The double-loop model is critical in vertical leadership development.  Most leaders believe they are acting in ways that are inclusive and respect diversity.  Yet there are ongoing examples of people not feeling included, not feeling respected, and feeling singled out because of how they identify.  More work needs to be done to close the gap between leaders’ self-perception and others’ perception.

 

At IPS we focus on customizing engaging training experiences that help move organizations in the direction that they want to go. Often that means we utilize the Double Loop learning theory developed by Organizational Expert Chris Argyris. This means our training focuses on moving from implicit and unchallenged assumptions to explicitly identifying and questioning those underlying assumptions in light of our results and consequences.  “Does what I say match what I do and my underlying values?  If not, what does that mean and how does it affect how I should interact with others and do my job?”

 

In the training, participants are able to deal with double-loop problems that require dealing with their own defenses as human beings.  When participants want to react or have reacted in a situation, they are able to ask themselves, “Is this the way I always respond, and if so, how has it worked?”  If their reaction hasn’t worked, they have the opportunity to consider it from a different perspective or view of the situation.

 

Most importantly, after an interaction or event that might have gone better, true and honest dialogue, either with self or others, needs to occur though it often does not.  It is dismissed as a one-time occurrence or someone or something else is found to blame.   Worse yet, if nothing is said, no conversation occurs and those involved are robbed of the opportunity to examine the event to look for double-loop moments.  In any work environment, there is and should be a strong bond between employees which works both for and against them.  Adopting the practice of exploration of uncomfortable topics not usually discussed enhances trust among the employees and builds bridges with people outside the agency with whom they interact.  Our goal is to create a safe environment for participants to explore those areas where words don’t match actions.