IDC’s Monthly Best Practice: February 2012
Strengths based change approaches build energy and drive the successful adoption of new behaviours
IDC has been using what are known as strength based approaches in its change management work for many years. These are approaches by which people who are contributing to the formulation of a change management strategy and its implementation plans draw on positive experiences rather than focussing mainly on what is wrong. In particular, we have used the approach of Appreciative Enquiry in much of our work. This involves people, say a change task force, sharing stories about occasions that they have experienced when things have been working at their very best, i.e. peak performance situations. The facilitator then helps the group identify the common themes in the stories that they have told. These common themes are considered to be embryonic of the conditions needed in the future for success. Hence, for example, when IDC is helping a leadership team identify the critical behaviours in which they need to be exemplars to drive the delivery of their business strategy we ask them to share Appreciative Enquiry stories. This enables the behaviours that drive success to be nailed. Identifying the vital few leadership behaviours needed to underpin the delivery of strategy is the key both to speedy implementation and success in meeting change objectives.
The reason for adopting strengths based approaches is that they are energising and also enable those involved to see that they can succeed with the changes they plan; because they already have embryonic successful experiences.
Another strengths based approach that we use in our work, for example in coaching, is derived from Solutions Focussed Brief Therapy (SFBT). A solution focused approach is a way of working that looks exclusively, or predominantly, at two things:
1. Supporting people to explore their preferred futures.
2. Exploring when, where, with whom and how pieces of that preferred future are already happening.
In other words the approach enables people to identify what they are already doing that they can develop and build on to deliver their vision of future success. So, for example, the key task of the coach using a solutions focused approach is to help their coachee discover whatever they are already doing which might contribute to their getting closer to their vision of success.
We have found that strength based approaches fit well into IDC’s best practices suite of organisation development and management of change methodologies. Moreover, regular readers of this monthly blog will know that IDC has helped many clients drive fast and successful changes in their organisations through our leadership behaviour programmes, i.e. using our leadership behaviour measurement tool and our expertise in behavioural coaching. Strengths based coaching approaches are extremely powerful in enabling leaders to develop behaviours that are aligned with their business strategies and drive the delivery of their strategies fast and successfully.
Please get in touch, firstname.lastname@example.org, if you would like to know more about strength based approaches to drive fast and successful change.
Dr Ian Dodds, 31 Jan 2012