Stage 0.3  How Deep?

When they care too little

Someone always wants some kind of change, but there has to be a certain level of concern by key members of a system before anything can happen. In some sense, a theoretical ideal system in perfect equilibrium doesn’t need to be disrupted, but there is no such system in real life.

It is not always easy to judge when the energy to advance a change process is just not there. After all, most people are polite, and if someone has assigned you the job of initiating some sort of change action, they may pretend to be interested. Nevertheless, if you find your appointments continuously rescheduled or the people you are supposed to meet with are always late or somewhere else, it may be that there is just not enough energy to proceed in a successful direction.

When they care too much

Sometimes the concern of a client will be felt so intensely that it interferes with construc-tive problem solving. First of all, such an intense focus may blur perception of other concerns; the client doesn't get the big picture, may miss other important concerns that yield more easily to problem-solving, or may fail to perceive that there are underlying problems that need to be covered.

Intense concern focus can also diminish appreciation of the need for deliberate, rational, and collaborative processes. The client's sense that action is needed immediately forestalls serious problem diagnosis, extensive search for resources, and consideration of alternative solutions. In effect, all the change processes that are described in The Guide are vitiated! Thus, the change agent may need to develop strategies to buy time, to create space for reflection and for viewing the array of client concerns without intense pressure for solutions.