Using Strategic Model Buiding to See, Test, and Improve our Models for Action

Our Models in Action are the underlying structures for how we think, what we see, what we enjoy and how we interact with the things we encounter. Making these models more visible and seeing ourselves in action, in our teams, provides us with a deeper awareness of why we behave the way we do, and why our teams are effective or ineffective. It also gives us the opportunity to reshape our future behavior, by making explicit our individual and collective models, seeing their gaps and choosing elements of them we want to retain, throw out, or recalibrate.

Strategic Model Building is interested in how all of your models interact, and we are particularly interested in how effective your Intervention Models are in producing the changes you want.
 Are they working, and do you know why or why not?

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This Intervention Model was developed using the Meta Model for Model Building by David Kantor - see



This site is structured to help you understand What Strategic Model Building is about, How it works, Why it works, and Where it targets it's intervention.

What it is:
It is an intervention practice model template structured to advance individual, team, and organizational performance by improving the effectiveness of their interactions.

How it works: Strategic Model Building works by making your models more visible and explicit, so that we can see them more clearly. We are able to illustrate the model's parts interacting. If you want an actionable intervention model for sustainable change, you need to learn to develop your own model from the "inside out."

Why it works: It works because people, not only become more aware of themselves and others interacting, they discover they can intervene to create effective structural changes that improves the product of these interactions.

Where it intervenes: It intervenes in Face-to-Face interactions. Once people gain access to the structures that are both enabling and disabling their performance, they can then make effective choices to reinforce the helping structures and replace the hindering structures with ones that will sustain the exceptional performance they seek.

Yes, this is hard and threatening work, so Why Bother?

The experience of building my own model and in the development of Strategic Model Building skills inside organizations, there are challenges. Most managers and leaders believe their business performance could benefits significantly with a more explicit view of the models underlying individual assumptions and the business operating structures they construct. However, Strategic Model Building seems to be the exception rather than the rule. I see two basic reason's
for this condition. First, in most enterprises, too few people are trained in model building skills, and they have a limited number of effective tools available to support the development of a model building competency. The second is that Model Building requires deep introspection and a more systemic perspective to organizational interaction, and this can raise the stakes and be threatening to leaders and managers in many organizations.

1. It can be threatening Politically, because it cuts across traditional boundaries of managerial accountability.

2. It can be threatening Intellectually, because it demands a substantial investment of time and energy to rethink implicit action models from a more explicit, and conceptual vantage point.

3. It can be threatening Strategically, because it continually calls into question uncertain longer-term consequences when short-term gains are more predictable.

4. It can be threatening Philosophically, because it is predicated on a world view which is foreign to many people. In some organizational settings, the implication that our problems arise because of, not despite, the actions we have taken to solve them can be contrary to established ways of defining problems and developing solutions.

5. It can be threatening Wholistically, because to really consider doing this work requires a rather unique view of the world as being “Whole.” This is unique because most of us have been taught to break things apart to analyze how the parts work and then aggregate them back together into a the way we think they work. (Analysis) The world, in this model, is not constructed this way from fragmented and separate forces. To consider it otherwise makes us blind to the consequences of our actions, and as a result, to our connection to the larger world as a whole. (Synthesis)


(Note: List from Peter Senge "Catalyzing Systems Thinking in Organizations")
When confronted with these kinds of threatening situations, people tend to react defensively. One common defensive reaction is to advocate taking a more wholistic and systemic perspective, but making no serious effort to develop that perspective. Another is to assert Strategic Model Building and a Systems Perspective already exists. Another is to suggest the organization needs to learn “This Stuff” but claim you are already are skilled at it.

Why would anyone commit themselves or their organizations to a sustained learning process to understand and enhance the way they think and act Together?

To Improve Quality
To Reduce Waste
To Reduce the Risks of not knowing what you are doing
To become more "Whole" people both Individually and Collectively as a "Team"
To unlock performance potential to "See how Good They Can Get"
To leverage Collective Intelligence
To Increase Enterprise Value

Or, is this an option?
R.D. Laing poetically describes the mind’s denial reflex:

The range of what we think and do
is limited by what we fail to notice.

And because we fail to notice
that we fail to notice

there is little we can do

to change

until we notice

how failing to notice

shapes our thoughts and deeds.

For any of this to make a difference, the energy to undertake this work must come from within!
It all starts with YOU and your models in action!

(Note: I was first introduced to YOU Inc. by Steve Buchholz - Aftershock, I have borrowed it from his model and added the System and Sub-System interfaces. It is Steve's thinking that introduced me to YOU Inc. as an enterprise and the fundamental starting point for any successful change process.) 
























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