September 23, 2009

Internal and external desires for change

Solution-focused change is a deliberate change approach which you can use when there is a desire for change. When there is no explicit desire for change because things are working satisfactorily there is no need to deliberately change and you can keep things going the way there are going. In the words of the pioneers of the approach: “If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it.” A desire for change can be a problem or a wish. In the case of a problem there is something negative which is somehow bothering and causing dissatisfaction with the status quo. When there is a wish, things are going okay but there is an unfulfilled aspiration.

A desire for change can either be internal or external. An internal desire for change comes from within the individual. This is the case when the individual has a problem (he wants to get rid of something negative which is bothering him) or a wish (he wants to achieve something positive which is not yet there). An external desire for change comes from the outside. The individual is confronted with someone else (for instance a manager acting on behalf of an organization) demanding him to change. The table below show internal and external desires for change in relation to each other.
Here is a description of the quadrants:
  • Quadrant 0: the individual does not want change is also not confronted with someone else who demands him to change.
  • Quadrant 1: the individual does not want change but is confronted with someone else who demands him to change.
  • Quadrant 2: the individual wants change while he is not confronted with someone else demanding him to change.
  • Quadrant 3: the individual wants change and at the same time is confronted with an external demand for him to change.
Quadrant 0 requires no deliberate change effort. In all the other quadrants there is a desire for change and some kind of deliberate change effort is asked for. This deliberate change can be stopped when the status quo will have returned to quadrant 0. From each of the quadrants 1, 2, and 3 there are different imaginable paths to return to quadrant 0.

To be continued

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