Why is change so difficult in government?
Change is difficult in government because we are approaching it the wrong way. In order to change, we need to go from a problem-focused mindset to a solution-focused mindset. In Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard, the authors explain this concept as “pursuing the bright spots.”
“To pursue bright spots is to ask the question “What’s working, and how can we do more of it?” Sounds simple, doesn’t it? Yet, in the real world, this obvious question is almost never asked. Instead, the question we ask is more problem focused: “What’s broken, and how do we fix it?”
-Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard
For example: Let’s say you implement a new program for your employees, but only a handful of employees are using it regularly. Instead of wasting time and resources studying why all the others are not using it, why not look for how and why the ‘bright spots’ are using it so effectively. Let’s say when you looked at the ‘bright spots’ you discover that they found a shortcut on the program that makes it much easier to use. This solution would not be available with a problem-focused mindset; however, with a solution-focused mindset the solution was in plain sight.
So where are the ‘bright spots’ in your organization? More importantly, how will you replicate them?