In Transforming Complaints Toward Solutions & Understanding Complaints May Point to Solutions. I introduced 12 General Areas of complaints & 10 Skeleton Keys that may open the door to solutions from the complaints.
10 Skeleton Keys
Imagine that you have a key ring of 10 Skeleton Keys. As you hear the complaint a co-discovery process of ‘what does better looks like’ happens. From this Skeleton Key ring you are able to hand the Skeleton Key to the person.
The Skelton Keys are:
- Direct Task Assignment;
- Reframing the Situation;
- Exceptions to Rule;
- Symptom Prescription;
- Past Successes;
- New Expectations;
- Minimal Change;
- New Location;
- When will guilt be resolved?;
- What difference will it make to them?
Each Skelton Key may work best depending on how the person frames the complaint.
“Instead of the paradoxical requirement that knowledge should reflect, depict, or somehow correspond to a world as it might be without the knower, knowledge can now be seen as fitting the constraints within which the organism’s living, operating & thinking take place. From that perspective, then, ‘good’ knowledge is the repertoire of ways of acting and/or thinking that enable the cognizing subject to organize, to predict, & even to control the flow of experience.” (von Glasserfeld) – Steve de Shezer
Skeleton Key – New Location
What does the workplace complaint look like?
- Examples in earlier articles … This compulsion comes over me
- They cannot control themselves! I was using the ‘Nine Windows’ tool to develop some variations of how we provide the services to customers. All they did was talk about how much things suck & that the customer is being unrealistic in their expectations. It was painful.
Physical Location & Environment
- The minute I walk through that door I am ready for battle. We know that we are on their terf & walking into their workstations. It is funny how they immediately reject our great ideas & we see that as need for us to win. I think we both want the same thing but they are protective of their work space.
- Did you notice? Around that meeting table people choose their seats very strategically. It seems like the seat you sit in is going to define your alliance to one decision or another. We all seem to know that where you sit around that table you are either going to be in support or against the decision.
What would the New Location – Skeleton Key – look like?
New Location: We affiliate location with specific behaviors & roles. Our brain wants to make things simple by compartmentalizing what happens, how to act, & how others may act within a location. This can be helpful + hurtful. Changing the location may be novel enough to change the discussion & therefore the behaviors & outcomes.
Could this be done elsewhere …
- I notice that using this improvement process the team gets hostile . As a supervisor you are accountable for improvement & determining certain tasks for the team. Where do you find each person open to discussing changes in their work?
- Between now & next week pay special attention to where the team is most open to discussing their work & ideas for improvement. Once you begin to identify the physical location of where this happens – try a small experiment to see what is better about holding the improvement meeting at this location.
Change the location Change the behavior …
- I was interviewed about this in Buffalo Business First – Executing an effective meeting takes planning and purpose
- If the meeting room table is creating negative behaviors change the location of the meeting. Find a location where people get along and you notice positive behaviors.
- If you cannot change the location – change the room set-up. Move the wall decorations, make the chairs higher or lower or place all the chairs against the wall, turn the table side ways, GET RID of the table all together. Change something!
All Skeleton Keys are meant to find Cooperation and be close enough to create progress. If changing the location does not change anything, that’s OK. Try something else.