Monday, August 14, 2006

Advising communities of practice: learning to change

I saw the link to the problogger quiz on Jack Vinson's blog (are you a problogger?) and could not resist.. So I'm a hobby blogger. It wasn't really a helpful self test as it didn't make me think about my blogging habits. Or maybe I'm just disappointed it didn't say I'm a great blogger. There were questions whereby I did not fit in any of the categories and had to invent something (like how much money did you make from blogging: a coffee, a car or a house, well, I don't even make a coffee by blogging, but I had to fill in something). I wonder if it is hard to make an online test technically speaking? Must be fun to do.
Much better self tests (which can make you think) can be found at authentic happiness especially the signature strength test.

But a real nice one and not to be missed if you are advisor is the digitale zelftest voor veranderaars (in Dutch), based upon the famous book by de Caluwe and Vermaak. A Dutch video with Hans Vermaak talking about the colours of change can be found on the web as well. I haven't found an English self test online, but fortunately the book upon which this test is based is translated in English under the title Learning to change, and the test is included in the book as well. I have read this book in Dutch and I think its real strength is in showing the different paradigms in thinking about change and how to guide change trajectories.

From the English book review:
"In the third chapter, "Thinking about change in five different colors", Caluwé and Vermaak introduce their color model. They start this chapter by stating the word "change" has five different meanings. The five ways of thinking addressed by the model include different views on what the authors say, "why and how people or things change" (p. 42). The different colors include:

* Yellow-print thinking. People change their standpoints only if their own interests are taken into account.
* Blue-print thinking. People or things change if a clearly specified result is laid down beforehand.
* Red-print thinking. People change if things are appealing and inspiring to them.
* Green-print thinking. People change if they learn. They are motivated to discover their limits.
* White-print thinking. Everything changes autonomously, of its own accord. "

It would be interesting to see whether people who working with the concept of communities of practice or more white and green thinkers about change. The test should make you think about your own ideas and preferent styles as an advisors, so that you can try and flex more in styles, when people (or organisations for that matter) have other preferences. If we'd take that communities of practice in themselves are a rather -white- green -bit of red- intervention, what does that imply if you have to introduce it into an organisation which is predominantly blueish?

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