The whole and its parts

The whole & its parts


Whenever someone decides to change something, there has been some kind of dissatisfaction triggering it.

I’m preferring dissatisfaction over pain, as the pain induces the idea that it has to be big enough to trigger change. To me, pain is distracting from the possibility of self-determined change. Waiting for the pain to be big enough is often natural, however, it’s also a reactive mode.

Dissatisfaction on the other hand is opening up a broad scope and one that we’ll need in a complex world. The more complexity enters our daily experience the less we can rely on pain to enable change. Dealing with complexity implies understanding that the strategy that works today may not be satisfying anymore tomorrow. That’s due to the constant shift of the context and how it impacts the situation the strategy is for. We’d better act before pain sets in.

Proactivity towards change also requires an understanding that humans tend to look for things and ideas that confirm their existing beliefs. This means that anything that “disconfirms” the beliefs will easily be dismissed. Either people will rationalize what they see and find an explanation for it, or they will find a way to suppress it. Information that seems to be in the way to achieve the desired results will thus often be denied, not heard, or even silenced.

One could see it as a problem and start to blame people for doing so, however it is also a reaction to what the organization seems to expect. Blame doesn’t serve. It actually backfires as it shifts survival anxiety onto individuals instead of keeping it at an organizational level. The ability to see that the disconfirmation points at an important goal that might not be met or shows that some important value is being compromised, is what enables a focused change.

While there will be individual problems, making the problem about individuals is a way to move away from the available disconfirmation. It’s a way to suppress the data and lean into confirmation that everything is ok. It’s hoping that the universe will solve the problem.




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