4. Conclusion: No Such Thing as Three Supports

Three Supports for Comm Development4.  CONCLUSION
No Such Thing as “Three Supports”


There really is no such thing as “The Three Supports”.  It’s an arbitrary configuration of ideas, concepts, values and processes I’ve observed in my career and studied throughout my graduate training in education and organizational change.

The strength of any framework, rubric or model relies on the degree of objectivity to which its creator(s) were able to maintain during the phase of investigation or inquiry preceding its creation.

But, as I have hopefully demonstrated in previous sections, the objective recognition of individual and organizational patterns involves a great deal of active consideration in the areas of language, perspective and personal experience.  If we wish to be objective, this process requires our commitment to examine our own assumptions and perspectives at every turn -a challenging task, for we may never know the extent to which we ourselves are “in the dark.”  So, there is likely to be a degree of subjectivity on the part of a model’s creator(s), which means, therefore, that we would be wise to examine a model and its assumptions with a critical eye.

We can also hold up to the light of inquiry the arrangements and nomenclature of a model’s ideas with the understanding that these configurations are meant to facilitate the presentation of those ideas in a manner that will be clear to the reader.

In other words, we can acknowledge the arbitrary nature of a framework -and simultaneously respect the responsibility of its creator to arrange the concepts in a way that can best facilitate the reader’s understanding.  All the while, we can continue to investigate its claims and to vigorously question its values and assumptions with the aim of understanding the realities that a model attempts to represent.

My motivation for elaborating on these mission supports has been to organize what I believe are the main components of healthy organizations and to persuade the reader to consider these components in a thoughtful way.

Ultimately, embracing empathy and humanity throughout its entire operation best supports an organization’s mission.  It is my hope that the rubric of Three Supports has helped to shed light on this important understanding.

Bibliography and Suggested Readings

Carlson, R V. (1996). Reframing & reform: perspectives on organization, leadership, and  school change.  White Plains, NY: Longman Publishers, USA.


Cohen, D. 2005).  The Heart of Change Field Guide: Tools and Tactics for Leading Change in Your Organization.  Cambridge, MA: Harvard Business Press


Elgin, S. H. (1993, 2nd ed). The gentle art of verbal self-defense.  New York, NY: Barnes & Noble, Inc.


Elgin, S.H. (2000). The gentle art of verbal self-defense at work. New York, NY: Prentice Hall Press


Heifetz, R. A. Grashow, A., Linsky, M. (2009).  The Practice of Adaptive Leadership: Tools and Tactics forChanging Your Organization and the World  Cambridge, MA: Harvard Business Press


Kegan, R., Lahey, L. L. (2001).  How the way we talk can change the way we work.  San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass


Leymann, H. (1990).  “Mobbing and Psychological Terror at Workplaces,”  pp. 119-126. New York, NY:Springer Publishing Company, LLC, Reprinted,  13 February 2009.


Senge, P. M., Kleiner, A., Roberts, C., Ross, R. B., Smith, B. J., (1994). The fifth discipline fieldbook: Strategies and tools for building a learning organization.  New York, NY: Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group, Inc..


Simon, G. K. (2010).  In sheep’s clothing: Understanding and dealing with manipulative people.  Little Rock, AK: Parkhurst Brothers Publishers Inc.


Strauss, D. (2002).  How to make collaboration work: Powerful ways to build consensus, solve problems, and make decisions.  San Francisco, CA: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc.