In class this week, each group presented on four change strategies and then facilitated a mock-intervention. Out of all four strategies, my favorites are a combination of Future Search and Action Learning. Open Space Technology and Appreciative Inquiry were missing the action piece for me. Future Search’s detailed-structure appeals to my organizational side when it comes to change. I agree with Weisbord and Janoff that the whole system needs to be in the room. The idea of everyone openly communicating their thoughts and feelings about what they do establishes trust and shared values, which is the backbone to any change strategy. I think the action plan at the end brings it all together. In my opinion, the action planning takes it from a counseling, psychological strategy to a business strategy. This is also why I like Action Learning. I think humans learn by doing. Even if a proposed solution doesn’t work among the group, at least the group learned from it as a team. I like the continuous, cyclical effect of Action Learning. The idea that the whole process is a never-ending cycle appeals to my need for continuous improvement. I think Future Search and Action Learning blended together is the perfect pairing. Future Search seems like a one-time shot at transformational change, whereas Action Learning is an on-going strategy with many layers and sub layers to learning.
If there was more time this summer, I would have loved the chance to experience a change strategy in real life. The facilitation was a neat and creative way to learn about strategy options. I enjoyed the examples chosen by each group as part of our facilitation. An opportunity for further experiential learning with a real organization or group would have added another exciting element to the class. Nonetheless, I can honestly say that change strategies has given me a lot to think about in my own work environment. I know now the best times to use each change strategy and can possibly see myself suggesting one of methods to my boss for a retreat idea.