I was motivated to put up another post, after not knowing how to top the last post on positivity. But the recent events in the US, highlighting ongoing issues with institutionalized racism, led me to this. It came out of ongoing discussions with family, friends, and colleagues. And it has application to both production and sports coaching to effect positive cultural change.
“Practice makes perfect”
Perfect. We don’t even need to shoot for a goal that lofty. Practice with proper technique and each time you can improve. Do it frequently. To ensure your technique is working. Practice to make better.
Changing culture is about changing habits
We practice to change our habits. We have to practice to change habits. Our culture comes from our habits, not our thoughts. Our values are shown by what we do, not just what we say we value. Our actions have to speak to our values.
Thought alone cannot effect change. We can think and rationalize in our heads all day, but at the end of the day, are we feeling it in our hearts? That’s what takes practice.
I am fortunate to say I have smart friends. But when we discuss issues and come to logical agreements, it doesn’t mean we are done with applying the agreement to daily life. Because cultural experience and ways of doing things do not change overnight, based on sudden intellectual realizations. People want to improve, but have difficulty without guided practice steps. Ask anyone learning a team sport skill, like shooting a ball at the cage in water polo.
Practice in different situations
I like the shooting example, because it brings up the point that often you have to practice the right technique given a variety of conditions being presented.
For example, shooting when you are wide open is different than when someone is pressing you. Are they pressing from the front or the side? Is the goalie working with the defender? Can you move to create openings? We practice to stay balanced on our legs in all of these conditions. Does it take study of the team you are playing to understand how better to react?
Lots of things you can take from this example to apply to production situations, to what’s going on in not just the US, but the world, right now to address systematic inequalities.
Make it easy
Don’t try too hard or too globally at first. Sure that will help motivate with a vision. It provides a context for the practice. But often folks can’t even take a first step because the largeness of the visonary goal is overwhelming.
Take small little steps to practice. Smile when you meet someone new, for example. Build on each small step, and over time, you will see the greater progress. Remember that total cultural change is not easy to effect. But each little step may be.
Patience and Confidence
The stepped approach to improvement helps us gain confidence in accomplishing our vision. We need the patience derived from consistent practice with gradual improvement in order to really effect a change this deep. Confidence comes from seeing improvement, each well-practiced step at a time. This, in turn, helps build our patience, because we can see improvement is leading us toward our vision.
And if we take small steps, we can analyze how aligned with the direction our vision is and course-correct. This also builds confidence and patience, because we have a handle on how to deal with missteps, and they won’t distract from our goal, but rather provide valuable information to lead us in the right direction.
For a Better World
In relation to the previous post, we need to practice positivity in order to find a way to elevate those around us. We need to get ahead by lifting up the others around us rather than putting them down to create a gap. We need to find how we can contribute from our part of an ecosystem. Increase our value by increasing the value of others.
For a better world, we practice helping those around us to get better. Together, the world gets better.