What’s a pirate’s favourite model of change – the 5 aaarrrrrrrs

So I guess we’re starting to see two types of article now. Brief, clear structured, practical. Then there’s the other 95%. Let’s try to address that imbalance, albeit it briefly.

Organisational change. Culture change. Behaviour change. Lots of change. A wide-ranging portfolio of change type has fallen on the sector, belatedly, but significantly as per usual. As per elsewhere there have been parallel attempts to be reductionist and mystifying all once. My hope is to demystify the fundamental principles, show them to be familiar, and all safe in the knowledge that these aren’t universal truths, but probabilistic guidelines.

Something to bear in mind. It’s an obvious one, but development and humanitarian work is about change. The principles of community change and organisational change are not wholly dissimilar. Look at principles of participation and you find, almost exactly, the principles of organisational change. The lovely thing here is that it has application at various scales and levels. You have an idea, you’d like to see it take root in peoples’ attention, to get support and flourish with potential barriers removed. That’s the change we’re often looking for. 

The list below is far from complete. I hope it has become unnecessary to add that every time, but it’s worth saying because most models offer that fallacy. But they’re not that wrong either. I hope they’re simple, accessible and applicable. That’d be lovely.

So of the types of change I’ve studied, they require structure, process and people. They need space and support. And they need a lot of communication. Here are some ideas of ways to simply look at it.

REVIEWConsider current internal & external contexts/environments, as well as historical and future factors
RESPECTCreate the space, get senior buy in, remove boundaries, prioritise at a fundamental level
REGALETell people about it, why it’s important, what it means – bang the drum
REINFORCE / REWARDReward progress and alignment; address otherwise; show interest and support
REHEARSE / REPEATEnsure that you repeat the above, the message, the rewarding; perpetual reinforcement enshrines norms
Back to:REVIEWContinue to review, refine and adapt approaches

Now that doesn’t tell you exactly how to do any of that, but if you’re reading this, hopefully you’ve got a decent shot at doing so or finding better sources to figure it out. Still doubtful? Then flip reverse it. Consider what it would be not to do one of the above. To not create space for it, e.g. create a team, assign time and other resources to it. Good luck with that. To not communicate about it. A tree falls in a woods. No-one knew to come hear it. To not reward progress and learning. What’s the ruddy point? So, it does make sense. Whether it’s the real recipe for rectifying reduced results, well, we’ll see.

What’s a pirate’s favourite model of change – the 5 aaarrrrrrrs

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