There is nothing wrong with, and every need for, outrageous ambition right now as we seek to transition from an industrial mindset to something altogether more integrated and inclusive.
Overcoming the natural resistance of those who the current system benefits is a challenge. They are well rooted, and no matter how much we shout, they are more than capable of resisting for a long time yet and all the time they do that we don’t make the progress against climate change, biodiversity, equality and all the other assorted unintended diseases brought on by the last hundred years of growth at all costs.
Being combative may be dramatic and satisfying, but all we get is the partisanship so evident in our politics right now. Making change at this level and this scale is different – it happens one person at time, and then one organisation, and then a city, and onward.
It’s each of our jobs, and no one else’s. There are people we can follow, and be inspired by but in the end it’s down to each of us. Small changes, every day, inspiring others to do the same until it’s done. And of course, it’s never done.
In his latest book, “The Practice” Seth Godin cites the question “how do cowboys herd a thousand cattle”? The answer is, they don’t. They herd ten, who infuence 50, and the rest follow. The Rogers curve for cattle. It may be apochryphal, but the point is made.
We each have a unique take on the world, and the work we do. It’s invaluable, vital and part of the bigger picture. We have a voice, and it needs to be heard if we are to make the changes we need to.
We also have a circle of people with whom we’re credible and who will listen to us.
Shouting into the storm of average on social media will yield most of us little. No matter what our egos may whisper we ‘re largely invisible and not credible to the crowd – but not to those close to us. Expressing our thoughts on social media carries little risk – we can call ourselves experts, or gurus, or whatever – but only those close to you know the reality. We are not all Seth Godin, or Margaret Wheatley. We can shout and feel better, but if nobody’s taking any notice, there’s little at stake.
With our friends, it’s different. If we tell them, it changes relationships and if we can’t persuade our friends, why would strangers listen?
If we want to make change, we need to put ourselves out there in front of those who know us – not just those on our list of a gazillion followers, but those who matter to us. That way, we get feedback and challenge. It strengthens us, and them. They will do the same with the people who know them.
It’s the model of the virus, and we know how well that works.
If we want to make change that matters, we need to take the risk of meaning it with those who matter to us.
If you want to join othets who are learnig how to do this, have a look at harnessing uncertainty. Small scale with big ambition, because it matters.