Small Beginnings from Our Community

We invited a group of pretty remarkable people to listen to our “talk” on Sustainable Change. The group reflected those people who have watched us, and have helped us, mature as professionals. It was a gathering of our community. The talk is something we have been working on for the past 10 months. It is based on our research, testing and now articulation of a framework that companies and organizations can use to bring forth intentional and lasting change. 

There are two things that came out of the gathering that we wanted to share.

The first is what we learned from their willingness to be vulnerable. To prepare for the session, we asked everyone to come with a personal story of change. Something that had impact for them, good or bad, and something that could give insight into how individuals and groups best approach and view change. Their stories, both personal and moving, yielded a number of change beliefs and outlooks. In our language, they were “small beginnings” that people can call upon when facing change. We thought we would share them as they will serve as an invaluable reference for us when working with people attempting to fulfill change intentions.

  • You have to face change with an open heart, a willingness to let change reveal itself versus trying too hard to hold on to the past. 
  • You must remember that, in most instances, change is hard. Sometimes you have to walk alone for awhile.
  • Change asks for an adjustment in how you look at things - to do that, you have to really be present, in the moment, in order to recognize and respond to new expectations.
  • When you realize that you are capable of helping others, that becomes a strong catalyst for change.
  • Personal change comes about when you learn to listen to your inner voice and move away from trying to live by the expectations of others.
  • During times of change, you have to work hard at sustaining the things that are important to you and your culture. Know what they are and bring them with you.
  • It is the small pushes that makes change happen over time. You have to stick with something until it moves. 

The second thing that emerged from our community gathering was a question. A pretty good question. People asked, “what do we mean by “sustainable change?” The question was asked in order to better understand its connection to sustainability (certainly, a trendy word.) And, it was a question that signaled a need for us to better define the term for our community and clients. 

We thought about it, and we talked about it after the gathering. Bill wrote this:

We are careful to state “sustainable change,” treating the two words together rather than isolating on the concept of “sustainability.” To us, “sustainable change” means change that completes the transfer from “the few” to “the many” without stopping at the “awareness” level, but takes “the many” through “deep understanding” and into “ownership,” change that is baked into everyday behaviors across the breadth and depth of the organization, and most of all, change that keeps on working across time, distance and individual accountabilities to fulfill and even exceed the original intention.

We invite your insights into what you feel contributes to sustainable change. What are your “small beginnings?”

Chris @ sr4