First thoughts

We’re exploring new ways of doing, being and working. It’s a long journey. We’d like to share the path. This is a snapshot of some of what we found along the way.

Peter Brownell
Sep 8 · 7 min read
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Newsletter #1 — September 2020

Here we share our personal voices. We pull content from our daily journals and explorations and share it in an unfiltered form.

Contents

  • Stuff we found online
  • Thoughts from our journals
  • Quotes and concepts that we found significant
  • Stories from our work
  • Practices that make a difference

Articles, resources and tools

Things we found online

RAT (Rework Avoidance Theory)

https://www.geepawhill.org/2020/07/17/the-rat-rework-avoidance-theory

Perhaps this is one of the hardest things to accept when it comes to approaching continuous change: What you do today may be replaced by something you do tomorrow.

Mural

After spending so many years honing my post-it note skills, believing that nothing comes close to in-person collaboration… Mural has made me think again.

From the journals

Some thoughts and musings we’ve had recently.

Stop trying to fix things

Should. Could. Would. I spend so much of my time thinking about how I need to change, how I should do things. It got so bad in the dark days of lock-down, stuck in the storms of a family in a small house with no escape. I drained myself completely. The desire to fix things, however noble, often gets in the way of really fixing things. It creates an inability to admit the truth, to say what is really going on. It means never admitting that I am angry, and instead taking on all the weight of the problem, and not being able to ask for help.

To be able to work effectively with others, to be able to make my family a healthy system, I need to stop pretending that it’s all up to me. Before I try to fix things, I need to first be honest about what I am feeling. Once I accept those feelings, then those around me are able to help me.

I’ve never understood how to ask for help.

Step one seems to be to stop trying to fix things.

Peter Brownell

School run

Walking my daughter to school today, I was shocked by the amount of traffic on the roads. It was gridlocked and I could taste the pollution in my mouth. Cars were frustrated and running red lights and getting a bit too close to the pavement as we waited to get into school.

Most of this traffic is other parents on the school run (I know this as it has just got bad since schools went back) and I know many are afraid of using public transport due to Covid fears. But we also know that pollution can exacerbate the affects of Covid. There have been some local initiative to make some less busy roads car free but these main roads are literally choking.

I felt a sense of anger towards all these selfish people in their cars. Why couldn’t they think of others rather than doing what is convenient for them? And then I felt a sense of hopelessness, how will things every change? How can I do anything that will make any difference?

Of course I understand that for some people the car is their only option. But many do have a choice even if it would be a little bit more inconvenient or mean getting up a bit earlier.

I had to do something to take away this sensation of feeling small and powerless. Firstly I wrote to my local Councillor asking what the council are doing and if there are plans to do more. Then I contacted the local group that is active on this topic to see how I could join. And I felt slightly better. A bit less alone.

And this lesson can be applied to the complex, overwhelming challenges facing our planet. We can feel alone and helpless in the face of issues so huge that they are difficult to comprehend. But if we take a small step, or join with others in their small steps, together we can find ways to chip away at the challenges one small action at a time. And feel a little bit better.

Lisa Farron

Quotes and concepts

Words that meant made us really think.

Deliberate practice is critical for learning

….the deliberate process of cultivation is routinely left out. Teachers routinely do not speak to it. We kind of assume that if we help people have experiences and therapists, or coaches……we kind of assume that there will be what’s called incidental learning. Maybe there is……But many, many people actually don’t particularly change for the better…..an hour later, a day later they’re just the same. There’s no lasting change for the better which is the fundamental definition of any kind of learning.

Something that I have often pondered, is how easy it is to forget something that I have read or learnt on a training course. Information that seems vital at the time has faded in memory. I was interested that in this podcast Rick Hanson talks about the idea that we have to be deliberate in our practice if we actually want to use learning to change.

Stories from our work

We created the Continuous Change Navigator to help teams develop more awareness of what holds them back. You can find more about it at http://continuousChange.work

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Growing mistrust from a lack of connection

Suddenly needing to adopt remote working practices, en mass, was surprisingly easier than most expected. Work kept getting done and now the property market is quaking. Not being able to see your colleagues however is not all rosy. After a few months a team found that they were beginning to find that productivity and quality were beginning to suffer. Retrospectives were identifying a few issues, but none seemed important enough.

Using the Continuous Change Navigator provided the missing insight. Taking the time to reflect on the results allowed them to see that lack of unstructured time had meant that many individuals had lost the sense of connection and had started to mistrust each other. Unexpressed frustration had grown to resentment and even anger.

To address this issue at a human development level, our first action is to look at the underlying personal attitudes that make it possible to address this situation. Rather than talking it through and saying it’s done, the deepest work here is to strengthen the ability for the ability of each individual to operate without judgement. If you address the inner processes that give rise to resentment in the first place, then the changes become permanent, and the actions taken to remedy the immediate situation are far more effective.

A practice to try

Radiate kind thoughts

On the underground this morning I was feeling quite cross. Why were some people still not wearing masks, had they not seen the posters (that are everywhere) or the latest statistics on the dramatic increase in Covid cases? I started a whole load of judgements in my mind about how selfish and thoughtless these people were to not protect me (by wearing a mask) as I was protecting them.But sending negative thoughts their way wasn’t helping them, or me. Maybe they had a good reason, issues are not always visible and it wouldn’t help me glaring at them.I was reminded of a study I recently read about that took place in Iowa State University. Participants spent 12 minutes walking around the campus wishing for others to be happy, they were not asked to do anything more and the recipients of these wishes were unaware. The results showed that the very act of wishing others well reduced anxiety and increased happiness and feelings of social connection.This is something so simple yet so effective and can be done wherever you are and even after 12 short minutes you can feel the benefits. In these Covid times when we are all a little bit less physically connected, any practices that can increase the feelings of social connection are useful. I was particularly thinking of those of us who were used to having colleagues around us, in real life, at least some of the time. Although there is plenty of zoom/skype action, I still feel that some of the connection has been lost. Try this practice for yourself and see what difference it makes for you.I’m going to try wishing much happiness to my fellow commuters later, wish me luck!

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Peter Brownell

Written by

It’s time to change the world. It’s time to create the future that we need. I seek the inflection points that can make tomorrow a better place.

The-organization

Developing the capacity for organizations to embrace the future

Peter Brownell

Written by

It’s time to change the world. It’s time to create the future that we need. I seek the inflection points that can make tomorrow a better place.

The-organization

Developing the capacity for organizations to embrace the future

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