Has this ever happened to you?...
Team members think they understand the challenge they face, so they move forward with confidence. However, unexpected circumstances begin to occur. As the team gains more insight into what's really happening, they become overwhelmed and begin to doubt their abilities.
They find they don't understand one another as well as they originally believed. And to make matters worse, they discover that they're making choices and decisions based on wrong information. Forward progress grinds to a halt.
Experience how dynamic complexity in the team environment leads to a condition we call ”unlearning” -- the accumulation of false assumptions and degraded mental models. The learning process is flawed because the learning loops are open and unconnected. Closing The Loop closes the organizational learning feedback loops with purity -- developing the capacity to tune the system in motion.
Practice being in dialogue with the system to counteract fragmentation resulting from real-world effects. Build the capacity to compensate for communication breakdowns in existing systems and for creating new responsive learning structures that leverage system dynamics.
Closing The LoopTM teaches Systems Thinking and System Dynamics in a straightforward and inclusive manner. As a result you will develop an intuitive working knowledge of how delays and filters effect team learning.
Closing The Loop includes a new control box for the EM3 Electric Maze that incorporates programmable delay into the team learning environment. The entire Maze can be delayed, or when your existing EM3 control box is used in conjunction with the new delay control box, one-half of the Maze can be operated in the non-delay mode while the other half is operated in the variable delay mode. Closing The Loop includes scenarios that combine the standard control box for one-half of the Maze and the new delay control box for the other half of the Maze.
By delaying one-half of the EM3 Electric Maze carpet, two teams must cope with different levels of delayed communication / feedback. It is easy to demonstrate how organizational response effects a team's ability to learn quickly and completely. Often the fall-off in team performance observed in organizations can be attributed to a team's increasing ability to perform faster than the organization can respond.
Responsiveness and adaptability, the hallmarks of sustainable organizations, are achieved through true teamwork. Team members, working together to elicit one another's strengths while maintaining their own individual identities, can continuously sustain high learning rates. But careful attention must be given to the entire organizational system if teamwork is to be supported.
Team members learn by comparing perceived results of individual and collective actions with intended results. But through conditioning we've become blind to many real-world effects that make it difficult to associate a given result with the action that caused it. One such real-world effect is the time delay occurring naturally between actions and results. While delays are always present, we are encountering them more often due to increasing complexity and the accelerating pace of change. The situation is further compounded as higher performing teams begin to operate faster than the organizational system can respond.
Unless team members are aware of time delays and the effect they have on the dynamic learning environment, they'll be unable to correctly associate cause and effect leading to a condition called ”unlearning.” ”Unlearning” is not merely making room for new learning, but is a more serious condition marked by the rapid accumulation of false assumptions and superstitious learning The end result is a negative reinforcing loop characterized by confusion, mistrust, inhibited communication, and a degraded understanding of the human/business system. Awareness and understanding of learning feedback delays and their effect on team performance is the first step in creating positive reinforcing learning loops.
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