SFiO
The InterAction Collection
OF SOLUTION FOCUS PRACTICE IN ORGANISATIONS · Vol 13 - 2021 Edition

Empowering People for Successful Change?

Susanne Burgstaller - The Patti Smith of the SF world

Jan 29, 2021

Susanne Burgstaller

Introduced by Alan Lyons

Susanne has 30 years of experience in change consulting; however, she believes her last 20 years were the most productive ones, as she was using the Solution-Focused approach.

Luckily for us, Susanne’s new mission is to teach what she has learned about making change impactful and fast. So sit back and prepare to propel through a well-honed and accessible array of tools and ideas to help empower people for successful change.

Susanne compartmentalises empowering people for change into, • Who is ‘the change agent’? and • Who is ‘the change receiver’?

The change agent often seeks the change consultants’ input and invariably receives their primary attention. Many consultants are guilty of designing change interventions with solely the change agent in mind. Susanne reminds us to Begin With The Change Receiver in Mind! She highlights how doing so will enable you to ‘play tennis’ with your clients on the same side of the net.

Susanne provokes thought by pointing out that people do not need to be empowered as that is their natural state; however, leaders can disempower them by not involving them in the strategy and change process. In the spirit of solution-focused practice, it is helpful to remember that people are not resistant to change. They just do not respond well to forced change or change in which change agents have not meaningfully involved them. It reminds me of a classic song by punk singer/songwriter Patti Smith, called ‘People Have The Power’ (view it here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pPR-HyGj2d0). Susanne Burgstaller is truly the Patti Smith of the SF world.

Susanne sprinkles her SF wisdom over us throughout her talk; if you want to find answers to the following questions, you have come to the right place!

• How many things can we hold in our mind at any given moment? • How does confirmation bias impact change? What is the status quo bias? • How can you show up as your best self? • Who do people believe more, their managers or colleagues? • How do you identify and engage customers for change? • Is there a scale of clarity in a messy world? • Can a community be nudged?

Susanne ends by telling us that she has learned so much from her clients regarding the practices and models they use. We now also benefit from this in a polished, refreshing, honest, refined and punk rock fashion.

Susanne Burgstaller
Susanne Burgstaller
InterAction Contributor
SFiO Contributor

I have been leading and coaching organisations for more than 30 years. Adopting the Solution Focused approach to my work has been transformative, amplifying my impact and work satisfaction way beyond what I thought was possible.

Alan Lyons
Alan Lyons
InterAction Contributor
SFiO Contributor

Alan has practiced as a professional psychologist for over 20 years. He belongs to both the Division of Work and Organisational Psychology and the Division of Counselling Psychology within the Psychological Society of Ireland.

John Brooker
John Brooker
Co-President
SFiO Reviewed Practitioner
Editor of Interaction
Chapter Head
SFiO Contributor

John has over thirty years experience of leading people to collaborate effectively. He gained his leadership experience as a Senior Vice President in Visa International, working on international projects. Since 2004 he has used his leadership and Solution Focus expertise to enable people in multinational and national organisations to collaborate effectively. He is Co-President of Solution Focus in Organisations, an SFiO Reviewed Practitioner and has an MBA from The Open University in the UK.

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