The use of concepts and models for development purposes contributes very considerably to our understanding of:-
• How effectively we work in groups,
• The environment that we work in,
and provides another dimension in our ability to articulate and communicate, i.e. a framework of visualising and transferring thoughts and ideas in the form of model diagrams and words.
Experience with large numbers of Managers, individually and in groups, working on conceptual thinking and analysis, and the application of models and concepts for development, has helped to form a number of observations which have shaped the development of the DSA Process. These observations are described below.
They are, of course, general statements and an individual’s inclination will differ according to a number of factors which affect his or her approach to learning. However, the main characteristics that have been observed are:-
Not everyone has the same ability to think conceptually, even in groups of Managers of the same level. This leads to the proposition that the models which are used should be uncomplicated and user-friendly and be task dependant for their outputs; there are no models in the Process which insinuate answers or indicate specific solutions.
Because someone may be able to interpret a model, it does not mean that they will use it flexibly and be able to customise it for their own use. All too often, models are looked upon as formulae which produce answers and not as a means of exploration and clarification.
Certainly, one of the most well known strategy models which features in most of the management text books, if it is applied prescriptively, rather than as a means of simply clarifying possibilities, would without any doubt whatsoever, sooner or later force a company into severe difficulties.
The emphasis must be on the exploration of solution options and choice in the context of the available resources.Successful development is about luck, right time, right place and good management.
Managers should be aware of all the total chemistry when using models for development and not expect one-dimensional answers.
Very rarely will Managers in an operating environment use models that are very theoretical or complex, unless they are in a consultancy or corporate role.
Managers need high quality practical tools that are flexible, are immediately accessible and produce career and company enhancing results.