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Sharing and building Solution Focused practice in organisations

Individuals and interactions over processes and tools!

One of the SIMPLE principles of SF says:
Inbetween - the action is in the interaction
and an other says:
Every case is different - beware ill-fitting theory
and in the "Agile Manifesto" two of the four values are:
Responding to change over following a plan
Individuals and interactions over processes and tools


Today a colleague of mine sent me a link to a talk of Barry Schwartz which - for me - seems to provide some brilliant insights to this. This talk was hold on the TED2009 conference.
Barry Schwartz studies the link between economics and psychology, offering startling insights into modern life. Lately, working with Ken Sharpe, he's studying wisdom. In this talk Barry Schwartz makes a passionate call for "practical wisdom" as an antidote to a society gone mad with bureaucracy. He argues powerfully that rules often fail us, incentives often backfire, and practical, everyday wisdom will help rebuild our world.

Of course: the term "Solution Focus" is not mentioned once in this talk.... but, anyway: What Schwartz says is IMHO a very useful platform for SF work in organisations.

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Comment by Bärbel Fink on September 23, 2009 at 14:37
Hi Hans-Peter, thanks for pointing us to this page - a great thing to know.

The way I understand it, many protocols are created so that tasks can be performed by people with very little training. We all feel the effects when customer service agents give us standard replies to questions we haven't asked. It's all part of the "people to fill a slot" type of operations, which in the context of professional services often means "bring in an outside expert to do the job". An SF type of doing consulting work subverts that tendency, in a positive way, by returning the inside people to the center of any work to be done...
Comment by Hans-Peter Korn on July 2, 2009 at 13:53
Good point:
To accept "decisions based on personal knowledge of the situation" means to TRUST the person being in charge for such decisions. And means to accept, that such decisions might be sometimes "strange" in the view of those, who see the situation in a very different way.
And in our very "mechanistic" tradition how to sustain "Quality" decisions based on personal knowledge of the situation are not welcome. Well, to roast thousands of tons of peanuts having a small bandwith of calcination decisions based on personal knowledge of the situation are no good mean. A well defined technical process controlled by some specialists following well defined procedures in cases of exceptions are working much better.

And, instinctively following the rule: "If something works - do more of it" we tend to apply this successful strategy on other - much more complex - situations like decisions about bank loans....

So, using "If something works - do more of it" as a "rule" also might be a "trivialisation" leading to loose wisdom and increase de-humanising...
Comment by Mark McKergow on July 1, 2009 at 12:08
Hi Hans-Peter, great share!! This is IMHO one of the key aspects of SF practice - and may b one reason why it isn't so far made better headway. When people are being de-skilled and decisions put in the hands of systems, then nobody has to use wisdom. A simple example is getting a bank loan - 20 years ago the local bank manager made all the decisions based on personal knowledge of the situation. Now the local manager has no say at all - it's done by computers lacking this essential sense of wisdom and experience. It's much easier in some ways - but is fundamentally a de-humanising of business. SF uses this human sense very much.

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