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Grounding the Network

Updated: Sep 20, 2023

This is a blog series that explores Conscious Transformation Agents' first iteration of a Regenerative Leadership Competency Framework. The intention of this framework is to be used as a tool in the design and facilitation of cross-sector, multi-stakeholder systems change initiatives.

What do we mean by systems change initiatives?

This is work that pertains to a larger system of interconnected players, usually spanning boundaries such as organizations, sectors, and at times industries. In a broader sense this could look like partnering across sectors and industries to address issues contributing to and resulting from climate change. Or there could be a particular effort to strategize across the materials supply chain to reduce the amount of plastic entering the waste stream. Research is showing a growing amount of plastic in our water, soil and even bloodstreams. What future possibilities exist to change this paradigm for future generations?

At this point in history, there is an emerging need to transcend organizational identities in service of a greater whole. When existing business models are at risk, we must examine underlying assumptions around marketplace dominance and competitive advantage. What could a "collaborative advantage" serve our planet as a whole? What would it feel like to partner in service of a healthy ecosystem where organizations can generate abundance in the form of revenue but not at the expense of its people or environment?

In previous blogs, we have reviewed the first step around Honoring and are now exploring the system level of Anchoring, which focuses on identifying and engaging key stakeholders needed in a systems change effort.

This particular competency is named Ground the Network.

Grounding means to identifying the boundary around the particular systems change initiative. This is the emerging project or call to action that serves as the launching pad for the work. Included in the system are key stakeholders who can play a role in sparking the energy and momentum around the systems change effort.

A few key questions to explore at this stage are:

  • What does this issue pertain to?

  • What stakeholder groups have expressed the pressing need to address this issue?

  • What organizations (for profit, non-profit, jurisdictional etc.) play a key role in shaping or influencing this issue?

  • Who specifically from these organizations needs to be included in a initial exploratory conversation around the potential change effort?

  • What conditions are needed for key agents of change (e.g. "key actors") to be empowered to create change within the system?

With support and guidance from a neutral process facilitator or consultant, key stakeholder groups convene around a particular issue. The initial convening process is an exploratory process to uncover key elements such as funding structures, stakeholder buy in and commitment, readiness, and options for implementing various systems change methodologies that reveal key leverage points for transformation.

Through a customized change process, real-time data from key stakeholder groups is surfaced that positions the critical conversations needed to move forward. This process facilitates the system’s recognition of its own changing state and helps to re-orient key actors and organizations in the direction of a preferred future, one that addresses the underlying issues of the topic at hand.

This is, in my opinion, the future of global change efforts as many emerging needs and issues will be "trans-organizational" in that they will depend on cross-boundary, multi-stakeholder collaborative partnerships. As a result, partnering organizations will be able to benefit from the mutual synergy discovered, which will not only uplift individual entities but also uplift its larger interconnected ecosystem.

If you are interested in exploring the types of change processes that serve this type of multi-stakeholder engagement, please reach out! Lets envision possibilities together.

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