A New Hope

A New Hope

“Hope is the only thing stronger than fear.”

I have hopes, and I have fears. Most days my hopes win out over my fears. As far as this blog goes, I have long had hopes it might give others some hope, too. Hope that by finding new, more effective strategies for getting folks’ needs met, we can nurture workplaces where dignity and human endeavour flourish.

“Hope is the fuel of progress and fear is the prison in which you put yourself”

~ Tony Benn

I’m Not Happy

I’ve become ever more convinced that trying to change others is a poor strategy for bringing about such change. That we can’t solve other people’s problems – or meet their needs. That, fundamentally, only they can do that. Bitter pill.

I’ve now written a little over four hundred posts on this blog. I started posting to share stuff I had learned over the years as an imaginal cell in the caterpillar of work. Recently, I have become increasingly dissatisfied with the notion that telling people things has much effect excepting perhaps some marginal entertainment value. Put another way, I see no evidence that folks ever act upon the ideas that I share.

So, I’m persuaded that if we want to change the world, starting with ourself is a better place to start.

“If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. … We need not wait to see what others do.”

~ Mahatma Gandhi

Looking Forward

So, I’m resolved to stop blogging to change others, and start blogging about how my own perspective, assumptions, beliefs have changed, and continue to change, over time. In other words, how I have, intentionally and unintentionally, changed myself.

I’m fearful this might make my posts seem more egocentric and less helpful, but I’m hopeful that with your feedback, this new direction might, eventually, prove useful.

– Bob

  1. allygill said:

    Bob – I’ve always found your posts interesting and often thought provoking – invariably I end up taking some form of resultant action even if it’s just grabbing the dictionary! Maybe not quite the action you had hoped for, but action nonetheless. I’ve been blogging for a much shorter time but I’ve selfishly always written for my own benefit and if others find my writing of interest, entertainment of value that’s a bonus. So, I will continue to read your posts, and continue to learn and develop. Here’s to the next 400!

  2. Montaigne took the same approach in his profound Reflections. I look forward to reading more, as your past writing has been an insiration and a great resource for my own orientation.

  3. aterny said:

    While I agree that one cannot actually change others, and they need to change themselves, I would suggest that someone reading your blog is already open to accepting new ideas. Over the years, messages read in blog posts start to stick and we start acting on them. We just don’t tell you about it. Stick with it.
    Oh and we really should meet for a beer some time

  4. Bob, I like your postings and they influence me. But I rarely comment on them here, and that’s normal behavior in the online world these days. In 2014 my blog received over seven million page views—and yet I have amassed only a little over a thousand comments in the five years it’s been around.

    I agree that personal stories are often the most compelling things to write about, but I also think a mixture of stories and points of view is fine. I know that your points of view are personal, and don’t experience them as an crude attempt to change me (though they might.)

    One of the things we need to come to terms with when being effective while wearing consultant or blogger hats is that we have to give up taking credit for anything that happens while we’re around. (If people are thanking me profusely, that actually means I’m being less effective, because they’re assigning credit to the change they’re making to mean rather than themselves.) You have made contributions to the kinds of change you talk about in ways that you’ll never know. Evidence for this is invariably subtle and fleeting—hard to notice and believe. Such change may seem like small potatoes, but, hey, we’re doing the best we can. Yes?

  5. richard said:

    We write to be read. Both your outlooks (change others, change oneself) are valid. Have read the former. Will read the latter.

  6. I think the link between something read and something acted upon can be so circuitous and long delayed that it can’t be ever evidenced. If it is something WORTH changing your mind about, then I reckon it will always be lengthy and impossible to see the direct link.
    if it is just a suggestion about a better way of washing your dirty clothes, that can be immiediatley acted upon, but who cares?
    Stuff I read that goes inside disapears until years later when i finally get it. if it is worth it the time will be lengthy
    the transformation of the individual is discontinuous.

  7. MIND, i recently started another new blog, about something I know nothing about, and the blog is ENTIRELY me talking about what I’ve done and what I am learning. This is because i know nothing and am learning, so there is nothing there about me telling other people what to do and it is an entirely different experience as i KNOW I know nothing. Unlike my main one where I am pontificating and stating about what i THINK I have learned and others ruddy should too.
    as such I am learning loads about finding a different “authorial voice” and it is defniitely more useful to me now than my main one. Even though, in fact ESPECIALLY, because nobody reads it.

  8. Bob, like many others, I’m very much a lurker online so don’t comment much, but my thinking and behaviors have very much changed since I started following your twitter and blog posts. Your writings are directly responsible for me bringing together a number of things which I already knew about to varying degrees but hadn’t connected to each other on my own: Theory of Constraints, NVC, Aikido; and you introduced me to others that I hadn’t encountered yet: Deming, Bohm, Ohno and others here: https://flowchainsensei.wordpress.com/rightshifting/giants/

    Your writings have directly changed how I approach my own work, and I’m now starting to share this knowledge within my various teams at work. I’m very grateful for the time you spend on your sharing, regardless of the format, as it has really helped me meet my need for personal development and help meeting the needs of others in my personal and professional life.

    Note, this is not a plea to keep with your format so far, just an expression of thanks and encouragement to do whatever meets your needs best.

  9. Bob, I thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences, in whatever form they might take. I have found your blog always interesting and thought provoking. Hearing more about your own personal journey could be quite insightful.

  10. rutty said:

    Hi Bob, I always enjoy your writings because they make me think. I took two Systems Thinking modules as part of my (recently completed!) Open University degree and much of your subject matter aligns nicely with that.

    It is bloody hard to change the path of the corporate juggernaut of software development. I’m a passenger on one such juggernaut but your writings (along with those of other software dev and test bloggers) have shown me that it doesn’t have to be that way. I can ‘think different’ even in this restricted space and work toward meeting folks’ needs as best I can with the tools that I have (both soft and hard tools).

    It seems like you need to meet your own needs differently. This is good! I look forward to your next posts


  11. wivani said:

    It seems like you’re experiencing the “I’m shouting in the desert” feeling.
    Well, me, I’m but a small grain of sand, but your shouting moved me and the desert will never again be the same 😉

    • Not shouting in the desert so much as becoming more comfortable with the idea that telling people to e.g. change has little to zero positive effect and some amount of negative effect.

      – Bob

      • wivani said:

        A few of my colleagues would invariably make some reference to “circles of influence” if they would hear you say these things 😉

        An odd reference comes to my mind: my son has been playing pokémon games for the last five or more years. Of course, as a dad – not because I like gaming myself, I had to play along and inevitably I’ve picked up a few details about various species and their skills and abilities. One such skill is “echoed voice”, explained as “This move increases in power when used by different Pokémon”.
        I’m absolutely sure that your voice is echoed more than you can see or observe. Sometimes resonating from what you’ve triggered, sometimes from a different source. But the call for change, especially a change from the industrial era style of management thinking, is all around us. Perhaps the change is going slow but I’m convinced it is beyond a point where it can easily be stopped.

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