HSD Tools in Inquiry

There is no one HSD model that fits any given question or issue. Choosing the most helpful tool depends on the context of the situation, the people involved, and the choice of the person who is looking for help. In today’s blog post, Royce explores this idea applying four HSD models to each of the practices of Inquiry.

In HSD, standing in Inquiry opens our eyes to alternative perspectives to help us get unstuck. It consists of 4 practices:

  • Turn judgment into curiosity
  • Turn disagreement into shared exploration
  • Turn defensiveness into self-reflection
  • Turn assumptions into questions

Glenda and I, along with others around us talk about inquiry in HSD because it’s a foundational approach that we invite people to try. We ask them to do what we attempt to do every single day: To step into a state of “being in inquiry” in everything we do. To live, work, and play, carrying a sense of wonder, openness, and self-awareness into every moment’s actions.

And before I go much further, please let me emphasize the word, “attempt.”  Of course we work at it, and of course we often fall short. But we are lucky to have others around us for support. Glenda and others remind me to return to inquiry when my judgment turns to a sense of superiority, when my disagreements feed self-righteousness, when anxiety stops me from moving forward, and when my assumptions lead me astray.

In presentations, Adaptive Action Labs, and in random conversations about my work, I often talk about Inquiry. People ask questions about, “What do I do when . . .?” And the answer, of course, is always, “It depends.” It depends because every situation is different. So there is not one right answer—no magic tool—that will always be the right one to use. I am also often asked about how I decide which models to use when.

This question has gotten me to thinking about my “go-to” HSD models and methods that help me think through what’s keeping me stuck, or what is pushing me away from the practices of Inquiry. I chose four of my favorite HSD models to explore how they help me remain in Inquiry in a world that can change in a heartbeat. The tools I chose were:

  • Four Truths explores the ways we come to see what we call “truth” in the world. It helps you understand different perspectives that influence individual and group action. When you recognize and consider the possible perspectives in any situation, you are better able to navigate the differences that limit open dialogue and free action. The Four Truths provides you a way to consider multiple perspectives and then identify the one that is best fit to your purpose.
  • Interdependent Pairs allows individuals and groups to explore the paradoxes that emerge from the complexity in their systems. In a complex system, there is very little that is all or nothing. The challenges that have you stuck are the ones where there is no clear one-way consideration. The stickiness of your issues comes because you move on shifting landscapes between the extreme positions on the questions you face.
  • Finite and Infinite Games inform your decision making as you consider the long- and short-term implications of decisions and actions. In complex systems, it is crucial that you know whether you are making a decision, finding a solution, or taking action in a short-term, win-lose Finite Game, or if your actions and decisions are part of the longer-term, more sustainable Infinite Game.
  • Decision Map is a representation of the factors and considerations that influence decisions. Whether you are trying to understand someone else's decisions or consider your own, the Decision Map provides meaningful insights to inform your perspective and action.

I put each of these tools up against each of the Inquiry Practices to explore what each one has to offer to support the process of inquiry. Even I was surprised by the depth of the applications and the insights that are possible from the different tools.

It is my hope that this example might trigger you to look deeply into the HSD models and methods. I offer this to help you find true and useful ways to apply those tools as you step into the HSD vision. I invite you use any of the HSD models to stand in Inquiry “see patterns clearly, seek to understand them, and act with courage to turn turbulence and uncertainty into possibility for all.”

Be in touch and let me know how this works for you.


Join a global network of learning about HSD!
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.