Change. Does the mere mention of the word fill you with dread, make your toes curl and your innards quake?
Or are you bolstered by the refreshing and energizing possibilities change brings and you’re more a bring it on kind of person?
I work with a lot of clients who are facing big changes and/or are in the business of effecting social change. So change is on my radar a lot.
I designed this quadrant to help you locate your specific change situation, work in partnership and give you some options for moving forward, no matter where you lie on the continuum of how you feel about change.
It struck me that many a change initiative gets bogged down by those who are focused on individual change and those who laser in on social/systemic change.
Folks get their knickers on a knot and confuse the two. For example, individual change can be prevented if there are systemic things in place to block or challenge it. Think of the #metoo movement – it’s all about bringing the focus to systemic/structural change (for example the culture of men that allows horrendous treatment of women), instead of the focus on merely individual change (for example, ‘if you’d only not dressed that way, this wouldn’t have happened,’ which is also known as victim-blaming).
Individual change is where your change effort is focused on yourself, your team, your partner, your family or a small number of colleagues. And with an individual focus you can laser in on S.A.K.E. s © – skills, attitudes, knowledge and experience, that’s required for the change effort.
Systemic/structural change focuses on your organization, your community, your sector. And with a systemic/structural focus, you can then focus on learning culture, organizational culture, policies and programs to bring about the change you’re seeking.
The difference between individually focused change and systemic/structural change is vast and wide. Pick one to start and you’ll be off to the races. And I’ll be celebrating you.
But hang on, you’re saying to yourself, what about the quadrant you talked about.
Ahhhh, this is where things get juicy. You can add your own continuum to make up the quadrant.
Here are some examples:
- Evolution (slow, quiet, gentle change) ßà Revolution (in your face, abrupt, obvious change)
- Urgent / Fast (change that’s needed ASAP) <– –> Long term / Slow (change that can come about with a long time horizon)
- Big (large scale change) <– –>Small (small scale change)
By putting the two continuums on a quadrant it clears some space and opens up possibilities for moving forward, that’s more targeted to where you’re at and what you need.
Now choose your own continuum and make it into a quadrant (you math whiz you). See below for a worksheet you can download to help you.
The important, not too small print:
- Context: Every change initiative happens in a particular context, that’s unique to your situation. Make sure you take your context into account.
- Access and inclusion: Every change initiative happens with a lens of access and inclusion issues, like those below. Make sure you take those into account as well.
- Power and privilege
- Cultural issues such as ability, race, gender, sexual orientation, recency of migration, spirituality/religion
Now go on and learn, laugh and lead.
- Dig into your change even more and discover your change personality.
- Be open to change and break free from constraints and restrictions like this dog and police officer.
- Download the worksheet and fill it in for yourself and then share with your team.