Team Learning Senge: Chapter 12 THE FIFTH DISCIPLINE The Potential of Wisdom Teams 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 19 February, 2000 Prepared by James R. Burns Alignment A necessary condition for EMPOWERMENT – Empowering non-aligned individuals worsens the chaos and makes managing the team even more difficult For Jazz musicians, it is called “being in the groove” 19 February, 2000 Prepared by James R. Burns Alignment and Synergism Meetings will last for hours, yet fly by No one remembers who said what, but knowing we had really come to a shared understanding Of never having to vote 19 February, 2000 Prepared by James R. Burns Team Learning: A definition The process of aligning and developing the capacity of a team to create the results its members truly desire It builds on the capacity of shared vision It also builds on personal mastery Knowing how to play together Teams are the key learning unit in organizations 19 February, 2000 Prepared by James R. Burns The Discipline of Team Learning The team’s accomplishments can set the tone and establish a standard for learning together for the larger organization Has three critical dimensions 19 February, 2000 Prepared by James R. Burns Three critical dimensions 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 Second, there is a need for innovative, coordinated action 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 19 February, 2000 Prepared by James R. Burns The discipline of team learning Is a collective one 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.” Involves mastering the practices of dialogue and discussion 19 February, 2000 Prepared by James R. Burns Dialogue and Discussion Are potentially complementary, but most teams lack the ability to distinguish between the two 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 19 February, 2000 Prepared by James R. Burns Skills!! Dialogue Inquiry 19 February, 2000 Discussion Reflection Prepared by James R. Burns Defensive postures Systems thinking is especially prone to evoking defensiveness because of its central message, that our actions create our reality The problems we perceive are caused by our actions, not by external, exogenous forces outside of us 19 February, 2000 Prepared by James R. Burns Practice The discipline of team learning requires practice Teams do not practice enough, generally A great play or great orchestra does not happen without practice Neither does a great sports team Such teams learn by continual movement between performance and practice 19 February, 2000 Prepared by James R. Burns The State of Team Learning TL is poorly understood We cannot describe the phenomenon well--no measures There are no overarching theories We cannot distinguish team learning from groupthink There are few reliable methods for building team learning 19 February, 2000 Prepared by James R. Burns Need for Team Learning Has never been greater Complexity of today’s problems demands it Actions of teams must be innovative and coordinated 19 February, 2000 Prepared by James R. Burns Skills Underlying Team Learning Team Learning Personal Mastery 19 February, 2000 Shared Vision Prepared by James R. Burns Systems Thinking Werner Heisenberg Science is rooted in conversations Cooperation of different people may culminate in scientific results of the utmost importance Collectively, we can be more insightful, more intelligent than we can possibly be individually 19 February, 2000 Prepared by James R. Burns David Bohm A leading quantum theorist Developed a theory and method of “dialogue” when a group “becomes open to the flow of a larger intelligence Quantum theory implies that the universe is basically an indivisible whole 19 February, 2000 Prepared by James R. Burns Bohm’s recent research on dialogue 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 Reminiscent of systems thinking which calls attention to how behavior is often the consequence of our own actions as guided by our perceptions 19 February, 2000 Prepared by James R. Burns Bohm on the PURPOSE OF SCIENCE not the accumulation of knowledge, since all scientific theories are eventually proved false Rather, the creation of mental maps that guide and shape our perception and action, bringing about a constant “mutual participation between nature and consciousness” 19 February, 2000 Prepared by James R. Burns Bohm’s most distinctive contribution Thought is “largely a collective phenomenon” Analogy between the collective properties of electrons vs. way our thoughts work Leads to an understanding of the general counter productiveness of thought 19 February, 2000 Prepared by James R. Burns Bohm’s contribution, continued “our thought is incoherent… and the resulting counter-productiveness lies at the root of the world’s problems” Prepared by James R. Burns More Bohm As electrons, we must look on thought as a systemic phenomena arising from how we interact and discourse with one another 19 February, 2000 Prepared by James R. Burns Dialogue and Discussion Suspending assumptions Seeing each other as colleagues A Facilitator Who Holds the Context of Dialogue Balancing Dialogue and Discussion Reflection, Inquiry and Dialogue 19 February, 2000 Prepared by James R. Burns Dialogue and Discussion Their power lies in their synergy No synergy without an understanding of their distinctions DISCUSSION--like a ping/pong game where the topic gets hit around – subject is analyzed and diagnosed from many points of view Emphasis is on winning--having one’s view accepted by the group 19 February, 2000 Prepared by James R. Burns More Dialogue and Discussion A sustained emphasis on winning is not compatible with giving first priority to coherence and truth To bring about a change of priorities from “winning” to “pursuit of the truth”, a dialogue is necessary 19 February, 2000 Prepared by James R. Burns Dialogue From the Greek, it means “through the meaning”; “meaning passing or moving through” Through dialogue, a group accesses a larger “pool of common meaning” which cannot be accessed individually. “The whole organizes the parts” 19 February, 2000 Prepared by James R. Burns More Dialogue Purpose is not to win, but to go beyond any one individual’s understanding In dialogue, individuals gain insights that simply could not be gained individually In dialogue, individuals explore difficult, complex issues from many points of view Dialogue reveals the incoherence in our thought 19 February, 2000 Prepared by James R. Burns The Purpose of Dialogue To reveal the incoherence in our thought--three types of incoherence Thought denies that it is participative Thought stops tracking reality and just goes, like a program We misperceive the thoughts as our own, because we fail to see the stream of collective thinking from which they arise Thought establishes its own standard of reference for fixing problems 19 February, 2000 Prepared by James R. Burns Incoherent thought Thought stands in front of us and pretends that it does not represent We become trapped in the theater of our thoughts Dialogue is a way of helping people to “see the representative and participative nature of thought” In dialogue, people become observers of their own thinking 19 February, 2000 Prepared by James R. Burns Suspending Assumptions [HOLDING THEM IN FRONT OF YOU] Difficult because thought deludes us into a view that this is the way it is 19 February, 2000 Prepared by James R. Burns Seeing each other as Colleagues Necessary because thought is participative Necessary to establish a positive tone and offset the vulnerability that dialogue brings Does not mean that you need to agree or share the same views 19 February, 2000 Prepared by James R. Burns Dialogue, Colleagues, and Hierarchy Choosing to view “adversaries” as “colleagues with different views” has the greatest benefits Hierarchy is antithetical to dialogue, yet is difficult to escape in organizations 19 February, 2000 Prepared by James R. Burns Dialogue, Colleagues, and Hierarchy People who are used to holding the prevailing view because of their senior position, must surrender that privilege in dialogue, AND CONVERSELY Dialogue must be playful--playing with the ideas, evaluating and testing them Prepared by James R. Burns A Facilitator Who “Holds the Context” of Dialogue In the absence of a skilled facilitator, our habits pull us toward discussion and away from dialogue Carries out many of the basic duties of a good “process facilitator” 19 February, 2000 Prepared by James R. Burns A Facilitator, Continued But the facilitator is allowed to influence the flow of development simply through participating As teams develop skill in dialogue, the role of the facilitator becomes less crucial Prepared by James R. Burns Balancing Dialogue and Discussion Discussion is the necessary counterpart of dialogue In discussion different views are presented and defended, which may provide a useful analysis of the whole situation In dialogue, different views are presented as a means toward discovering aPrepared newby James view 19 February, 2000 R. Burns Dialog Vs. Discussion Dialogue established the view that leads to courses of action Discussion leads to new courses of action without establishing that new view Teams that dialogue regularly develop a deep trust that cannot help but carry over to discussion 19 February, 2000 Prepared by James R. Burns Dealing with “Current Reality”: Conflict, and Defensive Routines An overbearing, charismatic, and intimidating posture Craig Bean: his experiences at TI and why TI does not today own any share in the huge personal computer business Is there a conflict between alignment and being open to dialogue??? 19 February, 2000 Prepared by James R. Burns Great Teams vs. Mediocre Teams A team that is continually learning is the visible conflict of ideas In great teams, conflict becomes productive, inducing the need for ongoing dialogue Argyris: the difference between great teams and mediocre teams lies in how they face conflict and deal with the defensiveness that invariably surrounds conflict 19 February, 2000 Prepared by James R. Burns Defensive Routines Entrenched habits we use to protect ourselves from the embarrassment and threat that come with exposing our thinking. Form a protective shell around our deepest assumptions Forceful, articulate, intimidating CEO’s Cannot be seen 19 February, 2000 Prepared by James R. Burns Defensive Routines In some organizations, to have incomplete or faulty understanding is a sign of weakness or incompetence IT IS SIMPLY UNACCEPTABLE FOR MANAGERS TO ACT AS THOUGH THEY DO NOT KNOW WHAT IS CAUSING A PROBLEM To protect their belief, managers must close themselves to alternative views and make themselves uninfluenceable 19 February, 2000 Prepared by James R. Burns Defensive Routines Defensive becomes an accepted part of organizational culture We are the carriers of defensive routines and organizations are the hosts Defensive routines block the flow of energy in a team that might otherwise contribute toward a common vision 19 February, 2000 Prepared by James R. Burns A Shifting the Burden Archetype 19 February, 2000 Prepared by James R. Burns The Missing Link: Practice Team learning is a team skill A group of talented learners will not necessarily produce a learning team Learning teams learn how to learn together Team skills are more challenging to develop than individual skills Learning teams need practice fields 19 February, 2000 Prepared by James R. Burns Learning How to Practice Two distinct practice fields are developing 1) Practicing dialogue so that a team can begin to develop its joint skill in fostering a team IQ 2) Creating learning laboratories and microworlds computer supported environments where team learning confronts the dynamics of complex business realities 19 February, 2000 Prepared by James R. Burns Necessary conditions for Dialogue Sessions Have all members of the team come together Explain the ground rules of dialogue 19 February, 2000 Prepared by James R. Burns Necessary conditions, cont’d Enforce those ground rules – if anyone is not able to suspend his assumptions, the team acknowledges that is now discussing and not dialoguing 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 John MacCarthy’s Example Memo 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 19 February, 2000 Prepared by James R. Burns The conflict between R&D and Marketing New Product Development Two different strategies--make or buy – R&D took the MAKE view – Marketing took the BUY view – No meeting of the minds 19 February, 2000 Prepared by James R. Burns Results of the DataQuest Dialogue A 30-year first was healed The end-run that marketing had been doing to augment product lines was no longer necessary R&D and Marketing learned that they really wanted to work together, under one coordinated new-product development plan 19 February, 2000 Prepared by James R. Burns Team Learning and the Fifth Discipline All of the tasks of management teams involve wrestling with enormous complexity – developing strategy, shaping visions, designing policy and organizational structures Too often, however, teams confront this dynamic complexity with a language designed for simple, static problems 19 February, 2000 Prepared by James R. Burns Team Learning and the FD, Continued This accounts for why managers are so drawn to low-leverage interventions We see the world in simple obvious terms and implement simple, obvious solutions Prepared by James R. Burns Solution A new language for describing complexity Traditional languages--financial accounting, competitive analysis, total quality, and Shell’s scenario methods – None of these deals with dynamic complexity very well at all 19 February, 2000 Prepared by James R. Burns Solution, continued 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 System Archetypes When used in conversations about complex, conflictual issues, the objectify the conversation The focus in on the structure, the systemic forces at plan, not on personalities or leadership styles 19 February, 2000 Prepared by James R. Burns System Archetypes, Continued Makes it easier to discuss complex issues objectively and dispassionately Without a shared language for dealing with complexity, team learning is limited Prepared by James R. Burns Benefits of using the System Archetypes Common understanding of possible structural causes A way to easily communicate structure and behavior 19 February, 2000 Prepared by James R. Burns Copyright C 2000 by James R. Burns 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.