Sometimes people wonder about whether scaling questions aren't too simple to be used in complex real life situations. In complex real life situations there is often a situation when there multiple goals instead of only on goal (like improving commercial skills). Moreover, often these goals are interrelated in one way or the other, or they maybe be competing with each other. An example may be the case of a company in which one group advocated the use of proactive environmental practices. For instance, they objected to the abundant use of plastic covers around certain products. Another group in this company objected to this groups saying that the focus of the company should be achieving financial goals. The tension between these two groups grew to rather unpleasant proportions when members of both groups started accusing each other of all kinds of bad intentions and behaviors. A solution-focused coach was hired to solve this matter. To everyone's surprise, the parties were again on speaking terms within one session and fully cooperating with in two brief sessions. What happened?
The first thing the coach did was to listen carefully to both parties trying to understand their goals. After that, the coach suggested a framework in which the relationship between both goals was visualized (see below).
Next, he asked the group whether this scale represented their goals adequately, to which all of them could agree. Then he asked then to consider this scale and discuss with each other where they saw themselves now on this scale. Then he used all the familiar parts of the scaling questions. A bit to their own surprise the group members started to agree more and more and discovered that there were some very interesting opportunities to improve both environmental and financial performance at once. For instance, they indeed started to use less plastic covers which was not only desirable from an environmental standpoint but also lowered direct costs and production time. One member called these 'low hanging fruits'. What is interesting is that, in the second session, the group became more united. The financial people showed increasing enthusiasm for the environmental goal and vice versa.