HSD Models and Methods: Multi-Tasking Tools!

HSD Models and Methods offer us a way to live out the HSD vision.

Give me a lever long enough, a fulcrum on which to place it, and a space to stand, and I will move the world. —Archimedes

This last week, I was introducing one of the HSD-informed tools we use, and I was struck again by how multifaceted our tools really are. Their utility is named in the way we refer to them as “Models and Methods.” Often when I teach about the tools, I come back to that designation with a renewed appreciation for all they offer us. 

On our website, we have listed 21 Models and Methods that help us use HSD principles to live, work, and play in the complexity of today’s world. Some are more broadly used than others. Some are more foundational than others, but they all help us move toward the HSD vision:

People everywhere thrive because
we see patterns clearly,
we seek to understand, and
act with courage to
transform turbulence and uncertainty
into possibility for all.

Using one of my favorite examples, I will walk through the realization I re-celebrated this past week. We sometimes use the shorthand of calling them “tools”, but generally we refer to them formally as Models and Methods because those are the purposes they serve.

Each one is, actually, a model or picture of reality, as we understand and experience it in the HSD Paradigm. Each one can become a Model that represents the three conditions that shape the patterns we experience, based on Glenda Eoyang’s codification of the
CDE Model. In the challenges and opportunities we face, something holds the system together as patterns form. We call that the Container (C). Differences (D) give shape, form, and energy to the pattern. Exchanges (E) in the system allow for information and other resources to move within the system. The tool, itself, helps us picture, or model, those dynamics.

In the model, you reveal relationships and connections between and among the conditions that point to methods of intervention. You see choices of action you can take to shift the pattern that is creating the difficulty in your challenge.

Consider this example, using one of the simplest of all our tools: Same and Different.

See systems clearly in your reality by mapping them into the Model. This will reveal something about each of the conditions as you see into the dynamics of the system. 

When you use the Same and Different it helps you look at one pattern or set of patterns in a given situation. When you list Similarities, you are naming the Containers that hold the system to allow different patterns to emerge.

As you identify the Differences in your situation, you point to the sources of energy or tension in the patterns of the system. As you label the two sides of the table, you are relying on the meaning, or information, carried across the system. The Exchanges are assumed.

Seek to understand your reality by studying and analyzing your Model. Hypothesize Methods to shift your patterns.

As you work with the two sides of the table, identify which items in the “Same” are helpful to the system’s success (+), which are blocks or hurtful to the system's success (-), and which are neutral (o). You take the same steps with items on the “Different” side of the table. This helps you slow down and consider patterns you see and their impact on the overall functioning of the system.

You can zoom in more closely to see the direct or immediate impact. You can zoom out to see the larger impact. You can make comparisons, identify connections across the two sides of the table, and sort out the degree of impact on any individual factor.

Ultimately you begin to imagine what might happen if you shift some of the items labeled as positives to make them stronger. What can you do to make them larger in the system, increase their frequency, or broaden their scope? You can imagine just the opposite with the items you have labeled as negative. What actions might you take to lessen their impact on the system by making them smaller, decreasing their frequency, or narrowing their scope? Your understanding of the system grows as you move through this analysis.

Act with courage to choose one idea (Method) that may shift your patterns.

Identify one action you can take to make one of the shifts you hypothesized in the last step.

Take that step and watch the impact of that one shift. Determine what difference your actions have made. Then you make your next decision based on that difference.

Any of the Models and Methods identified on our website can help you do this. They are very diverse, and some are better for particular jobs. For example, some work more effectively with conflict; some are more effective with prioritizing; and some help you align the action in your system. Whatever your task, the HSD Models and Methods have a great deal to offer you at home, in your community, and at work.

As you work with them you will find some you feel more comfortable. I know that regardless of the challenge I face, HSD tools can help me see and understand it in ways that point to powerful action. For me, it continues to build both my courage and my confidence. Pick your favorite Model / Method and try it. Let me know how it goes.

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