Change Spreads like a Ripple

Each person with a vision has a new idea of the world they want to bring into existence. That vision spreads from their being like a ripple in all directions, moving out into the world and exerting its influence. The more effective the change leader, the more potent the ripple in its impact.

Imagine the change leader as a source of a new world, and all she comes into contact with are changed by her presence. It is this coming into contact with, this engagement, that forms the ground of the changework.  It happens through interaction. The more effective the interaction, the more penetrating and sustaining the transformation.

Coming into contact, engagement, interaction… all words to describe communication, the back and forth that allows us to make meaning which in turn shapes our way of seeing the world, changing the ways we behave.  This is why effective changework always begins with effective communication: the dance of constructing shared meaning.

Here are three ways to engage those around you in that dance:

  1. Model the new behavior. Set the example. Let others engage you through the most basic of human interaction: watching and discovering what is that you do.
  2. Start conversations. Initiate dialogue. Posit your intents, hopes, wishes, aspirations, and then step back and wait for a return from your partners. Meet their steps with an appropriate response. Pay attention to the tenuous connection that forms your intersection.
  3. Bring people together. Hold events. Convene a group and interject your  purpose. Make sure there is plenty of time for back and forth, to compliment the structure you bring. Check in with your participants. Remember that although you convened the gathering, each participant experiences it from their point-of-view, the center of their own universe. Do what you can to understand what the experience is like for them.
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