Working Out Loud to Reframe the Question

I think I am getting to caught up going around and around in my problem space. I am caught in a cycle that’s leading me nowhere, as I consider how change plays out in my work group. I get stuck on the challenges that arise with change management where incomplete information is transmitted at the beginning of the change process. Change information communicated from senior leadership will differ in quality, depending on the circumstances: sometimes more or less information will be available at the outset, because the change is a work in progress. Perfect information about organizational changes will probably never be possible, because organizational change is a dynamic process. 

How did I get here? By asking, “Why is change management so hard here?” I think what I need to do is completely reframe the problem. In Tom and David Kelley’s book Creative Confidence, five techniques for reframing problems are laid out:

  1. Step back from obvious solutions: if the solution is obvious or simple, maybe you are solving the wrong problem.
  2. Alter your focus or point of view: shifting your focus to the viewpoint of another stakeholder can open up new insights on the problem.
  3. Uncover the real issue: how much time have I spent thinking the problem was one thing, when it’s entirely possible that it’s something else?
  4. Look for ways to bypass resistance or mental blocks: framing a problem in an entirely new way can help people accept new solutions to old, seemingly intractable problems.
  5. Think about the opposite: Flipping the question around can help think about problems in new ways.

The problem I have been trying to think through, “Why is change management so difficult?” needs to be reframed–how about “What can we do to make change management easier?” That’s a very different question, that could potentially lead to an easier path to solutions. Maybe that’s still not the best reframing of the problem, but I think that’s the direction I need to go.

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