Exec. Summary "Teaching Smart People How to Read"

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Memo Date: August 25, 2013 To: Jamie Granger From: Olivia Okuma Subject: Executive Summary of the Article “Teaching Smart People How to Learn” The Learning Dilemma The following paper is an Executive Summary of the article “Teaching Smart People How to Learn”, by Chris Argyris. The article examines how professionals lack the ability to learn. The issue is more prevalent in successful professionals because they do not know how to deal with failure appropriately, due to limited or no coping skills. When placed in difficult situations, professionals become defensive, therefore blocking the process of learning. Professionals can be taught how to learn, but in order for this change to be successful it needs to start with upper management. It is essential for senior managers to adapt and learn to reason with their employees, in order for learning to take place in the lower tiers. How Professionals Avoid Learning Perfect examples of professionals who are unable to learn are consultants with M.B.A. degrees from top business schools in the U.S. It appears contradictory, yet they fit the profile due to their success. There are two categories of learning: “single loop and “double loop”. “Single loop” describes the way these professionals learn, which is ineffective. “Double loop” digs deeper into the problem; it is a more thoughtful process that uses reason. Case Study 1 Consulting professionals were placed in situations where they met with their manager and evaluated themselves. They became threatened, causing them to react defensively. The professionals blamed everyone but themselves. The manager spoke about what he could have done better. However, when asked what they could have done more effectively, the professionals continued placing the liability for failure on the client and their own manager. It appeared that the

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