The cure vs. one more remedy: focus on the positive for lasting organizational change

By William Seidman Why do organizations continue to return to models of remedial change? When an organization assesses its own, institutional, weaknesses, or a team member’s weaknesses (it is supposed to assess the strengths as well, but this rarely is done) and designs solutions to fix the deficits, we call this a “remedial model of change” because the goal is to remedy a deficient situation. But I’d rather focus on the positive – what’s being done well – because it works. I often work with people who love this new way of assessing. We show them how it’s done, they see fairly quick results, and they promise to continue to use it. Most often, though, organizations revert to using remedial models of change based on assessments of competencies. Do you like to be fixed? Most of don’t really like someone else to fix us. Also, the neuroscience is overwhelming in favor of positive images. So why do so many people hang on to and promote these remedial models? Business schools and the earliest perspectives on organizations were all about analyzing and improving flows by fixing bottlenecks.  This was the work of industrial psychology. This perspective has become entrenched in American management — which is too bad, because it really doesn’t work!]]>

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