Team Learning
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WHAT IS 'TEAM LEARNING'?
bulletTeam learning is more than individuals on a team who are continuously learning and upgrading their skills. It's also more than team members who are skilled at teaming - at being an effective team.
bulletTeam learning is the systematic ability of team members to raise their "collective IQ." That is, a team which has acquired this capacity for a special type of learning:
bullethas vocabulary, norms and procedures for challenging and changing its own assumptions;
bullethas tools for seeing the bigger picture of what is going on in its part of the system, and can communicate that to other parts of the system
bullethas mastered the disciplines of listening to one another, inquiring about underlying assumptions, and of slowing conversations down in order to reduce errors, establish shared vision and achieve results faster.
WHEN IS TEAM LEARNING IS NEEDED?
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The following behaviors characterize teams that could benefit from a Team Learning Lab:
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Only some team members take ownership for team results, for how well the team is functioning, or for the team’s learning and improvement

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Some members’ contributions are ignored, stifled or discounted

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One or more members feel uncomfortable expressing his/her ideas

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One or more team members complain about how the team is doing, or about the team leader, but fail to give their feedback to the leader or to the team 

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Attempts to collaborate are overshadowed by what individual “stars” contribute

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Team members do not feel free to challenge other members’ assumptions

WHAT IS A 'TEAM LEARNING LAB'?
bulletThe Team Learning Lab (TLL) is a modular, group-based program designed for intact teams. Implementation can be completed in a flexible manner in the work place. TLL materials comprise a self-paced team manual, a Coach Guide, and two video cassettes featuring commentary by Peter Senge, discussion of the team learning experience at Ford by former executives Nick Zeniuk and Fred Simon, and a series of vignettes illustrating various team learning concepts.
TEAM LEARNING LAB FORMAT
bulletThe Team Learning Lab is a flexible, 16-to-32 hour program [see note 1] comprised of four modules: 
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Module 1: Understanding Mental Models
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helps participants recognize and understand their “mental models” 

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helps participants learn how to create open, honest, and meaningful conversations through tools such as the Left Hand Column, Ladder of Inference, and Advocacy and Inquiry Protocols.

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Module 2: Applying Systems Thinking
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uses Systems Mapping and archetypes to enable people to describe work situations, have meaningful dialogue about them, and begin creative problem-solving.

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Module 3: Creating Shared Vision
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guides participants in building a shared vision for the future. 

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building on skills participants learn in Modules 1 and 2, Module 3 helps participants to get off the problem-solving treadmill and to leverage their efforts at bringing about systemic change.

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Module 4: Using the Tools
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integrates all the tools previously learned to create an Alignment Matrix. 
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The Alignment Matrix identifies specific outcomes and daily tasks needed to be accomplished to achieve results, and helps to align the work people do with their shared vision. 

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Inhibitors and enablers of these goals are addressed. 

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Leverage points are identified (by focusing on systemic structures).

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uses the Alignment Matrix to create a “Roadmap for Group Success.”

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Delivery Format:
bulletIn a typical Team Learning Lab, team members meet for four to eight half-day (i.e., 4-hour) sessions, spaced from one to two weeks apart. 
bulletAdditional sessions can be scheduled if team members feel they want additional practice time, or if they want in-depth study of a particular topic (such as Emotional Intelligence or “Personal Mastery”). 
bulletSupplemental materials to the Team Learning Lab Manual can be supplied (such as readings from the Fifth Discipline Fieldbook or similar articles for discussion and learning). 
bulletModule 3 may be followed by a one-day “Levels of Perspective” gap analysis, team visioning, and action planning exercise.

ADDITIONAL DESCRIPTION
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The TLL process allows learning teams to conduct their own "training" in short increments of time -- preferably over the course of weeks -- scheduled to minimize impact on work flow. 
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Sessions are designed to be self-facilitated by team members themselves, supported by a team learning coach. 

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Teams not only learn the content of Senge's Five Disciplines, but – by learning it as a team – they strengthen their team bond and get practice they need in reflection, discussion, and working effectively together. 

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TLL helps change the culture of a team so that team members practice team learning behaviors.

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Team members first learn – then practice together, some basic organizational learning principles. 
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They focus on gaining an understanding of their own mental models and learn how to create open, honest, meaningful conversations with others using tools such as the Left-Hand Column, the Ladder of Inference, and Advocacy and Inquiry Protocols. 

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Team members then learn about and practice systems thinking, making direct application to issues currently relevant to the team.

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Once team members have some specifics tools and have practiced applying these skills to their own work, they then tackle creating a shared vision.
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The team vision is critical in helping the team identify the specific outcomes necessary for achieving their vision. Identifying outcomes helps focus the team on examining their tasks – what they’re doing now that helps achieve the vision, tasks they’re doing that don’t contribute to their vision, what they’re not doing, etc.

bulletParticipants report that what they like about the Team Learning Lab is that they are coached through the program, not “taught.” 
bulletThey work directly with other team members applying new skills to current work issues, and they do so with new ground rules for working together in place.
bulletThey
bulletFor product information about TLL materials
bulletsee http://www.mrcomm.com/team/tll.html or 
bulletcontact MR Communications, +1.715.426.3354.
NOTE 1: It is potentially misleading to compare a 16-hour Team Learning Lab to another 16-hour training program. Up to 50% of session delivery time is spent holding discussions that are specifically focused on solving actual problems that the team is currently experiencing. These discussions are used then as the “laboratory” experience from which team members learn how they are operating as a team. Potential clients for Team Learning Lab should understand that only half the 16 hours, then, are “non-productive” (in the short term).

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