Transformational Spaces

Transformational Spaces

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How can you create the momentum for transformation – without the resistance that comes with it?

Whether in family relationships or large organisations, driving transformation head-on is often challenging and meets with significant resistance.

One thing I have learnt, to overcome this, is to look for the spaces that can transform the culture of the group, or seek the situations where resistance doesn’t exist.

For organisations looking to do this, it is important to cultivate trust and connection in the informal realm before the formal structures can transform easily.

In relationships or families, take time outside of the challenging environments and issues to build trust and develop connection.

I remember being very inspired by the work of people like Pam Warhurst in Todmorden. Pam and the Incredible Edible organisation created a worldwide movement around food, transforming communities. Todmorden (the originating town) has a completely different sense of place, compared to how it was before the project was launched.

That transformation came from the community organising itself to plant food in wasteland spaces around the area. This was mostly done without permission. Something as simple as growing food together in public fundamentally shifted a community’s view of itself and, consequently, what it can now achieve for itself. Pam was a former council leader who recognised that true transformation was hard to achieve in the heart of the traditional system. It seemed innocuous and simple, but that was its genius. It was a revolution hiding in plain sight, that created little resistance.

True transformation requires a change in culture. Rather than using the old culture to drive the transformation, it is possible to consider how to change the culture before beginning the transformation.

This is the reason why 80% of what I do is going for coffee with people. It is also the reason why I do small things like hugging everyone hello. The transformation of government in our community is made easier by the building of highly connected networks within the community, of which government employees are part.

If you look at something tough, like making changes to large scale infrastructure, going directly for the change, without first fostering collective connection and buy-in, is a really difficult challenge. Progress is a byproduct of trust and connectedness. It isn’t something you can achieve too easily by itself.

For the ‘doers’ amongst us, this can be a challenging way to get things done. To focus on being connected first, and trusting that the outputs will arrive as a result of that, is a non-linear approach and often involves playing the long game.

Going slow to go fast is often the way – especially for things that really matter to people.

In the things you wish to achieve, how is going direct creating resistance?

How can you look to build trust and connectedness first, where resistance doesn’t exist?

How can you go slow, to go fast?

To transformational spaces.


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  1. You’re right. Kookie conversations seem to be the way!

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