Change from the Bottom up LO5368

Julie Beedon (
Mon, 05 Feb 1996 17:22:04

Replying to LO5336 --

Thanks for the reply Tobin

I particularly found this point made me think.....

>I wonder if this is entirely the case. Many times, it seems to me, the
>system changes _before_ the people change and that is one of the problems
>we face. By focusing on individuals and how they change we may be looking
>at the cart and not noticing the horse which is heading down the road at
>full speed.
>I would suggest that it might be the people who change last for the most
>part, and the system--which is much larger than any one organization in
>it--that is busy transitioning to new states before we are even aware of it.

MMMmmmm and I bet this is closer to what happens than my original point
about people changing... but then what is the system... and how does it
get changed??? Is it a number of small decisions by people which when
brought together snowball into some bigger systemic changes we had not
anticipated... and would not have wanted... and why do people make the
small decisions ... I heard the notion once of the 'tyranny of the small
decision' and it is a concept I tend to relate to 'out of town' shopping
... ie we decide as individuals to go to the big out of town supermarkets
and malls and (in the UK at least) we lose our beautiful towns and their
shopping centres... planners are starting to say no... so another change
.... simulations must help for then we can see the impact of lots of small
'changes' people make on the whole system.... and I think that is where my
thinking came from ie if we all carried on doing the same things would the
same things happen .... we must be changing our thinking and actions all
the time without realising it for change to be happening so rapidly..
maybe it is the exponential effect of it all .... WOW!!!!

>This makes a lot of sense, since we may not know where to start as
>individuals, but we may be able to figure something out as a group that
>takes into account more of the complexity which confronts us.

My expereince of large scale whole system change work/events is that there
is a place in the middle of it all when everyone realises - not changing
is not an option and that none of the simple answers they came in with is
enough... and so it feels messy and uncomfortable and something shifts
(like a big lever clicking things into gear...) and so the whole move
forward with more sense of purpose... and the changes in people happen in
real time rather than lagging behind (or being ahead without realising

>One alternative which is also attractive to me is to do all of these
>things at once--start at the bottom, middle, top, outside, _and_
>everywhere as well. This has the advantage of giving everyone a chance to
>take a part of the action and come up with some results. Hopefully by
>working at all of the edges (a la Uri Merry, Mike McMaster, Doug Seeley,
>etc.) we will begin to precipitate the essential changes that need to
>occur so that we can find them by their results. But maybe this is what
>you were saying to begin with...

Yes I think I was ---- which is why I like to work with organisations who
are prepared to takes risks and bring the whole together ... all of the
inside and some of the outside... and engage with chnage in real time...

>Anyway, the puzzle is intriguing and the process challenging. At least we
>can try to have some fun as we work on it.

Absolutely... and thanks for shifting my paradigm everso...


Julie Beedon
VISTA Consulting - for a better future
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