Stage 1.9   Size Up - Sum Up

How to size up your relationship?

In Stage 1 we have tried to identify the major facts that should be considered by the change agent in establishing a good relationship with the client. We recognize, however, that most readers of this Guide will already be committed to various types of relationships that exhibit varying degrees of stability and promise. For such readers to make maximum use of the material presented here, they might ask themselves five questions to help size up their present relationship and give clues on how to make improvements.

  • Have you managed to build an inside-outside team?
    • Probably the most important single building block of effective change. 
  • Have you worked out a strategy for initial encounters?
    • Does it include friendliness, familiarity, reward, and responsiveness?
  • Can you identify in your situation the nine features of the ideal relationship?
    • Can you rate where you stand on each of these nine dimensions?
  • Do you suspect that any of the danger signals apply?
    • If yes, can you mitigate their effects? If too many are applicable, can you exit gracefully?
  • Assuming an on-going relationship, are you doing all that you can to protect and maintain that relationship?
    • Maintenance is far easier  than rebuilding.


Summary of Stage 1

Unquestionably, the successful relationship is the key to successful planned change. We hope that this chapter has provided a useful introduction to the essential features that make up such a successful relationship. We recognize, however, that the chapter cannot stand alone. A good relationship continues to build as it goes along. It will be strengthened by a successful collaborative effort in diagnosis and resource acquisition, and in selecting and installing the innovation. It will also be heavily dependent upon the personality and the skill of you, the change agent, and upon how clearly and adequately you have defined your own role.