The Successful Elusiveness of Success
or Why A Bigger Hammer isn't the Answer

While the principles, practices and benefits of Solution-Centered Support are easily described and even quite readily understood, actually supporting the materialization of the benefits seems to be a much more daunting task. The following is an attempt to provide a basis for understanding why success is so elusive along with some specific actions intended to track down the so desirable yet elusive success.

The root cause for the successful elusiveness of success can be described in a single word -- complexity. And complexity without the requisite level of understanding simply masquerades as complicated and confusing. There are so many simultaneous influencing interactions within the environment which are the foundation for success, or failure when not understood and acted upon, that it is difficult to understand where it is most appropriate to apply the organization's most precious resource, i.e., time.

From a first glimpse the situation should be a very straight forward virtuous reinforcing cycle.

The Creation of Solutions should promote the Use of Solutions and the Use of Solutions should then promote the Creation of Solutions. Oh if reality were only this simple!

Even thought Solution-Centered support by its definition stands to provide benefits to Employees, to Customers, and to the Business, its adoption is a fragile endeavor which needs to be promoted appropriately. The following diagram presents a sense of the required promotion.

This diagram depicts most of the additional interacts which actually happen within the midst of the previous diagram. The question now is how to make sense of this picture that's apt to create migraines for most. Let's just take it piece by piece from the Creation of Solutions and Use of Solutions and see how it goes.

The viscous reinforcing structures associated with Flawed Mental Models is more explicitly depicted in the following diagram.

The foundation of the Flawed Mental Models is lack of, or inappropriate perception of, the nature of its Leadership which is essential to support the potential evolution of the environment. And this is not the only Flawed Mental Model.

Leadership should promote ongoing Engineer Skills development and Coaching along with the Use of Solutions. Coaching and Engineer Skills development serves to continue to enhance Solution Quality. Then both Solution Quality and the Use of Solutions add to the Perceived Value which should promote even more Leadership.

Flawed Mental Models come into play in two specific ways.

The ultimate truth is that nothing motivates like attention, and nothing demotivates like too much attention. People need to know that what they are doing is important and members of the orgnization determine importance based on what management continually pays attention to. Thus Leadership is essential for the successful adoption of Solution-Centered Support.

The next question to be addressed is the nature of this involvement which is most appropriate. For perspectives on this question please see the article on Performance Support.

Livia's Comments from 11/7 to Integrate

I am not sure that perceived value drives Leadership. It seems that that there are a lot of things that are valuable to the users that management does not get involved in. In fact its almost the opposite. It either has to be important to management or it has to be a problem that generates their involvement. So there has to be a system for quantifying the value and aligning it to business objectives in order for management to know t be involved.

Leadership I think should stress and UNmanagement process. As long as the managers focus on management instead of leading people, they aren't doing the right things. They promote keeping things within the current boundaries and maintaining, rather than breaking down what is and moving to a higher platform for performance. Their involvement does not mean they "support" it has to mean they actually lead. They should not be focusing on the outcome indicators like creation and reuse. They should be focusing on the leading indicators like training feedback and a 360 management performance survey. I told the compaq group that if they started out not measuring any individual performance metrics and just measured the leading stuff they would be off to a better start. This leads them to define involvement as paying attention to the numbers. Is that what we want to tell them? I know it says not to use raw numbers but what it points them to is in fact the numbers.

The document that describes performance is not representative of what we are using at other accounts What concerns me are the things we discussed initially - the cost per resolution being a top indicators, that with this proficiency is not first, and the implied linear connection between the elements - I am not sure how they are being mapped into the GPS model that show the phases. I am not saying that is wrong - but that it is a different emphasis.

SO what is really the "flaw" in the mental model? I believe it is that are in the business of managing the support costs by focusing on transaction throughput. And, they need to move to leading the customer value by focusing on learning. Very different areas. If they want to become proactive, they have to start leading, if they want to be in a position to avoid the cost structure that puts them in a no win proposition and take the rightful place as the age of the customer merges, and if they want to be able to keep up with technology and the market they have to become good processors of learning. And, that should take them to a whole other way of managing things. Perhaps that is too far from this discussion. But it was interesting the way that people at compaq were positioning management - still in the victim role. And, they were now looking for the coaches to create the new value and lead the effort - inappropriate use of coaches in my book - I showed them a little picture of the relationship between coaches manager and the employee that they thought was a real key - I would like to talk about it with our team.

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