Chapter 10: Understanding Concerns behind Requests

This essay was developed for internal consultant training. It was originally named “Change and Concerns”.   As consultants engaged with the conversation for action structure—the loop—it became evident that understanding and articulating a client’s concern is challenging.  Most people are not clear what their concerns are when making a request, and this will often become articulated and rearticulated in the context of the ongoing working relationship between client and provider.

Companies need to be in touch with their customer in a way that reaches beyond what customers themselves are able to articulate. We believe that being in touch with your customers begins with listening to and addressing their unarticulated concerns, not their articulated needs and desire. In this discussion, we will focus on concerns. What does it mean for human beings to have concerns? We will discuss a particular view of what concerns are and how they work.

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