Is attack your last option – or your only strategy?

“You never change things by fighting the existing reality.
To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” – Richard Buckminster Fuller

Are you in automatic fight mode?

One of our great modern philosophers – Humberto Maturana – has commented, that we live in an age where society’s prevailing mood is one of aggression.  One of the implications of this is that we can get trapped in the assumption that the way to change a system is to fight it.

If we want to take effective strategic action that’s personally sustainable, to me we need to make sure that we haven’t been sucked in to unproductive fights. That’s not to say we NEVER fight – but to make sure there aren’t smarter options.

What’s the new system?

In the sustainability game today, one of the things we’re blessed with is a wealth of ways of describing the new, abundant, profitable systems.  Some of them include:

Where are you embedded in a long term struggle?

Whatever project you’re working on – whether it’s a radical regenerative business project, a new corporate social responsibility program or your own weight loss – take some time out to check whether there are ways you could find to offer engaging new solutions rather than dogged, determined struggle.

Take some time to think beyond the problem you’re fighting and make sure you can describe what the positive alternative is.  Consider:

  • What will you be seeing when the problem is resolved things are going right?
  • What will you be hearing when the problem is resolved and things are going right?
  • What will you be feeling when the problem is resolved and things are going right?

As you’re describing it, try this extra technique.  Put aside what you believe is possible and how long you think it will take.  Describe the positive situation as though it already exists.

If you can’t describe the solution, are you sure you aren’t part of perpetuating the problem?

(Adapted from an article in “Regenerative Thinking in Action” published in  April 2014)

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About Leigh


Leigh is the principal of the business innovation practice Balance3 and her clients have included corporations such as Amcor, National Foods, Dair, SPC Ardmona, Kobelco, Corporate Express and New Balance as well as a range of smaller businesses and individual clients.