Welcome to the first The Guardian Academy (TGA) Foundations article. In this training we will cover open loops and how to teach smart people how to learn.
Getting The Most Out of TGA
We have a saying within TGA:
In order to participate and get the most out of TGA we need to be able to learn and experience things as we learn them. This can be an extremely difficult task for smart people. This might seem counter intuitive but as adults (who are also smart) they have a hard time learning new things. We will reason through this as we continue through the article. “Teaching Smart People How To Learn” – Harvard Business Review this will be linked at the bottom in the reference section for you to check out.
Intro: Open Loops And The 6WU
These two will be important concepts that will show up repeatedly in your TGA journey. Developing an understanding will build your shared language with the community allowing for increased participation. Increased participation leads to improved learning and overall a greater impact.
Concept: Open Loops And Double Loop Learning
Open loops= Uncertainty.
Something that has been presented to you that leads to uncertainty and the natural instinct is to close the loop.
Human nature doesn’t deal well with the unknown. The problem is that this leads to a lot of single loop learning.
(Yes, yes, lots of loops in this).
How many of you went to go google what “Open Loop” and “Double Loop Learning” was?
This would be an attempt at trying to “close the loop”. The person went to go find an answer in an attempt to solve the problem. A single loop.
This lacked reflection, observation, discussion (about what it would mean to you and how you might recognize it in the real world), it was an attempt to capture that “A HA, I got it” moment.
When a loop is opened we want to try and do double, triple, or even quadruple loop learning.
Useful > Valid Or Helpful > Right
Smart people (determined by tests and validated by others) generally develop an identity around being valid or right. As they continue to get things right and are praised for the validity this then continues the cycle and maintains their identity of being smart.
Unfortunately this is not always the most useful response and if these people losing a part of their identity it usually ends with a doom loop- spiraling out of control.
A little shift here the members of TGA will look for what is useful or helpful. You may not have the answer right now, you don’t need to come up with a valid point at this time, step back and see what the most useful behavior or suggestion is in this scenario.
How Do We Do That?
Single Loop Learning: “I get it. I can now prove I’m smart/right.” Not high utility, there are plenty of people who can answer correctly on a test, but completely fail to recognize it in their day to day life. There is no actual benefit to them.
Double Loop Learning
Step 1: Lesson or Resource– Something new is brought up to you that you do not understand fully. Instead of googling an answer trying to find something that fits we instead go to step 2.
Step 2: Reflect, Journal, Observe Reality, Discuss– You can think about it, journal, reflect, and most importantly observe reality and discuss. Is it valid or is it useful?
Step 3: Back To Source, Repeat– Take however much time that you believe is appropriate on step 2 before proceeding to step 3. If done right, your operating system will have changed a bit and now you should see the same material slightly different. This is because you are a different person now. You can repeat this as many times as you want to, over and over again each time taking something slightly different away.
This 3 step process is how we should be operating within TGA.
- Watch a video/read an article.
- Reflect, journal, get in groups with other TGA members and discuss.
- Come back to the source and review the material again.
Wisdom Comes From Multiple Perspectives
If we can understand double loop learning and that wisdom comes from multiple perspectives this leads us to TGA tool The 6 word update (6WU).
The 6 Word Update (6WU)
This originally came from Randy Massengale (senior advisor to Bill gates in the 90s) who uses this all the time. Whenever you watch a new video, read an article, learn something new being able to summarize it in 6 words.
Can you take what you just learned and distill it into 6 words?
If a person is unable to take what they just learned and distill it into 6 words it is unfair to think that they would be able to modify their behavior (and if they can’t modify their behavior then it’ll be impossible to achieve the change they are looking for.) Think of a 6WU as a micro step toward modifying your behavior.
Here’s how to really maximize the experience.
Here are some 6WUs for this article/video. You can add your 6WU to the thread and after doing that go and read through what others have also said on the topic. Wisdom comes from multiple perspectives.