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Double Loop Reflexion

In many working contexts, one can observe that mistakes are sorted out very skilfully after they have occurred (=singe loop – “How can we fix this mistake?”). There is nothing against this. A problem occurs, when this type of fire fighting is a permanent state, which can often be seen in organisations (if, for example, there is always a threat that the deadline will not be met and can only be rescued with a ‘task force’ and many weekends of overtime work). This indicates a lack of double loop reflection. This means that the question is asked: “What are the conditions, which enable this mistake to even happen?”. One then uses the mistake to prevent a repetition of the same problem. Then, one learns from the past for the future. One makes the system more robust. Lesson learned!
With this form of reflection, it is particularly important that an eye is kept on those communication forms, which go along with blame, excuses, justifications, declarations of impotence, claims of overload and by know-it-all solutions. They are indications of re-cultivation of patterns which bring forth the mistakes. To put it another way: cultivating mindfulness, feeling for the core of the matter, checking ideas and discarding them, questioning oneself, others and the status quo, secularising sacred cows and considering completely new or unaccustomed things, all these are needed and required to enable a team to find a form of communication, which makes double loop reflection more probable. This is almost never a success in itself, because teams and organisations frequently require ‘responsible parties’, i.e., delivery addresses for their mistakes, and, therefore, it encourages the defensive routines described above.