Unlearning, like learning, requires patience, repetition, and lots of failed attempts. Just like we rarely learn something new on the first attempt, we don’t unlearn something on the first attempt either. And yet, too often we are (by ourselves or others) expected to.
Unlearning things like behaviours, processes, and wyas of thinking is additionally hard as these tend to be reinforced by the culture (family, team, community, organisation) in which we live. This is one of the reasons culture change is so difficult and long.
Sometimes significant policy change is enacted resulting in sweeping change. For example, no smoking in pubs resulted in a significant culture change overnight. This can happen in organisations too. However, this type of change is rare. And often this type of change often happens after small changes have creating an overstoppable sea change. The policy cements in.
So our job as change makers is to start the sea change. To start small, being consistent, and drip by drip by drip the tide changes. The hard bit is that we don’t know if the tide will change in the next day, month, or is decades away. Our job is create another drip in the change and, ideally, to bring the drips together.
Sea change (culture) happens one drip at time and then all at once.
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