Bringing Peace to Your Team


In my last post I wrote about team leaders who have inner joy and how this quality helps them to be more effective team leaders and managers. In this post I want to take the idea a step further and describe the leader who brings peace to his or her team.


I’ve found that two qualities really matter in this area. First, the leader understands the dynamics of organizational change and the right way to sustain improvement within the team, company or ministry.  My friend and co-author, Ron Potter, refers to this as the “Triple Loop”. Secondly, and I’ll handle this in my next post, the leader “makes meaning” for the people on the team.

Let’s talk about the Triple Loop:

In organizations or teams there are three basic orientations – Status Quo, Process Improvement and Learning. All three orientations are working toward something but as things (the economy, the environment, the greater organization etc.) change they need to react to the change or fix problems. Status quo teams simply fix problems as they occur. They solve the immediate problem, but not the root cause or the “why” of the problem.  This team’s loop is “fix problems – doing the work – results – fix problems – doing the work…” It’s a tiring cycle for any team with little or no progress toward real change.

An orientation towards process improvement forces change of the root cause of the problem. Team leadership analyzes the problem, and they try to eliminate the recurrence of the problem. This team’s loop is systems & processes – redesign process – doing the work – systems & processes – redesign process – doing he work…” This can cause team confusion and a never-ending cycle of process change and little real change.

In a learning environment the team can seek information about the problem, make informed choices or decisions and develop accountability for new design and implementation.  The team not only improves quality, but also improves the quality of thinking and team interactions. The learning environment’s focus is on changing the underlying organizational beliefs, assumptions and values that caused the problem. Instead of just attacking the problem, or fixing the problem, this leader’s and their team are changing the culture. They are not just putting a band-aid on the problem; they are changing the underlying beliefs and attitudes that caused it. They are building a new culture based on alignment and the current learning. When current learning changes, they have the freedom to change again, not just fix processes or create work-arounds. It’s radical surgery, but necessary for organizations and teams to effectively and continuously grow. It’s necessary for team peace because suddenly team members aren’t just fixing problems, but instead strategically looking at issues and thinking through the greater possibilities.

How does your team or organization react? Do you just do short-term fixes? Are you constantly changing or refining processes? Or are you listening, learning and making the culture changing decisions that will truly move you to expansion, growth and team well-being?


3 Responses to “Bringing Peace to Your Team”

  1. Ron Potter says:

    Wayne, thanks for the Triple-Loop reference but I must give credit where credit is due. The Triple-Loop leaning process theory was the original work of Gregory Bateson, and extended by Chris Argyris and Peter Senge. It’s a great concept and I believe is also needed for Prudence: Making Right Decisions that I referenced in the Unconditional, Positive Regard post comment.
    Your writing partner.
    Ron Potter

  2. First of all,thank you to “Ron Potter”,
    To shared this unique ideas about team building.

  3. Paul Arnold says:

    I would find it incredibly helpful to have the Triple loop fleshed out and what biblical references can add insight how to go from the process improvement orientation to a on-going, lasting learning orientation. Our church staff has spent the last six months (two retreats, meetings with a outside facilitator, private meetings/evaluations to get beyond basic trust issues to a true culture shift within the staff first and eventually with the church.

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