Sometimes friends send me articles.
I always like getting them even if the content of the articles makes it clear that I am probably not doing something I probably should be doing in order to achieve something I have told them I want to achieve.
More rarely, articles arrive that appear to point out when I am already doing something I should be doing.
This of course is very cool.
Recently a friend sent me an article called “Secret Ingredient for Success.” Originally published by The New York Times, the article described two types of learning: “single loop” and “double loop.”
As defined by Harvard business professor Chris Argyris, “single loop” learning is “an insular mental process in which we consider possible external or technical reasons for obstacles.”
In other words, with this type of learning we don’t really learn anything, except how good we are getting at blaming other people and external circumstances for our failure.
Contrast this with “double loop” learning, where according to Argyris we “question every aspect of our approach, including our methodology, biases and deeply held assumptions.”
About “double loop” learning, article co-authors Camille Sweeney and Josh Gosfield write, “This more psychologically nuanced self-examination requires that we honestly challenge our beliefs and summon the courage to act on that information, which may lead to fresh ways of thinking about our lives and our goals.”
Clearly, this second type of learning comes highly recommended.
More importantly, however, I was excited to realize while reading that I am already a “double loop learner” (if such a term exists). I was also excited to realize there was terminology to describe the sometimes brutal process of self-inquiry I put myself through with the help of mentors, coaches and trusted friends, and that I am not the only one who does this, and that doing this is actually a good thing.
Most of all, I was excited to read that double loop learning works – for celebrities including tennis star Martina Navratilova, Brit pop band OK Go, restauranteur David Chang and (I would assume) Harvard business professor Chris Argyris and article …