It’s easy to say “yes” to ideas and suggestions that intuitively make sense — especially when others are doing the same thing. Unfortunately, that way of thinking — the “No one ever got fired for hiring IBM” approach — doesn’t always result in success.
Changing mental models offers a new way to “see” issues and opportunities. In particular, the “lens” of Adaptive Action (AA) invites a look at underlying organizational and thinking patterns. The three phases of AA: “What?”, “So what?”, and “Now what?” catalyze dialogue about current patterns, where the opportunities might be to most effectively influence those patterns, and to push past conversation to action.
One example is detailed in the book, Adaptive Action: Leveraging Uncertainty in Your Organization. In chapter 8, a client who initially had a less-than-successful Lean Six Sigma implementation wanted to try again. Their thinking process (What?) was, “Do what we did last time, only better.” Questions helped them understand their deeper patterns. An especially powerful one was, “What is different now that makes you feel it will be successful this time?” (So what?). The answer – not enough – resulted in them deferring the implementation (Now what?) until they could free the time, energy, and staffing resources needed to significantly increase the chance of success.
In this case, the Adaptive Action process resulted in a counterintuitive result – not to take immediate action! How might the Adaptive Action process change the way your team or organization goes about achieving its goals?