Our dining hall at Keble College, Oxford. I was expecting Harry Potter to walk in any minute, and an owl to drop a message next to my plate :-)
Back from the SOL World Conference held at Keble College in Oxford, England.
I am happy to see the community of Solution-Focused practitioners is doing well:
– some are developing new concepts within a Solution-Focused framework. For example, Mark McKergow building on the intriguing idea of “Leader as Host“. I think this metaphor is extremely powerful and it deserves to get a lot of traction in the wider leadership development community.
– some are enriching other disciplines by bringing a SF approach to them. Anything from management tools (e.g. see Jeff Matthews on performance management) to constellation work (e.g. see Marianne Guerts & Yvonne Pluk).
– some are working to advance a deeper understanding of the theoretical framework of Solution-Focus practice. I personally did not see much of that at the conference, but I know of the efforts of a few (e.g. again Mark McKergow and Gale Miller in the paper “From Wittgenstein, Complexity, and Narrative Emergence: Discourse and Solution-Focused Brief Therapy“).
– some are expressing SF in its purest form, articulating all the richness hidden in its apparent simplicity. I am thinking of Peter Szabo and Chris Iveson. The Zen of Coaching.
– some others are creating new ways to make SF practice fun & useful. I am thinking of the SF-inspired team building exercises created by Monica Rotner & Brenda Zalter-Minden.
Well, I think it would be lovely to see more of an interaction with other sciences in order to evolve the standard Solution-Focused protocols / questions.
It is my belief that, in its essence, SF is a Darwinian Algorithm (see here). As such, it can itself evolve. But is it?
I think the best way for it to evolve, i.e. coming up with new questions or modifying established ones, is to cross- fertilize with social psychology or positive psychology.
Here is an example of what I have in mind.
Minjung Koo & Ayelet Fishbach recently published a paper about the “Small Area” hypothesis regarding goal adherence.
Basically, the hypothesis states that at the beginning of goal pursuit it is better to focus on accumulated progress, what has been done so far; and when we get closer to achieving the goal, it is best to focus on remaining progress, what needs to be done.
As SF practitioners we have been using the scaling question for decades now, and we should have a lot of experience about this. Do we? Does this result match our experience? Yes or no? Moreover, how would this result affect our practice? How should we change our questions to accomodate this result?
I believe new exciting developments are possible in SF if we engage in a constructive dialogue with other disciplines to incorporate new insights into our practice, making it even better.
Well, I guess I found a topic for SOL 2013, haven’t I? :-)
*** Update: the conference was about much more than just the Solution-Focused community of practitioners. Case in point: the CEO panel talking about using Solution-Focus in organizations. HERE is a link to an article in the Guardian which summarizes the discussion.