Within the span of a few days I have heard from leaders like you, who tend to building a culture of belonging and facilitating change in your unique context. Each telling me how in the last year they have created multiple strategic plans to facilitate change and have scrapped each one within weeks or even days of creating one.

The question becomes... where do we focus our efforts in a rapidly changing world where our plans can become irrelevant within seconds at any given moment?

3 Questions to help you navigate and facilitate change:

I love to use the metaphor of a boat out at sea. And in our particular moment in time, the sea is rough. The waves can come crashing down in multiple directions at any given moment. How do we respond and meet this challenge and seize unanticipated opportunities?

When we use the boat metaphor, there are three aspects that can help us identify the best place to focus our efforts...

#1: What are you leaving behind and where are you headed?

I like to frame our current moment in time as “liminal times” or a threshold. We know the shore we are leaving behind, but many are not quite sure what the shore we are headed towards looks like.

For many, hanging out in the unknown is uncomfortable. But it is essential to learn how to be with the unknown and yet still respond to challenges and opportunities in a way that will facilitate genuine and lasting change for a sustainable, just and interconnected world.

Some questions to consider:

  • What shore are you leaving behind?
  • How do you handle the unknown in yourself and others?
  • What are some guide posts that can indicate you are headed towards your desired new shore?

#2: How are you going to get there?

When we know the waters are rough and the journey is not linear, the best way to navigate our threshold in time is to commit to holding firm to our values and to each other.

In the boat metaphor, our values and agreed upon principles are our rudder. When the waters are rough and our agreed upon values and principles guide our collective action, we can’t go wrong.

Some questions to consider:

  • What values and agreed upon principles guide you and your team’s work?
  • How do you and your team internalize these values and principles?
  • When the going gets tough and you hit rough waters, what role do your agreed upon values and principles play in the decisions you make?

#3: Who is in your boat?

Aiming to facilitate change in rough waters is not for the faint of heart. Our current threshold in time calls on us to engage both the hearts and minds of people and to influence systems, policies and practices.

Who needs to be in your boat so that, together, you can influence both personal and system change for a sustainable, just and interconnected world?

Some questions to consider:

  • Who are the people most impacted by the problem you are working to address?
  • Who are the people that influence the systems, policies and practices connected to this problem?
  • How can you bridge the gap between the people most impacted and system influencers so together they can facilitate change?

Need support to facilitate change?

I would love to hear how you are navigating your role as a leader facilitating change in this rapidly changing world of ours.

  • What have you learned?
  • What help do you need to increase your impact?

Comment below...

How to Facilitate Change in a Rapidly Changing World - support
  • I am not the type of person who can ignore social inequality, poverty, and addiction and pass by on the other side of the street, as it were. Skills I need to acquire to increase my impact: improve speaking ability and ability to think on my feet to answer questions directed at me; how to form a persuasive argument; become a better listener.

  • Thanks Carolyn. In my experience being a good listener and making curious questions can make a difference in shifting attitudes or behaviours.

  • {"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}


    About the Author

    Jessie Sutherland

    An international speaker, trainer, and consultant, Jessie Sutherland works with organizations and communities to engage diversity, build belonging and ignite intercultural collaboration. Her approach creates sustainable community change that effectively addresses a wide range of complex social problems.

    Don't know where to start?