Posts tagged systems change
The good sport

When Carolyn Townsend joined Sport Nova Scotia, she entered a passionate team of collaborators. They had energy, devoted partners, and a unique approach to working together, with plenty of opportunities for improvement and growth. But sometimes, a fresh set of eyes means we see what long-time team members cannot. In this guest piece for The Outside, Carolyn writes about how to keep a clear frame of view on our organization, our team, and our work together — whether we’re brand-new or years in — and why it matters.

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Beyond 'billboard-change'

‘Change’ designed to fit on a billboard is constrained by the size of a single billboard. We all know that. I’m not sure any of us would see that in the airport and think, “Right on! My organization needs to address child poverty / invent new energy / distribute more food / design the city of tomorrow. I’m going to book a call with ABC Consulting and get it done by next Tuesday!” But when we’re working towards long-game change, you’re going to be uncomfortable. Which is exactly how you’re supposed to feel, if the change is going to be real.

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Schools of change

On one day, Otto Scharmer may be just the right thing to nudge people ahead. On another, we may pull out some Art of Hosting rules to make sure everyone’s listening openly, or we may map out a series of Agile-inspired sprints to get everyone’s sleeves rolled-up. None of the theories above are big enough to hold what we do. We use pieces of them all and are attached to none. Isn’t it freeing?

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Are we agile?

So far, The Outside has been highly emergent and highly self-organizing, but we need structure for order, and order for growth. Not growth in the interest of capacity alone—‘do more work’—but the kind of growth that aligns with our values as partners, parents, friends, and practitioners. After all, if we can’t manage our own change, how can we manage anyone else’s?

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The fresh air (and how-to!) of shared impact

“It’s like all of us—all these disparate people and organizations—have dumped out all their streams-of-consciousness on a shared floor. And we’re all standing around looking at it, moving it around. We see redundancies and baggage and a lot that’s shared. We see material and meaning. Even though a lot of our energy in these early days is looking at the mess, we also see confirmation that where we’re going is the right way.” —Joel Veborg

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Communication and systems change

Today’s post is a collaboration with Lex Schroeder, who writes: “Having come up in the systems thinking and Art of Hosting communities, and having spent a great deal of time learning participatory leadership methods, I tell stories that reflect back a group’s learning. Without speaking for individuals or for the group as a whole, I try to catch the group’s collective intelligence and make visible new insights.”

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Talk: On transforming systems

What would we say to a group of collaborators tasked with a new mandate and about to set out into that new territory? What’s most important to remember, especially given the certainty of facing difficult realities and doing things counter to ‘the way things have always been done’? For a primer and refresher in-one, watch the whole 20x20 presentation. Let’s keep stretching!

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Seeds and blueprints

We imagine a fresh space in which we recognize and dodge familiar blocks, drawing exciting new ideas and voices to the surface. But somehow—even if we have an invigorating session or refreshed spell—we can’t seem to make the connections necessary for that moment put down the roots of a renewed phase. Here’s what’s missing: a map.

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How facilitators bring forward the new

In Art of Hosting, there's no such thing as a hands-off host. If we are among any AoH cohort, we're constantly practicing how to host actively—to surface more voices that are often surprising, otherwise marginalized, and deeply valuable. In this excerpt of Tuesday Ryan-Hart's talk, we explore beyond the intention of equity to the practical implementation of it.

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Difficult days pave the way

Think of how kids play, learn, and integrate new information. As we explore and push the boundaries of what's familiar, we endure (and perpetrate!) countless bumps, scrapes, and meltdowns. This is the formative glue of long-term learning. Without challenging days, we’d lack the context to capitalize on our best days. And without a playful spirit, the most serious blocks might break our best efforts apart.

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