The scaling question is one of the more famous solution focused techniques, although most will not identify it as such, as shown in the Guardian recently:
Back then, when I asked a dozen or so activists to mark their morale out of 10, I was greeted by plenty of sevens, eights and nines – but he put his score at zero, and he doesn’t seem to have cheered up.
His point here is that the Lib Dems morale has gone from 8ish to 0. However, it is usual to misuse this technique as I discussed previously when ICM used a similar question in a poll last year. So this gives a misleading idea of the situation. So if anyone would like to use such a technique in their local party or elsewhere to gauge where people are and look to motivate them then let’s look at getting it right.
First, frame the scale so we know what we are talking about. ‘Thinking about the Lib Dems at the moment, on a scale of 0 to 10, where would you say your morale is right now (where 10 is the highest it could possibly go and 0 is the lowest it could possibly go)’. The number will give you your ‘platform’.
If it is more than 0, ask why it is not 0. This seeks to look at why it is not worse which focuses people on what is working well at the moment. We can ask if we like if there has been a time when this number has been higher and why it was higher. This gives an idea of what the party has done which works well.
However, this is about the individual and what they can do rather than someone’s morale being a purely about the national party having to do something to make it better. So we ask what they could do which would move their number from the platform to the next number. We are not looking for how to get from, for example, 1 to 10 but from 1 to 2.
We can ask what they would be happening differently if their number was 2 points higher on the scale? This gives more ideas on what they can do to help increase their own morale.
So we may get a conversation like this:
A: Thinking about the Lib Dems at the moment, on a scale of 0 to 10, where would you say your morale is right now (where 10 is the highest it could possibly go and 0 is the lowest it could possibly go)
A: Why would you put it at a 2 rather than a 0?
B: We didn’t come 3rd in the Sad & Old by-election and we maintained our percentage share of the vote. There have been some progress with policies which are important to me such as child detention and pupil premium. I have read some good things about the Lib Dems every now and again so I guess things could be worse than they are even if things are bad at the moment.
A: Has this number ever been higher?
B: In the last election I would say it was a 9.
A: Why would you have placed your morale at a 9 then?
B: Because our poll ratings were higher, we had lots of good press, people were talking positively about the Lib Dems. It felt like we were going to do better than we ever have done.
A: You say you are at a 2 at the moment. What do you think would be different if that number was a 3?
B: I think I would read more positive things about the Lib Dems in the papers.
A: is there anything that you could do to help with this?
B: I could write letters and responses to articles to the papers I suppose?