Fallout from a system

When we think of change as something to do, we cause problems. We think we can fix what's broken, correct what's mistaken and change what is stuck. We are unconsciously resisting what's persisting and opposing the opposition. We play into the perpetuation of what "needs changing"

When we think of change as something that happens, we cause solutions. We imagine change as the fallout of our approach, a side effect of handling the current issues and the repercussion of our involvement. We play into the emergence of effective changes.

It's very tempting to cause stagnation when we want to make change happen. We idealize the necessary change and invalidate the current stability. We make a thing of recognizing dangers and endanger the ecology that maintains the current balance.

It's very possible to set up the eventual sabotage of change when we show people how important the change has become. We see those who change as allies and those who don't as enemies. We make it clear we don't understand others, have not changed our minds or cannot learn from resistance. We demonstrate how we are "part of the problem" with our ill-conceived leadership. Our actions say "buyer beware of this hype" while our words say "change before its too late".

We can realize change as the fallout of a dynamically stable system. We expect the change to occur as part of our systems rebounding from setbacks and adapting to new variety resourcefully. We encourage the reflecting, realizing and responding that naturally occurs in the presence of these new inputs. We allow these processes to unfold and yield beneficial side effects.

We can even create conditions where transformation occurs. We realize there are both: ongoing processes of resilience that yield incremental changes and occasional processes that yield changes in how changing occurs. When we include the deep change with the immediate adjustments, both occur as they are called for. We validate the playing by the rules and playing around with the rules. We welcome winning the game and changing the game to benefit more constituencies. Then we are the system that yields incremental and transformational changes in a context of dynamic equilibrium.


  1. Steve Roesler11/19/2007 8:05 PM

    Nice one, Tom,

    You say "It's very possible to set up the eventual sabotage of change when we show people how important the change has become."

    Attaching undue importance to something that is inherently natural creates angst when angst is least desired. Indeed, the human condition will respond by acting and reacting in ways that are counterproductive to the task at hand.

    And adding a deadline to that which is transforming places an artificial constraint that defies the very definition of transformation.

    Waving the banner of "change" is risky business!

  2. Steve:
    You tuned into where I was coming from and took me further than I had gone by myself. Thanks for this!