Re: Intro -- Dave Swenson LO121
Wed, 15 Feb 1995 12:21:24 -0600

Dave Swenson wrote in LO61:
>How can leverage points for change be identified in a system; or from
>among several leverage points, what criteria can be used to select one?

I work for a large manufacturing company in the central information
systems group. We find ourselves surrounded by a bewildering amount
of change -- new technologies, new tools, new techniques . . . old
staff. As part of team called together to determine how to best
introduce another change -- the mindset that supports re-use and
building new systems from existing components -- we decided to look
at what the people think. That is, what do the staff think needs to
be attended to in order for the new mindset to take hold.

The first efforts (prior to my arrival) lumped the staff into groups
identified as leaders, followers, and resistors. As you might guess
there was some concern about identifying people as 'resistors'. I
suggested that we use a different analogy, one that my group
(a training group) has found very rich. We switched to using the
terminology of Explorers, Pioneers, and Settlers, with the
occasional Scout and Wagon Master thrown in. Then we tried to list
some of the attributes of each, and some scenarios that might make
sense to them. For instance, if you live in the Settlement and you
break you leg, you dial 911 and help arrives in minutes. If you live
near the frontier as a Pioneer, you wait a day or so till a neighbor
drops by, then the neighbor pulls things together so that you crops
and livestock are tended. If you live as an Explorer, you try to
build a fire, and settle in to die. Well, maybe not so dramatically,
but you get the idea.

And this can lead to dialog about topics such as, What is it about
the Settlement that attracts the Settlers anyway? How is that
different from what attracts the Pioneers to the Frontier? What
if everyone were a Settler? Even if _you_ think that there is
'goodness' in living at the Frontier, how much luck will you have
in selling the Mayor of the Settlement?

This all brings to mind what Goldststein says in The Unshackled
Organization -- you can look at people as resistant to change, or
you can look at people as attracted to something else that you don't
see or that you are _not_ attracted to.

So identifying the leverage points involves a good deal of thinking.
And a few analogies (I'm coming to avoid the use of the word
_metaphor_!) can help a great deal.

Michael Ayers (612) 733-5690 FAX (612) 737-7718