So said psychologist Kurt Lewin, whose model of change is one of the most valuable resources that managers have [mental note – great blog topic].
But it is foolish to ‘swallow a model whole’, as Peter Honey points out in his foreword to the Management Models Pocketbook.
Instead, Dr Honey gives the following prescription:
Take a model
Distil it into techniques you can use
Test the techniques in practice
Review and refine
Keep practicing until you become skilled
That’s a pretty good model (a free extra in a book with an advertised ten models!). Peter, by the way, has a new website and blog, and his thoughts are always worth reading.
The CECA Loop
The third and fourth steps of what I will now call the The Honey Model-users Model are about validating a model. This is the purpose of a rather fine tool, developed by defence scientist, David Bryant: the CECA Loop.
The CECA Loop starts with two models:
- A conceptual model of how you want the world to be
- A situational model of how the world really is
First, evaluate the extent to which the two models are consistent with one another. They do not have to be the same – one is clearly the world as you would like it to be.
Seek out information that will allow you to evaluate your models.
Now assess the extent to which the two models are the same or different. When you understand the gaps, you can …
Finally you can change your world or change your behaviours or change the way you perceive your world, to move one of your models towards the other.
‘The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.‘ George Bernard Shaw
Irish dramatist & socialist (1856 – 1950)
So here’s the deal
Changing the world: how much more practical can a good theory get?
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The CECA Loop is Bryant’s modernisation of the OODA, which he believes is out-dated. I believe that the two models can work well together, but let’s remember that both Bryant, and John Boyd, the developer of the OODA Loop, were both interested in the military context.
Their work has wider applications and, like Peter Honey, I believe that, as long as we properly attribute their ideas, we are free to adapt them to our own needs.
The Management Models Pocketbook has a chapter on Boyd’s OODA Loop.
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