Leadership is about taking the time to step back from business and reflect upon already set goals and objectives in order to make sure they still make sense. This also applies to the systems and processes that are created but for many reasons, may no longer be effective. Time is one of the greatest obstacles for any leader. Whether you are a business owner, CEO, manager or even an “informal” leader, how often do you take the time to really focus on areas of concern, examine data, analyze what worked well or could have worked better on a project or with a client or prospect?

I read an article once that said “people work out of their existing mental models.” This being the case, when leaders do examine their current actions, they may achieve only incremental improvements because they “may take a potentially useful new practice and kill it with 1000 compromises, shaping the new practice to fit the old mental model.” At Soundboard, through the work that we do and the conversations that we have, every day we see people make a genuine effort to improve but they only know what they know, and the possibilities they see for improvement are “within the bounds of their current thinking.”

In situations as described above, our role is to understand the thinking and ultimately expand the possibilities. This can be accomplished using “double-loop learning,” a concept developed by philosopher Chris Argyris in which an individual or organization is able to modify a goal, objective, system or process for improvement even if it means starting from the beginning. Double-loop learning asks “Why do we think this is the right thing to do,” and involves scrutinizing values, thinking and assumptions.

Albert Einstein wrote “the thinking that got us here isn’t the thinking that’s going to get us where we need to be.” Is this true in your case? Do you even know?

If you want more information regarding the monthly learning environment within which we discussed this concept, do not hesitate to reach out to us!