Day-to-day crisis management is not too many people’s idea of a good time, but that is exactly what many organizations go through all the time. Does it really have to be that way?
In his book “Systems Thinking for Social Change,” David Peter Stroh cites the concept of creative tension, by which people see a discrepancy between what they want and where they are hiding.
Stroh then expanded creative tension into a four-stage change process. The stages are:
* Build a foundation for change and confirm a readiness for change. Engage key stakeholders. Establish common ground by creating initial pictures of what the discrepancy looks like. Build people’s capacities to collaborate with each other.
* Clarify current reality at all levels and have people accept their respective responsibilities for creating it. Interview people about the history of the current situation. Organize and improve the quality of the information. Develop a preliminary systems analysis of how different factors interact over time. Engage people in developing their own analysis. Surface the mental models that influence how people behave. Create catalytic conversions that stimulate awareness, acceptance and alternatives.
* Make an explicit choice in favor of the aspiration people espouse. Identify the case for the status quo and the costs of changing. Make an explicit choice and bring it to life.
* Begin to bridge the gap by focusing on high-leverage interventions, engaging additional stakeholders and learning from experience. Propose and refine high-leverage interventions with community input.