I was recently reminded of Peter Senge’s (1994) work on ‘Systems Thinking’ and change. He observes that often things (including behaviour) appear to “grow worse before it grows better”. He suggests that this happens because we start to see underlying issues more clearly. For us, those issues were previously either unmentionable, unnoticed or just not a priority.
This bubbling up of negativity, challenge and expectation can cause despair – we start seeing the dangers of the iceberg lurking below the waterline. Also, other people might not like the fact that we want to challenge ‘the way things get done around here’. But don’t be discouraged!
This is a measure that things are getting better; formerly ‘undiscussable’ problems have simply risen to the surface – things can now change! As Senge notes, taking things forward might mean that an occasional toe will be stepped upon. But keep experimenting, keep building a better understanding of what is needed and keep seeking solutions to make things better.
Senge P. (1990) The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organisation, Doubleday, New York.
Senge, P. (1994) The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook, Nicholas Brealey Publishing, London.