The Time Horizon Challenge

by | Oct 10, 2022 | Change |

time horizon

Systems change can feel overwhelming. It tends to be a big idea or vision, which, because it applies systems thinking, impacts many different interactions. And sometimes, because of all this, it is difficult to grasp or wrap our minds around. The gap between where we are and where we want or need to be is too big. Too deep. The gap (chasm in reality) is demoralising and depressing.

It is easier to watch Netflix or just keep your head down.

However, even in complexity theory, systems thinking, and systems change we can choose to focus on smaller pieces. What is the next conversation you can have today? Or perhaps even smaller yet, who do I need to have coffee with? Book a meeting with? Listen to? Read?

Underlying all change is trust. And almost always trust between humans. And trust often comes through interactions, through conversations. We learn about another through listening, through asking questions, through shared interests. Through respecting another. When we have trust and respect, even just a little, we can have interesting conversations, which in turn can lead to change.

The time horizon for systems change is often long. Complex probelms requires this. However, in our culture which tends to demand instanteous everything, long time horizons are often seen as unacceptable. And yet, they are required. Perhaps now more than ever. But today still has only 24 hours and at least a third of that is for sleeping, so we need to take our complex, long time horizon, systems change thinking approach and ask what can I do today? Not in a reductionistic, industrial model way, but perhaps ask who do I need to learn from today? listen to today? build trust with today?

Movements, big and small, are built on trust between people. On interactions between people. And movements create change.

Who are you interacting with today?

Photo by Joshua Earle


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