Harold Bridger’s Double Task has been the foundational methodology underpinning our existence at the Bayswater Institute for the past 25 years. We are excited about the potential it offers and we know, that we haven’t made the most of it yet. This year, in 2018, we are hoping to make it more accessible to more people, because we have found that it provides the key to improving effectiveness in groups, increasing tolerance in teams and ultimately improved performance at an organisational level.
The Double Task is deceptively simple at its core. It invites people to work on the purpose and task of the group (Task 1), at the same time as reflecting on how they are working together on that task (Task 2). The underlying belief is that by reflecting on and improving how they work together, they will achieve their ultimate object more easily and effectively.
It is simple but it is not easy. Inviting groups to reflect on how they work together can generate in-depth and powerful conversations. These have the potential to be transformational, if we can navigate our way through them to the learning.
Our task at BI is to support people to become better navigators, using a variety of processes, which we hope eventually individuals and groups will take on, use and develop for themselves.
We are calling our approach GroupAware. Our objective with GroupAware is to provide leaders with a rapid and exciting means to engage in the work of groups in a reflective manner and thereby to gain a clearer understanding of group dynamics. Our challenge is to steer a course between going deep enough for real change to take place, but not so deep that the group becomes mystified and stuck.
We find that some people do develop an interest in some of the underlying principles of the Double Task, which is rooted in socio-technical and psychodynamic theory, and they can subsequently delve as deep as they like. People at the BI are happy to facilitate this deeper exploration if required.
In our work developing a GroupAware approach within Wisdom in Groups, we have drawn some inspiration from the work of Jon Kabat Zinn. He was a pioneer in the development of Mindfulness, which has proved an immensely helpful practice for many people. Mindfulness has deep roots in Buddhism, and both psychoanalytic and psychological interventions such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. But Kabat Zinn developed it into a straightforward and simple practice. Mindfulness is an easy and useful gateway to a deep field as well as a valuable method in its own right.
Simon Bell A personal reflection on some of the origins of GroupAware – an essay