November 29, 2011

Focus on usefulness and progress in solution-focused organizational change

Evaluation of organizational change is important. Evaluation helps us to get an idea of how successful something has been, what went right and what went wrong which is essential to determine further steps. But, in practice, evaluation is often problematic in the sense that it lacks precision, overaccentuates numbers and/or financial outcomes, focuses too much on problem causes, and is not found useful both to the people who provided the information and those who gathered it. The solution-focused approach to organizational change which focuses closely on progress and usefulness, seems to work better.

November 27, 2011

Facilitating employee involvement and participation in solution-focused organizational change

In the solution-focused approach, employees are viewed as capable and responsible people who want to and are able to make sensible decisions. Therefore, a starting point in the solution-focused approach to organizational change is to share decision making whenever possible. A change process is likely to be more acceptable and attractive to employees when they notice that they can participate in the decision making about 1) what should be changed and what not, 2) the definition of how things should become (the preferred future), and 3) how the change is made, especially with respect to their own work context. When employees have a say in these things their sense of autonomy will be supported and they will feel more competent and more involved with and related to the organization and its goals.

November 24, 2011

The change sparsity principle in solution-focused organizational change

A solution-focused starting point in deliberate organizational change is to not change any faster or more than necessary. Often, when things are not going well, there is an understandable tendency to initiate drastic changes in organizations. But such an approach can lead to tensions and insecurities. When a "drastic change is needed" message is communicated in organizations employees may interpret them as "much of what you have done was not good enough". Because of this such messages may undermine employees' sense of autonomy and competence and demotivate them. Another potential risk of drastic change approaches is that they may also disturb or destroy practices or processes that were actually working well. Because of this, unexpected problems may emerge.

November 23, 2011

Combining results focus with sensitivity in organizational change

Change is more likely to succeed when a results focus is consistently combined with a sensitivity for the perspective of individuals. Acknowledging and utilizing the perspective of employees in organizational change can be beneficial in several ways:
  1. They are more likely to feel taken seriously and understood and will experience more safety to express their views and concerns.
  2. When you take the trouble to try to understand these views and concerns, the organizational change process may benefit from using and addressing them.

November 21, 2011

The Solution-Focused Fields of Attention Framework

In this video, I proposed a simple framework which helps to understand and to conduct solution conversations. I call this framework the solution-focused fields of attention framework. This is what it looks like.

November 18, 2011

5 types of homework suggestions for solution-focused career counselors

Career counselors use solution-focused principles and interventions more and more. Solution-focused career guidance is a bit different from traditional career guidance in several aspects. Firstly, many of the well-known solution-focused techniques are used, such as usefulness questions, scaling questions, desired situation questions, future projection questions, past success questions, and coping questions. Secondly, the solution-focused posture is used. This posture is not the posture of the expert who offers opinions and advice but a posture of not knowing. By exploring the perspective of clients and by asking focused questions clients are helped to discover how they can take steps forward. This posture of the solution-focused professional is sometimes called 'leading from behind'. Thirdly, solution-focused career counselors work from a different view on career development and -guidance than is traditionally the case. Simply put, traditionally, solution-focused career counselors work from a linear view in which successively is worked on these tasks: 1) analysis (of self and labor market), setting goals, 3) making a plan, 4) implementing the plan. The solution-focused approach uses a test-and-learn approach instead. This approach is not linear but circular and assumes that one primarily learns and grows by doing first and then analyzing (not the other way around). (more about this here).

Focusing on what works in organizational change

Doing what works, one of the core principles of solution-focused practice, can be very useful in organizational change. Briefly put, doing what works means that, when you try to accomplish something, you pay careful attention to what is working in the present, or has worked before in a more or less comparable situation, and do more of that. Four aspects may help to explain how the focus on what works can be applied:

November 17, 2011

Greatness and modesty

History has produced amazing examples of human achievement in science and art. You might think that if any people would deserve to speak of themselves immodestly. But it is striking how modest some of the very greatest geniuses of all time appear to have been. It is almost as if the following rule applies: the greater the genius, the more modest. I think Confucius said it right when he said: “A superior man is modest in his speech, but exceeds in his actions.” Here are a few examples:

November 16, 2011

Supporting individual autonomy in organizational change

In organizational change it is wise to recognize that a basic need we all share with one another is the need for autonomy. We all prefer to choose for ourselves as much as possible what we initiate and we want to control as much as possible what we do and don't. When our need for autonomy is satisfied this can contribute importantly to the degree to which we are engaged in what we do, how well we learn, how creative we are, how well we adjust and even how mentally healthy we are.

November 15, 2011

The importance of communicating rationales in organizational change

One starting point in solution-focused change management is to clearly communicate the rationale behind the change goals. In the absence of a clear and positively formulated rationale for the desired change members of the organization may fail to understand why the change is needed and may lack motivation to put effort into the change. Change is credible and acceptable when careful attention is paid to explaining the reasons behind goals, rules and decisions preferably in terms of specific expected advantages.

November 14, 2011

How to establish congruence as an external solution-focused expert

Sometimes, when aspects of the solution-focused approach are implemented in organizations, external solution-focused experts are hired to help facilitate this process. For example, a management team may hire a solution-focused mediator to help them communicate in a more solution-focused way. Another example is a youth care organization wanting to implement signs of safety hires a solution-focused trainer-coach to help facilitate the implementation. A final example is a therapy institute which hires a solution-focused trainer to provide a solution-focused management training for all its managers.

Congruence between change content and change implementation approach

Solution-focused principles and techniques, which were mostly developed in the context of psychotherapy, are now beginning to gain popularity organizational change management. Techniques like scaling questions, the miracle question, the circle technique, interviewing for past successes, focusing on small steps forward and other techniques have been applied successfully by many change managers.

November 11, 2011

Applying solution-focused interventions in a fluent and natural way

Now and then participants in our training programs say things like: "I want to learn to be able to apply solution-focused interventions in a fluent and natural way." Usually they add things like: "I don't want my coaching to look mechanical", and "I don't want to have to think hard about what I say and ask. I just want it to come out easily and automatically."

November 8, 2011

Solution-focused approach improved matrimony happiness and marital adjustment

The effectiveness of group solution-focused approach instruction on happiness and marital adjustment of couples referred to family counseling centers in Boushehr 
By Ahramiyan Afshin*, Sodani Mansour, Hussein Pour Mohammad

The present research is accomplished in order to consider the effectiveness of group solution-focused approach instruction on happiness and marital adjustment in couples referred to family counseling centers in Boushehr. Solution-focused approach is a short term remedy which emphasizes on finding solutions through counselor's help. Research sample consist of twenty two couples whom were randomly assigned into control and experimental groups. Research tools included Oxford Happiness, reviewed questionnaire, and Marital Adjustment Test (MAT). The research plan was administrating pre/posttests on control and experimental groups, as well as a follow-up test. In order to analyze the collected data, descriptive statistical approaches, and reiterative measurement test were used. Data analysis showed that solution-focused approach has improved the matrimony happiness and marital adjustment significantly.

November 7, 2011

Focusing Flashlights on Different Corners

Progress-focused coaches help clients to become aware of what has worked for them before. It may seem a bit strange that clients need coaches to identify what has worked before. Couldn't they have done that themselves?  After all, the clients identify things they themselves have done well. Why could they not remember without the help of a coach?  In The invisibility of what works I explained that it is actually not abnormal to not always be aware of what has worked before.

November 4, 2011

Tiny task to unstuck yourself

Do you know the feeling of being stuck? Do you know that type situation in which you would like to do something interesting and useful but you just can't get started for lack of inspiration? Do you know that type of situation in which you urgently have to do something in order to meet a deadline but you can't get started and keep postponing it? In these situations we seem to be caught in a trap. We need to get started but the problem is we can't seem to get started.

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