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[SF企业管理国际资料]焦点解决取向管理21:学会如何在复杂环境中简单回应(中)

 二维码 34


Mark McKergow & Michael Hjerth

学会如何在复杂环境中简单回应(中)


关键词

简单,练习,高雅,实用主义者,花道,史蒂夫··沙泽。

摘要

简单是史蒂夫··沙泽的工作和SF方法中的一个关键要素。然而,将这种理念传递给管理者并不是一件容易的事情。此章节中,Mark  McKergow Michael Hjerth将会介绍一些活动,引导大家探讨去开发简单理念在SF运用过程中的应用,帮助参与者对这一理念有更多的思考,并将这些理念传递给正在学习SF的管理者。


(续上篇)


简单在行动中的体现


作为一个观察者,我们如何辨认行动中的简单?行动简单化并不意味着尽可能做得少,它是指尽可能少做以达到一个特定的目标。所以,如果没有达到某个目标这样的背景作为参考,我们不能判断简单与否。什么都不做是最简单的,却和目标无关。同样的,总是做同样的事情也被认为是简单,即使那个办法没有作用,却期待着有不同的结果。这两者和焦点解决实践的简单毫无瓜葛。

我们的简单是和实用主义相关的,去掉这些不是实用主义的或者和努力的目标不一致的外表和装饰部分。这和日本的花道有异曲同工之处。这种艺术一次次地剪掉枝条,直到剩下的是悦目的,和谐的。最高雅的设计只有很少的花束,但是位置都是精心摆放的。更多的花束并不意味着就是更好的插花。同样道理,我们也许可以说,太多的主意、假设、假说并不代表是去改变的好的办法。由此看来,这也是我们在焦点解决实践中高雅和美感的一个要素。

这种描述可能会引发一些潜在的冲突或者矛盾。如果我们的努力是冷静地去掉全部的装饰,这也可能阻止了机会和巧合。有人会认为这种问题随机性的观点和简单的要求相抵触。我们认为这是一个误解,随机的发生为保持简单提供了很多可能性。

英国哲学教授Richard Wiseman在他的有趣的著作《幸运要素》中汇集了两种观点,一种是一群人认为自己很幸运,另一种是一群人认为自己不幸运。他后来着手测试人们是如何做到的---是什么带来了“幸运”。

他发现,幸运和人们如何回应日常生活中的随机可能性相关。“幸运群体”更加留意和利用这些机会,而不幸运的群体则选择逃避。这种有用的回应也可以在群体智能中见到,参加过SOL 2004的人可能还记得智能蚁群如何寻找食物和搬运食物的演示。一只蚂蚁偶然发现食物,然后释放生物信号告知其他蚂蚁,其他蚂蚁也会做同样的事情。一旦“追踪任务”被发现和标记了,整个蚂蚁群体会行动起来,所有食物都会被安全的搬运回来。

这个例子展示了简单的“高雅版本”。蚂蚁群体的简单原则是靠随机的行动,这一举措提供了可靠和有力的方法以达到想要的目的。

如何做到简单


我们需要什么样的信息能使事情运作呢?什么是最简单的方法?最基本的途径似乎是区别“什么时候可行”和“什么时候不可行”的相关信息。SF认为,有关问题的信息比想要的是什么的有用性少得多。这是一条直接途径,也可能伴随着很多的弯路和陷阱。

然而,当客户抛出一个问题,经常性地,客户对事情如何变坏比对如何变好更了解。所以,你必须在有用的方面给客户更多的指引询问。我们观察到在其他传统行业中,很多人开始就问为什么事情变坏了---是谁的错,我早该怎么做……这些都不是简单问题。为什么不直接询问想要的是什么,并引导到这个方向上来。举个例子,如果一个会议结束的很糟糕,我们可以开始讨论期望下次会议如何,而不是关注这个糟糕的会议怎么样(迂回),也许可以问问我们应该保持做什么,和寻找前进的一小步。

这种思路也适用于组织。如果你有一个计划,存在很多没必要的元素,那么这个计划不仅是蹩脚的,也浪费你的精力。SF的简单化提供了一个方法,去掉这些没用的,专注在未来和前进的一小步,避免浪费时间在不可能探究清楚的蚂蚁王国的复杂关联细节上。

问题导向和焦点解决导向之间一个关键的差别是信息内容,描述问题相关(哪里错了),还是描述解决之道(想要什么)。这好比,你饿了去超市,按照清单买了所有东西,而很多东西都不是你做煎饼的材料。这个清单花了很长时间才完成,而且还内容很多---真是浪费精力!和简短的做煎饼的材料清单相比,不仅仅是后面这个清单更有用(假设你想要煎饼),同时也节约了很多精力。这不仅在管理上高效,也给你更多时间思考其他清单,这是一种可能性。在做煎饼这件事上,这样做是有用的。保持简单化提供了更多机会和精力,关注有用的和巧合的,在Wiseman的研究中,这是幸运人们的关键行为之一。

有一个错误的假设,我们在行动之前,需要最大可能的掌握知识。简单化的方法是知道我们需要知道的(知道的有多少)再去行动,可做的就仅于此。人们愿意搜集尽可能多的数据,而不去问他们想要什么。在这里可以使用一个方法,把对知识的需要以0-10分打分,在工作中按这个来运行。人们对知识没有分类技巧,SF可以提供这种方法。

人们有时候对我们说,但是肯定的是,有时候,你必须回顾过去。比如,在一次铁路交通事故中,往往会有调查。这看起来并不简单,但我们能让事件更加清晰,通过追寻维特根斯坦的例子,看看调查怎么开展。通常地,人们认为调查是“为了防止此类事件永远不要再次发生”,这得有很多的功能,包括,提供一个聚集处,收集实际发生情况的信息,哪些人承担法律责任,对受影响群众开展安抚工作会议等等。这和我们下次要怎么做没有什么关系,而是给大家提供了一个聚焦点,现在发生了什么,告诉人们如何回应灾难事件。

传播简单理念


学习用这种高雅的简单去做事是一回事。但如何传递给其他人,特别是忙碌的管理者们,是另外一回事。对于那些习惯于问题导向和相应处理办法的人,这显得天真、无知甚至是愚蠢的。所以,我们该如何传播这些理念?

史蒂夫·德·沙泽在一定程度上让这件事变得容易了,在一个确定的背景下的治疗办法。当他被问到某类被预先假定的不一样的问题,和语言使用上不简单的问题时,他会回应我不知道。这有点儿像,那个问题不合理,不是一个有用的问题。我们可能会说,沙泽把问题的控制权又送回了提问者那里,提问者可以有机会再试一次。在他的治疗工作理论里,这是Steve的另类聪明。在练习内容中,这种方法是非常严格的,也是言出必行的。然而,我们发现很多学员认为这种方法没有用和沮丧,因为在他们看来一些‘合理’的问题被明显的忽略了。

还有一种更好的方法传递这种理念吗?我们这里提出两种可能性,一个是实用主义观点,一个是(简单)语言学观点。

(未完待续)


Mark McKergow & Michael Hjerth

Learning how to act simply in complex situations


Keywords:

simplicity, training, elegance, functionalist, ikebana, Steve de Shazer


Summary:

Simplicity is a key aspect of both the work of Steve de Shazer and the SF approach. However, conveying this simplicity to managers is not easy. In this workshop, Mark McKergow and Michael Hjerth will introduce activities and lead discussions to explore the role of simplicity in SF work, to help participants to think more simply about their own practice and to help convey these ideas to managers learning SF.


(continue with)


Simplicity in action


As an observer, how would we identify simplicity in action? Acting simply does not mean doing as little as possible, it means doing as little as possible to achieve a particular result. So, we can’t judge simplicity without the context of trying to achieve some end – to do nothing would always be very simple, but would not be connected to the context. Equally, it might also be thought simple to do the same thing again and again, even if it’s not working, and expecting different results. Neither of these relate to the simplicity of SF practice.

Our simplicity is related to functionalism – the taking away of all ornaments or adornments which are not part of the functioning or purpose of the endeavour. There is an interesting parallel with ikebana, the Japanese art of flower arranging. The method used is to remove stem after stem until what is left is in aesthetic harmony. The most elegant designs have few blooms, but in very carefully placed positions. More flowers do not automatically equal a ‘better’ arrangement. In the same way we might say that more ideas, assumptions, hypotheses do not make for a ‘better’ approach to change. There seems to us to be an element of elegance and aesthetics in SF practice, relating to this idea.

There may appear to be a potential conflict or contradiction in this description. If the endeavor is to coolly remove all adornments, this may not seem to allow for the role of chance or coincidence. One might think that this idea of messy randomness might interfere with the quest for simplicity. We think this is a misunderstanding – happenchance provides many possibilities for staying simple.

In his fascinating book The Luck Factor (Wiseman, 2004), British psychology professor Richard Wiseman gathered two groups of subjects, who rated themselves as particularly lucky or unlucky. He then set about examining how they managed to do this – what seems to lead to ‘luck’.

He found that, amongst other things, ‘luck’ was connected to the way people responded to the random possibilities presented to them in everyday life. The ‘lucky’group were much better at noticing and utilizing these opportunities, whereas the ‘unlucky’ group would shy away. This kind of response to useful yet random events is also seen in swarm intelligence – those who attended SOL 2004 may remember the demonstration of computer ants finding and taking food. One ant finds the food by chance, and then releases a trail of pheromones for the other ants to find, which they do again by chance. Once these ‘tracks that work’ have been discovered and marked, however, the whole ant community swings into action and before long all the food is safely gathered.

This example shows a version of elegant simplicity. The simple rules of the ants are combined with random movement which provide a reliable and robust method to achieve a certain result.

How to be simple

What kind of information do we need to make things work? What is the simplest way to get it? The most fundamental way to us seems to be the distinction between information relating to ‘when does it work’ versus ‘when does it not work’. Information about the problem contains much less useful information than information about what is wanted, the ‘solution’ in SF. This is the direct route – along which there may be many excursions and pitfalls.

However, when a client shows up with a problem, usually the things that go wrong are better known to them than things that go right. So, you have to ask questions to throw more light on what works. We observe than in other traditions people start by asking about why things became wrong in the first place - whose fault was it, what should we have done… These are not the simplest questions. Why not do directly to what’s wanted and start to throw light on that. For example, if a meeting at work has gone badly, we can start to discuss how we would like the next meeting to be rather than focus on the last meeting (a detour), perhaps by asking what should we keep doing and looking for small steps.

This way of thinking also applies to organizations. If you have a plan with a lot of unnecessary elements, then that is not only inelegant, but it wastes your energy. The simplicity of SF offers us a way to remove some of the things and focus on others – for example look at the distant or ideal future and the first steps, and avoid wasting time on the details of the unknowable ‘ant country’ (Stewart and Cohen, 1997) of complex interactions in between.

One key distinction between problem-focused and solution-focused approaches lies in the ‘information content’ of statements relating to the problem (what is wrong) and to the solution (what is wanted). This is analogous to being hungry and going to the supermarket with a list of everything you don’t need to make pancakes. This list would take a lot of time to compile and would be very long indeed – a real waste of energy. Compare this with the much shorter list of ingredients for pancakes. Not only is this list much more useful (assuming that you want pancakes), it also takes much less energy to compile. This is not only efficient in the managerial sense; it also frees you up to also consider another list, which is about possibilities – in this case things which mightwork well in pancakes. Staying simple provides more opportunity and energy for noticing possibilities and happenstance – one of the key behaviours of ‘lucky people’ in Wiseman’s research.

There is a false assumption that we need to maximize knowledge, to know before we act. The simplest way is to know what we need to know (and how little we need to know) to act, and act knowing no more than that. People seem to want to collect as much data as possible, instead of asking what they need. One way to go on here is to scale the knowledge needed on a 0 – 10 scale, and work from that – in practice, people seem to have no sorting mechanism for the knowledge, and SF can provide one.

Sometimes people say to us ‘But surely, sometimes you HAVE to look into the past?’ For example, in the case of a major rail accident, there is usually an inquiry. This does not look simple, but we can shed some light on the matter by following the example of Wittgenstein and looking at how the inquiry is used. Usually, although people think of the inquiry as about ‘never letting it happen again’, it has many functions included providing a focal point, gathering information about what actually happened, assigning responsibility for legal purposes, acting a forum for affected people etc etc. These are not so much to do with finding out what to do next time as giving a focus to what’s happening NOW – giving people something to do in response to a distressing event.

Conveying simplicity

To learn to act in this manner of elegant simplicity is one thing. But how to convey it to others, particularly busy managers, is quite another. To those accustomed to the usual ways of talking about problems and their resolution, it may appear naive, ignorant and even completely stupid. So, how are we to convey these ideas?

Steve de Shazer made things somewhat easier for himself by always working in a defined context, therapy. When he was asked questions which presupposed some kind of different and less simple use of language, his reply of ‘I don’t know’ was some kind of version of ‘That doesn’t make sense, that’s not a useful question’. We might say that he was handing the control back to the questioner, so they could have another try. In his therapeutic work, this was the ‘different kind of cleverness’ of Steve. In a training context, this approach is certainly rigorous and ‘walks the talk’. However, we observed many trainees found it unhelpful and frustrating, as what seemed to them to be sensible questions were apparently ignored.

Is there a better way to convey these ideas? We will address two possibilities here, a functionalist perspective and (briefly) a linguistic perspective.

(To be continued)


参考文献 REFERENCES

Berg IK (2004): In conversation with MMcK in a workshop, Toronto, Canada, October 2004

Jackson P Z/ McKergow M (2002): The Solutions Focus, Nicholas Brealey Publishing

de Shazer S (1994): Words Were Originally Magic, WW Norton

Stewart I/Cohen J: Figments of Reality, Cambridge University Press

Wiseman R (2004): The Luck Factor; The Scientific Study of the Lucky Mind, Arrow


上篇链接:

[SF企业管理国际资料]焦点解决取向管理21:学会如何在复杂环境中简单回应(上)


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