Despite, Not Because Of, The System

This month’s blog is written by Alister Scott and Neil Scotton, two wonderful gentlemen in the UK who are doing an interview research project similar to the changemakers initiative!  They are a source of great support for me, and our early conversations reveal that our findings have a good deal in common so far.

“What would it be like to interview 50 catalysts about their inner journey in leading big change for the better and share the findings to inspire and support others?”

When we asked each other this question in 2010, it never occurred to us that someone on the other side of the Atlantic would be asking themself exactly the same question – so what a delight it was making the connection with Kara at the good ol’ ICF London conference. 

So it is with great pleasure that we offer the following thoughts from our research in the UK: 

One of the themes that we hear is that people who are doing the right thing often do so “despite, not because of, the system” in which they work. 

What does it take to cut through this syndrome? For sure, making a real difference in the world and shifting a system requires a sharp intellect and a growing understanding of the system you are engaging with. 

And…this is never enough. Transforming any human system to become more responsible, fair, compassionate or in line with natural systems will not come about purely through more and more clever thinking and interventions. And this from one guy with a doctorate in systems thinking and the other who’s an engineer – we get the need to be rational and competent!

What is required is heart: 

  • Care cuts through complexity. 
  • An inspiring, compelling and shared vision of a better future cuts through cynicism and the common disbelief that change is possible. 
  • Compassion cuts through the inhumanity of cold systems. 
  • Commitment and discipline will produce the resilience needed to keep going in the face of inertia and opposition. 

Human qualities of courage, self awareness, self control and commitment to something inspiring beyond self are what make the difference. And inspire others to act.

 So, big respect to all you who are embracing your inner changemaker, doing something, being part of a growing and increasingly connected global community of catalysts – your stories, your wisdom and just the fact that you are there is inspiring us from afar, like a beacon. Thank you.

Alister Scott and Neil Scotton are co-Founders of The One Leadership Project

Twitter: @OneLeadership


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