Friday, December 30, 2005

Change at the Speed of Thought

I told the kids the other day that, after a year of pursuing my Masters degree, I finally think I understand what I'm studying in school. Max asked me to explain what my studies meant to him. I explained that I couldn't explain what my studies meant to him. I had only figured out WHAT I was studying, not what it means or why it matters!

I like to share this kind of information with my kids. I want them to know that I don't expect them to understand everything the first time they hear it - I sure don't understand everything the first time I hear it! Sometimes it takes perseverence and repetition and just plain old faith that if you keep on plugging away at it, eventually you'll get it.

My original pronouncement was brought on by some reading from Appreciative Inquiry and Organizational Transformation: Reports from the Field. I used the chapter written by Marjorie Schiller, "Imagining Inclusion: Men and Women in Organizations," to ground my thinking about how AI could be used to study diversity in my own organization. And guess what? I understood what I was reading! Not only did I understand it on a cognitive level, but I felt it at a gut level. Further, I was able to take what I read in that chapter, combine it with my experience of studying diversity in another organization, and create something fresh and new and richer and deeper for my own project.

As I wrote up the proposal for my own project, I could feel the changes happening in me, too. That is one of the most remarkable things about this kind of organizational change work - even as you begin the thought process, the change begins to happen. It's magical!

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