A key without a lock is as useful as a lock without a key. In any case, these two objects serve to prevent entry of unauthorized persons. The key then becomes the symbol of the possibility to block or open access – whether the key belongs to somebody or not. Since only valuable things are locked away, the key is connected to get to a treasure. These can indeed be valuables, but also explanations, recipes or solutions.
The following features make the key the ideal metaphor for solutions.
- Clear purpose
The fact that a door or box is closed provides the indication that there is something valuable or interesting behind. The treasure that you get with the key is the real purpose. A solution also has a purpose. These can be economic objectives, improvements or a project.
- Custom-fit design
The simplest locks can be opened with the simplest keys. Since unauthorized persons gained access with the help of a picklock, the locks became increasingly complicated. For this reason, today different key types – pin tumbler lock, lever lock, tubular, or ceremonial keys. Solutions also work best when tailored to the target group and, above all, to the problem.
- Precise implementation
The understanding of the lock and its purpose is not enough to implement the mechanism. In order for the key to work, it must be precisely fine-grained. Only when all corners and edges correspond exactly to the lock, it opens. The same happens to a solution. For the desired effects the results have to be worked out neatly. You have to answer the right questions that fit the mindset and language of the target group, as well as the intended purpose.
- Everyday use
If the implementation and the material of the key are correct, the key will last long in the everyday application. The same applies to comprehensive solutions that have described well all aspects such as the intended application, the operation and the results.
- Defined procedure
Even the procedure is similar. To create a key, you first need a pattern, in the case of a solution it is the concrete situation that it is all about. Then one examines the whole and finds solutions, from which one chooses the most probable. Now the implementation is planned and installed. The key is now ready to work out the cuts and edges. In the solution the corresponding components – a business process, data model or responsibility matrix. What remain are then only the guidebook and the use of the new key.
Bottom line: The key opens doors and boxes, thus allowing access to certain results that lie behind the locks. The solution has the same function. Its purpose is to achieve certain results. This similarity makes the key to an ideal metaphor for a solution.
Changes happen in any form and magnitude. If the look at the world changes from a flat disc to a sphere, from creationism to evolution, or from verification to falsification, you call it paradigm shift. Progress can be seen, for example, in the replacement of the Super 8 film by the video cassette, which in turn became obsolete due to today’s digital recording. Immediately people speak of a quantum leap, i.e. a real difference. But the action quantum is unimaginably small! Compared with effects of our everyday world it is only 1/10000000000000000000000000000000000 or 10-34 effect units. If nature makes real leaps, in reality these are only very small differences. There is no explanation for this yet (and perhaps it will never be provided). The changes that we perceive consist in the end of an unimaginably large number of invisible adaptations that sum up to our perceptible changes.
For this reason you should simplify the presentation, by coarsening the scale in order to clarify the changes. For example in the following cases:
- Object of change
Material and spiritual objects can change. In general, material objects consist of any kind of stuff. These material things can be measured (e.g. mass, length/width/depth, or temperature) and have a form. They are gigantic or incredibly small. For our perception, only the part that we can directly perceive is comprehensible.
In contrast, spiritual things are found in the minds of people or in artefacts (i.e. man-made objects, such as books, CDs or commodities). The ideas behind are communicated by the senders (for example, through words, pictures, sounds), but the recipients create their own understanding. This comes from the fact that these mental things are not measurable – apart from their physical „storage media“ (e.g., 258 pages, 1 MB of data, 1 hour of music). Changes can be shown more easily in material than in spiritual objects. Since the actual change can not always be perceived with our senses, a comprehensible object classification is necessary, in order to clarify the changes – e.g. the biosystematics (kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus, species).
- Procedure of change
Changes occur in roughly defined steps (discrete), in very many small steps (quasi-continuous) or smoothly (continuous). Step by step gradations are often called digital and flowing ones analog. Due to the clear grouping, discrete changes can be more easily described. In the case of continuous progressions, artificially created steps have to be set up, in order to show the change. Changes become more and more subtle, the more they flow. The clear definition of the observation timeframe determines whether changes are noticeable or substantial, e.g. operational controlling measures quarterly and annually, instead of hourly.
- Extent of change
The magnitude of change determines how much something diverges. Depending on the object and the process, changes are perceived as improvement or revolution. If the universe expands by a few light years, this is nothing compared with its 78 billion light years. As soon as a wooden door is subjected to great temperature changes, it can expand a millimeter and therefore no longer fit into the doorframe. Changes always depend on the overall context. It should be described in such a way that a meaningful statement about the changes is possible – e.g. economic changes are more understandable per inhabitant, instead on country base.
- Duration of the change
Homo sapiens has not changed significantly in the last 200,000 years. On the basis of findings you can observe that the brain, the physics, and the physical abilities are very similar. Besides a great cultural development took place for the last 5000 years. Over the past twenty years, the Internet has dramatically changed the lives of most people – although we are still the Stone Age people of thousands of years ago. We often call it development, transition, or paradigm shift. Changes always depend on the timeframe. The considered period should be in a reasonable ratio to the change, e.g. the impact of the strategy can not be seen the following month.
- Place of change
The context describes the location of the change. This involves, on the one hand, the current change of location, from A to B. But, on the other hand, also changes in the existing object context. If you move an unchanged object into a new environment, this might have an impact on the object – for example, when a computer is used at the south pole, at minus 60 degrees. If the computer remains in the local area and its local context changes, e.g. if the power fails, then this also has serious effects. Changes result from the context. The environment should be described in a way that the change can be correctly classified – e.g. an increased milk production of 50 liters per day means something different on a little farm than in factory farming.
Bottom line: The real change, the quantum leap, often takes place outside our perception. For this reason, you should define the basic conditions of the change. This includes the objects, the procedure, the extent, the duration and the place of the change. On this basis and with the respective scaling, changes will become more comprehensible, comparable and easier to classify.
The urge of further improving the economics brings the staff members, above all, more tasks, which have less available time for execution. This results in pressure that produces physical and mental damages. Subsequently the ability gets lost to be simply attentive at any time.
The current situation is determined by the own mental state and the mood of the partners. In order to use the various perspectives, one has to take time to make oneself aware of the different points of view. This is valid for the own convictions, opinions and experiences, but also for trying to understand the mental world of other people and groups.
Experienced reflections that will be ever easier over time become possible through a set of smart questions. The following aspects enable the dispute with yourself and putting oneself in the position of others.
A situation always happens in a certain environment. At which times (when), in which environment (where), with whom (who), by using (by what), with which emphasis (why) and for which purpose (what for), happens something (what)? Only the procedures that take place in the context should be considered. All others should be excluded.
In a situation various interests collide. For this reason you should limit yourself to the circumstances that you can influence. Which components of the context are important (which) and can be affected by yourself or by others (who)? Only the facts that can be influenced make a difference.
The event is defined by the acts that proceed in a certain order. What triggers the situation (Cause), which steps take place in which order (Sequence) and what results from the situation (Outcome)? The procedure provides the individual causes and effects that result eventually in the outcomes.
Our perception is limited by the own horizon. One way to overcome this restriction is the consideration of all senses. What can be seen (visually)? What can be heard (auditory)? How does it feel like (kinesthetic)? What can be smelled (olfactory)? What can be tasted (gustatory)? Through the consideration of the different sensory stimuli you receive a comprehensive impression of the circumstances.
The insights that one connects with the circumstances, make the core of the conditions more concrete. What does one learn from the situation (Insights) that is useful (Advantages) or harms (Disadvantages) oneself? The point of view is extended by the consciously made pros and cons and minimizes unintentional effects.
The unconscious influences become visible by looking at the own convictions. Which values will become injured and which negative attitudes are confirmed by the situation? The recognition of the intuitive influences de-emotionalizes the evaluation of the situation.
If you look at the six aspects from the own perspective or with the eyes of others, you can receive a comprehensive overview of a situation at any time.
Bottom line: In order to be simply attentive, it is important to recognize and to examine with the above questions the involved points of view. Thus one gets away from the naturally subjective perception of the conditions and gets a clearer basis for effective discourses.