Doing the triple loop – profound leadership

Gandhi

Drucker

Peter F. Drucker asserted: "What's measured improves." I'm a sucker for measurement and organizational learning as you can see from the posts tagged as such here – perhaps it's something to do with my engineering training.

I advocate tapping extant business performance management process to effect the evolution towards social business (on this blog, on briansolis.com, on stoweboyd.com, in the Balanced Scorecard Report), and that means getting to grips with the Balanced Scorecard and similar approaches.

The lexicon of performance management often involves so-called single-loop and double-loop learning, but a third loop gets less airtime in my experience. So as we debate the types of organizational design conducive to the potential and aspirations of social business – in the Future of Work, Responsive Org and Enterprise 2.0 communities for example – I thought I'd post the following table outlining ways to think about the loops.

Single loop Double loop Triple loop
Are we doing things right? Are we doing the right things? What's right?
Learn new behaviour Learn new thinking Learn new beliefs / unlearn old
Acting Reframing Transforming
Management Leadership ?

Deming

W. Edwards Deming, a mathematics, engineering and management consultancy hero of mine, might help us fill in that lower right cell, the one with the question mark:

To successfully respond to the myriad of changes that shake the world, transformation into a new style of management is required. The route to take is what I call profound knowledge – knowledge for leadership of transformation.”

In other words, the question mark is leadership but of a more profound nature exhibiting higher levels of cognition. Perhaps leadership formed in part by our collective intelligence?

Interestingly, this is where measurement gets a little tricky to say the least, even with the latest cutting edge technologies. Drucker again:

Your first role . . . is the personal one. It is the relationship with people, the development of mutual confidence, the identification of people, the creation of a community. This is something only you can do. It cannot be measured or easily defined. But it is not only a key function. It is one only you can perform.

Gandhi

I'll finish with this quote from Mahatma Mohandras Gandhi:

Your beliefs become your values

Your values become your thoughts

Your thoughts become your words

Your words become your actions

Your actions become your habits

Your habits become your destiny

Now I'm wondering if I'm a sucker for measurement because I'm an engineer, or I'm an engineer because I believe in the scientific method and its application.

[Photo credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Mahatma_Gandhi_laughing.jpeg]

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