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« The Importance of Getting to No | Main | Addressing the Eroding Power of the Social Web »

September 03, 2013

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Marieconnelly

Rachel, I love this post!

We talk a lot about behavioral change in our work - both from a community engagement point of view, and also from the health care perspective - and your points here really ring true.

So often, we get overwhelmed by the scope of what we're trying to change, that it can seem Sisyphean. But I think if we allow ourselves to recognize that the trajectory is rarely linear, it's easier to push forward. In some ways though, I wonder if that's almost easier on an individual level though - as you say, our organizations and institutions aren't really designed to foster this kind of change!

Rhappe

Marie -

I think this is where communities play a huge role because they provide constant tiny nudges in the right direction vs. a big effort dropped in people's laps who are then asked to 'change'. People don't change in big ways all at once... they start doing something slightly different and over time realize that they have changed.

I'm not giving up hope that our organizations can cultivate change - they just need to be restructured to support it and that starts with building communities (I'm biased but I do think I'm right!)

Thanks for the comment - looking forward to more of your thoughts :)

Melinda Lewis

As someone who both recently started running (and is just as startled by it) and thinks a lot about organizational change, I'm struck by how I'd never thought to put the two together. So thank you! I would add that I think we also need the right incentives and facilitative structures--I am keenly aware of the advantages I face in approaching physical fitness, for example, as someone with a partner (to help with the kids) and a safe neighborhood (where I can run). The parallels here, for organizational change, would be the expectations placed on nonprofits by funders and other external stakeholders and the climate of retrenchment, which makes getting the space in which to catch one's breath and think more difficult. None of those are excuses, in either the individual or organizational contexts, but they do influence the likelihood of 'success', and intervention on that broader level is, I think, just as valid an arena of change.

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