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Posts tagged ‘practice’

A while back, I wrote a blog with a similar title to this – but with ‘systems thinking’ rather than ‘research’ the focus of the answer.  That blog was inspired by Ison (2010, 187)’s discussion about – if ‘managing’ is the answer what is the question.

This frame of inquiry came to mind today as I started thinking about the purpose of ‘research’ – what is the system to which doing research is the answer?

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A conversation on my LinkedIn STiP alumni group has sparked me to think once again about the concept of a ‘design turn in my systems practice’.

It’s been a while so let’s recap.

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There seems to be a bit of a thing going on this week about terms like measurement, targets, payment by results, outcomes.  It has been going on a while in conversations I have had (both face to face and on-line) and a number of systems bloggers are writing about it but it all seems to be getting a bit busier this weekend…it seems to be coming to a head.

So to start with I’ll mention all the activity that has prompted me to turn to the keyboard to add to the conversation – or if not adding to it then at least summarising where my own thinking is going to. Read more »

I have been thinking a lot about change recently.  I have got this muddled mess in my head about it.  But as I sat down to write this blog, I realised I have been here before…

30/10/10 – one of my first ever blogs – The nature of change

12/11/10 – not long after Changing practice

27/12/10 – Worldviews and theories of change

14/3/11 – Managing systemic change

I think my latest quest perhaps has more to do with ‘managing’ change, rather than change per se.  I think it was in B822 Creativity, innovation and change that the following approaches to change were laid out: Read more »

Can’t believe nearly a month has gone by since my last blog… but hey it is supposedly ‘summer’ and there has been the distraction of the olympics.  But I thought I’d better return to my inquiry into helping..

There are a number of other chapters in Schein’s book after the one on humble inquiry, but they are more about applications of the ideas covered in all the blogs to date, rather than new information.  Read more »

Having made the case that it is most appropriate to start out as a helper in the role of process consultant (the what and the why), Schein goes into humble inquiry – as the ‘how’ of being a process consultant.

Humble inquiry helps to do three key things – firstly, equalise the relationship by making what the client knows become all important; secondly, shows that as the helper you are attentive and interested in the client’s situation; and finally, it helps get more information and remove some of the ambiguity and unknowns from the situation so that as the helper you have more of an idea of what to do next. Read more »

Moving on to the fourth Chapter of Schein’s book on Helping.  We now look at the choice that the helper can make about the kind of helping role to take on (which goes back to the background material on social theatre that was covered in Chapter 2). Read more »

Aha my motivation to carry on reading and blogging about Schein’s book has been given a helpful(!) boost by a friend who commented in an email that she was enjoying reading it ‘by proxy’…thanks for the help..

Moving on from the general understanding of relationships in everyday life in terms of reciprocity, deference and demeanour.  The third chapter of Schein’s book on Helping starts to focus on the helping relationship with a particular emphasis on how that relationship ‘starts out’.  At the point where someone asks for help or offers it a number of social inequities and role ambiguities some to the fore.  It is a tense moment full of pitfalls and traps for both the potential helper and the potential client – but we only really notice it when it all goes wrong. Read more »

So after ‘Getting started‘, I have now read Chapter Two of Schein’s book on Helping.  Chapter Two is a bit of a scene setter about the cross-cultural principles underpinning social life and relationships in general – rather than about helping per se.  Schein emphasises that it is important to understand this “essence of relationships” so that the special-ness of a helping relationship can then be understood.

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Last summer when I came across the work of Schein on research, I found a book that he had written called “Helping: how to offer, give and receive help“.  I bought the book in early November, just as T847 started so it has sat there largely unread.  I’ve started it a couple of times and then faltered – distracted with ‘real’ studying.  And then I tried again when the course finished.  It’s not the book – I realised that I am really bad at really taking things in and following an argument if I don’t turn to my notepad to take notes and my blog to summarise key points – I don’t think about what I am learning.  I can’t just read books – I have to interact with them if I am going to get anything from the process.

So I am starting again – a short burst of temporary purposeful activity to inquire into the notion of helping.  I figured writing a series of blogs as I go along may help with the momentum – and the learning process.

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