Wake Up Call or Don’t Bother At All

Robert Jacobs is a fellow I met in the mid 90s. He and I have both been involved in systemic change over these many years.

Jake published an article about implementation recently. It is a wake up call. Or a myth debunking.

He shares a few good stories that invite

  • challenging our assumptions about definition of implementation (not a check list item because you sent an email),
  • approach to implementing (involving a system in the process),
  • and mindset for implementing (appreciative approach, as in what you give your energy to grows).

One of Jake’s premises is that despite many of us giving much attention to successful change efforts, the success rate for implementation remains disappointingly low. I remember this very assessment 20 years ago in my grad school days too. Argh.

The encouraging part is that I feel people like Jake continue to encourage a systemic view and practice. That doesn’t necessarily sell well in a world that is so patterned to speed and efficiency. It takes longer. It takes an shared ability to be in uncertainty. It takes attention to relationships (beyond a few cute team-building exercises). It takes a pattern real inquiry together and a commitment to a bigger picture. Living the change (patterning it) in the interior and in the exterior.

There’s a boldness in Jake’s words. Wake up or don’t bother. I appreciate the realness of this.


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