 19 February, 2000Prepared by James R. Burns Bohm’s most distinctive contribution n Thought is “largely a collective phenomenon” n Analogy between the collective properties of electrons vs. way our thoughts work n Leads to an understanding of the general counter productiveness of thought

21 Bohm’s contribution, continued n “our thought is incoherent… and the resulting counter-productiveness lies at the root of the world’s problems” Prepared by James R. Burns

22 19 February, 2000Prepared by James R. Burns More Bohm n As electrons, we must look on thought as a systemic phenomena arising from how we interact and discourse with one another

23 19 February, 2000Prepared by James R. Burns Dialogue and Discussion n Suspending assumptions n Seeing each other as colleagues n A Facilitator Who Holds the Context of Dialogue n Balancing Dialogue and Discussion n Reflection, Inquiry and Dialogue

24 19 February, 2000Prepared by James R. Burns Dialogue and Discussion n Their power lies in their synergy n No synergy without an understanding of their distinctions n DISCUSSION--like a ping/pong game where the topic gets hit around –subject is analyzed and diagnosed from many points of view n Emphasis is on winning--having one’s view accepted by the group

25 19 February, 2000Prepared by James R. Burns More Dialogue and Discussion n A sustained emphasis on winning is not compatible with giving first priority to coherence and truth n To bring about a change of priorities from “winning” to “pursuit of the truth”, a dialogue is necessary

26 19 February, 2000Prepared by James R. Burns Dialogue n From the Greek, it means “through the meaning”; “meaning passing or moving through” n Through dialogue, a group accesses a larger “pool of common meaning” which cannot be accessed individually. n “The whole organizes the parts”

27 19 February, 2000Prepared by James R. Burns More Dialogue n Purpose is not to win, but to go beyond any one individual’s understanding n In dialogue, individuals gain insights that simply could not be gained individually n In dialogue, individuals explore difficult, complex issues from many points of view n Dialogue reveals the incoherence in our thought

28 19 February, 2000Prepared by James R. Burns The Purpose of Dialogue n To reveal the incoherence in our thought--three types of incoherence n Thought denies that it is participative n Thought stops tracking reality and just goes, like a program n We misperceive the thoughts as our own, because we fail to see the stream of collective thinking from which they arise n Thought establishes its own standard of reference for fixing problems

29 19 February, 2000Prepared by James R. Burns Incoherent thought n Thought stands in front of us and pretends that it does not represent n We become trapped in the theater of our thoughts n Dialogue is a way of helping people to “see the representative and participative nature of thought” n In dialogue, people become observers of their own thinking

30 19 February, 2000Prepared by James R. Burns Suspending Assumptions [HOLDING THEM IN FRONT OF YOU] [HOLDING THEM IN FRONT OF YOU] n Difficult because thought deludes us into a view that this is the way it is

31 19 February, 2000Prepared by James R. Burns Seeing each other as Colleagues n Necessary because thought is participative n Necessary to establish a positive tone and offset the vulnerability that dialogue brings n Does not mean that you need to agree or share the same views

32 19 February, 2000Prepared by James R. Burns Dialogue, Colleagues, and Hierarchy n Choosing to view “adversaries” as “colleagues with different views” has the greatest benefits n Hierarchy is antithetical to dialogue, yet is difficult to escape in organizations

33 Dialogue, Colleagues, and Hierarchy n People who are used to holding the prevailing view because of their senior position, must surrender that privilege in dialogue, AND CONVERSELY n Dialogue must be playful--playing with the ideas, evaluating and testing them Prepared by James R. Burns

34 19 February, 2000Prepared by James R. Burns A Facilitator Who “Holds the Context” of Dialogue n In the absence of a skilled facilitator, our habits pull us toward discussion and away from dialogue n Carries out many of the basic duties of a good “process facilitator”

35 A Facilitator, Continued n But the facilitator is allowed to influence the flow of development simply through participating n As teams develop skill in dialogue, the role of the facilitator becomes less crucial Prepared by James R. Burns

36 19 February, 2000Prepared by James R. Burns Balancing Dialogue and Discussion n Discussion is the necessary counterpart of dialogue n In discussion different views are presented and defended, which may provide a useful analysis of the whole situation n In dialogue, different views are presented as a means toward discovering a new view

37 19 February, 2000Prepared by James R. Burns Dialog Vs. Discussion n Dialogue established the view that leads to courses of action n Discussion leads to new courses of action without establishing that new view n Teams that dialogue regularly develop a deep trust that cannot help but carry over to discussion

38 19 February, 2000Prepared by James R. Burns Dealing with “Current Reality”: Conflict, and Defensive Routines n An overbearing, charismatic, and intimidating posture n Craig Bean: his experiences at TI and why TI does not today own any share in the huge personal computer business n Is there a conflict between alignment and being open to dialogue???

39 19 February, 2000Prepared by James R. Burns Great Teams vs. Mediocre Teams n A team that is continually learning is the visible conflict of ideas n In great teams, conflict becomes productive, inducing the need for ongoing dialogue n Argyris: the difference between great teams and mediocre teams lies in how they face conflict and deal with the defensiveness that invariably surrounds conflict

40 19 February, 2000Prepared by James R. Burns Defensive Routines n Entrenched habits we use to protect ourselves from the embarrassment and threat that come with exposing our thinking. n Form a protective shell around our deepest assumptions n Forceful, articulate, intimidating CEO’s n Cannot be seen

41 19 February, 2000Prepared by James R. Burns Defensive Routines n In some organizations, to have incomplete or faulty understanding is a sign of weakness or incompetence n IT IS SIMPLY UNACCEPTABLE FOR MANAGERS TO ACT AS THOUGH THEY DO NOT KNOW WHAT IS CAUSING A PROBLEM n To protect their belief, managers must close themselves to alternative views and make themselves uninfluenceable

42 19 February, 2000Prepared by James R. Burns Defensive Routines n Defensive becomes an accepted part of organizational culture n We are the carriers of defensive routines and organizations are the hosts n Defensive routines block the flow of energy in a team that might otherwise contribute toward a common vision

43 19 February, 2000Prepared by James R. Burns A Shifting the Burden Archetype

44 19 February, 2000Prepared by James R. Burns The Missing Link: Practice n Team learning is a team skill n A group of talented learners will not necessarily produce a learning team n Learning teams learn how to learn together n Team skills are more challenging to develop than individual skills n Learning teams need practice fields

45 19 February, 2000Prepared by James R. Burns Learning How to Practice n Two distinct practice fields are developing n 1) Practicing dialogue n so that a team can begin to develop its joint skill in fostering a team IQ n 2) Creating learning laboratories and microworlds n computer supported environments where team learning confronts the dynamics of complex business realities

46 19 February, 2000Prepared by James R. Burns Necessary conditions for Dialogue Sessions n Have all members of the team come together n Explain the ground rules of dialogue

47 Necessary conditions, cont’d n Enforce those ground rules –if anyone is not able to suspend his assumptions, the team acknowledges that is now discussing and not dialoguing n Make it possible for team members to raise the most difficult, subtle and conflictual issues essential to the team’s work Prepared by James R. Burns

48 19 February, 2000Prepared by James R. Burns John MacCarthy’s Example Memo n Session is the first in a series of DIALOGUES –to help clarify assumptions, programs, responsibilities –not to make decisions as much as to examine directions and the assumptions underlying them –to be together as colleagues

49 19 February, 2000Prepared by James R. Burns The conflict between R&D and Marketing n New Product Development n Two different strategies--make or buy –R&D took the MAKE view –Marketing took the BUY view –No meeting of the minds

50 19 February, 2000Prepared by James R. Burns Results of the DataQuest Dialogue n A 30-year first was healed n The end-run that marketing had been doing to augment product lines was no longer necessary n R&D and Marketing learned that they really wanted to work together, under one coordinated new-product development plan

51 19 February, 2000Prepared by James R. Burns Team Learning and the Fifth Discipline n All of the tasks of management teams involve wrestling with enormous complexity –developing strategy, shaping visions, designing policy and organizational structures n Too often, however, teams confront this dynamic complexity with a language designed for simple, static problems

52 Team Learning and the FD, Continued n This accounts for why managers are so drawn to low-leverage interventions n We see the world in simple obvious terms and implement simple, obvious solutions Prepared by James R. Burns

53 19 February, 2000Prepared by James R. Burns Solution n A new language for describing complexity n Traditional languages--financial accounting, competitive analysis, total quality, and Shell’s scenario methods –None of these deals with dynamic complexity very well at all

54 Solution, continued n Instead, consider the systems archetypes –These offer a potentially powerful basis for a language by which management teams can deal productively with complexity Prepared by James R. Burns

55 19 February, 2000Prepared by James R. Burns System Archetypes n When used in conversations about complex, conflictual issues, the objectify the conversation n The focus in on the structure, the systemic forces at plan, not on personalities or leadership styles

56 System Archetypes, Continued n Makes it easier to discuss complex issues objectively and dispassionately n Without a shared language for dealing with complexity, team learning is limited Prepared by James R. Burns

57 19 February, 2000Prepared by James R. Burns Benefits of using the System Archetypes n Common understanding of possible structural causes n A way to easily communicate structure and behavior

58 Copyright C 2000 by James R. Burns n All rights reserved world-wide. CLEAR Project Steering Committee members have a right to use these slides in their presentations. However, they do not have the right to remove this copyright or to remove the “prepared by….” footnote that appears at the bottom of each slide.


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