Change Appreciation:

Are you dealing with a tame, a complex, or a wicked challenge?

When the temperature in your office is too low and people are feeling cold, you can simply introduce the opposite of what produced the problem (heat instead of cold). Eventually, more of the same (heat) will be sufficient. This more-of-the-same change can achieve the desired effect.


Tame challenges are clear and have known solutions, which can be applied by professionals. This is a change from one behaviour to another within a given way of behaving (first-order change).


Similarly, when a production process is not efficient enough, there are known methods to improve this.


Sometimes these challenges can be(come) complex challenges that “resist” simple, more of the same measures. We then need to launch a more intentional, integrated effort to deal with these complex challenges.


However, when a commercial laundry company implemented an incentive program aimed at reducing workers’ tardiness it ended up ... decreasing productivity as the intrinsic motivation of  “Good employees” ended up lower and others started to game the system.


Tame solutions for wicked challenges give us what we “deserve” as the current system including our tame solutions produce its wicked effect. Typically, these wicked challenges require a great number of people to change their mindsets and behaviour. Moreover, these challenges depend on framing, on different world views, and are never solved indefinitely.


It's like Instructing employees to have passion and engagement (leading to more apathy), or cheering up a depressed person (leading into a deeper depression), or trying to achieve sleep through will-power (aggravating insomnia), or telling someone to act spontaneously (making this very act impossible).


Are you dealing with a wicked change challenge? Which solutions have you tried before? What keeps the current situation from change? Where do we need change and what needs to be changed?


Change appreciation is usually an important first step in your change process.

® // All Rights Reserved