Again?” Frustration is the emotion evoked when I see yet another financial scandal. “Really?” More frustration, when I see another firm struggling with one of the ‘big 6’ challenges all organisations commonly encounter: inefficiency, ineffectiveness, disengaged employees, failed change projects, struggling to retain talent, and transactional leadership (aka management).

Why do we encounter performance issues like this? It’s because we fail to learn. And, to mash-up a famous cliché, ‘failing to learn is learning to fail.’

Think about it this way … most people who use gyms aren’t following a program to effect change. They do the same pattern of exercise week-in, week-out. They tinker with their diet. Some drink lots of protein shakes. A few change their diet. The exceptional few know what they’re doing. They identify what works. They make changes. They improve. Others hire a personal trainer. They set goals, recognise the need for change and make it. They monitor performance. They learn from experience. They learn from their successes (personal bests). They learn from failures (too many repetitions, too many sets, too little or too much weight, exercises that hurt). Their successes and failure are ‘moments of truth.’

They learn from moments of truth. Everyone can.

Moments of truth are those ‘ah-ha’ or particularly those ‘oh-no’ moments we all have in social and work life. Often as not we don’t learn from them or if we do it’s usually tinkering to fix up the symptoms. We rarely take a close look at what we can learn and what we can really need to change. That’s because we often don’t have the skill set or set aside the time to take a hard look, learn and break habitual, bad, behavioural loops.

These ‘strange loops’ are what give rise to financial scandals and the ‘big 6’ organisational challenges. We don’t question behaviours consciously. Yet, it is something that we can learn to do.

Looping the loop is a matter of asking more beautiful questions on a regular basis. Having identified a good or bad moment in our day, ask:

  1. What happened?

  2. How do you feel?

  3. What was the cause?

  4. What needs to change?

  5. What could you do differently?

  6. What are the consequences of change?

Select the change or changes you think will work. Make them. Watch them.

You can learn from moments of truth. You just need to ask the right questions and act.

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