Co-conspirator of mine, Chris Corrigan, has shared a post he titled – Dealing with your slaves and seeing the world. This piece is a timely reminder about how we perceive the world around us. For me, it’s a little challenge to my own perspective … and to the stories I make in my mind about any problem that I am tackling.
I’ll try not to just repeat what Chris says, however this quote from Adam Kahane is at the core of his post …
“Bill Torbert of Boston College once said to me that the 1960s slogan “If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem” actually misses the most important point about effecting change. The slogan should be, “If you’re not part of the problem, you can’t be part of the solution.” If we cannot see how what we are doing or not doing is contributing to things being the way that they are, then logically we have no basis at all, zero leverage, for change the way things are — except from the outside, by persuasion or force.”
When I hear people (and myself) talking about any problem – communication at the local school, device/screen addiction in their kids, the Alcoa Coal mine – the image in my mind looks like this …
Imagine if we could really see our own part in every complex problem we perceived – local or global. I think this self perception would fundamentally change a lot of conversations. A deeper understanding about our part (and the parts other’s play) in the problem helps to build up a better picture of the whole. You can apply this to different scales – individual, team and organisational, national.
Chris concludes his post with a few questions:
“So, what is your experience in affecting change from inside the problem? How do you work towards justice while recognizing your complicity in the very problems you are addressing?”
The practice-challenge to myself is a question about how I reframe things in my own mind. Here is one personal example I’ll apply it to:
What is my part (and how am I complicit) in the device-addiction that has crept back into our family life since returning from our 5 month trip last year? And then … how can I affect change from within the problem?