System Change is not a High Speed Sport

by | Jul 28, 2022 | Change |

high speed

When you go for a multi-day hike, it is not non-stop. You build in times of rest. On one 7 day hike I did, we had a break every 30 minutes. Most of the breaks were for less than 5 minutes, just enough time to have a drink of water. After a couple hours, we would have a longer break, the bags came off, snacks were had, and we sat down. Lunch was again longer. And then when we reached our site for the night, the break was, of course, much longer. There were other breaks spontaneously taken when we had an amazing view (or opportunity for a swim!).

We were moving, just not all time. And it is the rests that enabled us to go the distance.

Change is no different. There is a rhythm to it. The breaks, the pauses, the rests are critical. And these breaks are not the same length of time. And often they are ‘negotiated’ by the group, not dictated by one. Leaders of hikes know this and so do change makers.

From a distance it looks like we could have a series of consecutive workshops day after day after day. And perhaps logistically we could. But it would not work for the change we seek to create. People need time to process, to ponder, to reflect. We can and should build time for this into our workshops, but also between the workshops.

System change is rarely successful as a high speed sport. It is an endurance adventure.

Photo by Mathew Schwartz

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