We Change Together

Gang of 4: Canon XA11

Gang of 4: Canon XA11

“An attitude of wonder begins with appreciation rather than suspicion, acknowledging the limits of what we know.”

(Howard Zehr)

I realise that I’m not all that interested in people who can tell me what they know.

But I’ve become very interested in how to help people to work with what they don’t know. This is the place where the possibility of meaningful change has the potential to be genuinely transformational.

After 20 years of wrestling with change as a consultant and academic, the most concise thing I can say about the way we go about change in our organisations is, “Whatever you think about it, the chances are that it won’t work like that…”

Yet we are easily seduced by the notion that we should know where we’re going; that clear vision or a slick powerpoint deck will help us lead our people through change.

And with a decent map, we will find our way.

For the last 12 years, I’ve been part of a research group at Ashridge working together on the doctorate in organisational change and I know that I’m not the only one who thinks change can be tricky. So I checked in with a few friends and colleagues to make a short film of them trying to describe how they support doctoral candidates attempting major, transformational change. They were each talented, humble and brilliant enough to admit that they might not know. But that together, we can find our way.

What matters here is not the lone genius working away on a pet theory; social transformation requires collective intelligence to generate action and resilient change.

It turns out that if you want to go somewhere new, the map is no use.

We need to get lost.



The Gang of 4 featured above are (from top left - clockwise); Megan Reitz (@MeganReitz1), Geoff Mead (@NarrativeLeader), Margaret Gearty (@Margigold) and James Traeger (@jrtraeger).

You will also see current candidates Paula Aamli (@Paulettya) and Niel Stander (@NielStander), as well as alumna Pleuntje van Meer (@Apolloniavmeer) join the search.

The film, ‘Doctoral Magic’, which seeks to articulate a quality of learning through relationship that is difficult to name, was shown at the Hult Global Faculty Summit in Jan 2019.

Steve Marshall4 Comments